There be dragons

komodo dragon photo taken by mark grapengater and used under creative commons licenceMuch excitement in the British press today about the stranded divers who escaped a 12-hour ordeal in shark-infested waters off Indonesia only to drag themselves onto an island infested with “deadly” komodo dragons. They survived the onslaught of the toothy lizards, which have been “known to kill humans“, by pelting them with rocks.

Gripping stuff, but just how ferocious are these dragons? Well, an eight-year-old boy was killed last year, but when was the last time an adult died as the result of a komodo dragon attack? Um… 1974.

The victim wasn’t exactly a formidable opponent for the dragon, either. Baron Rudolf von Reding Biberegg was a 74-year-old Swiss tourist who had injured his ankle. You’re more likely to be killed by a goat.

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