My soft spot for Varanus komodoensis is almost entirely due to the Matthew Broderick classic film, The Freshman. It was reinforced by a moment I had with a Komodo dragon at the St. Louis Zoo. Granted, the dragon was clearly making a threat display because it felt I was trying to encroach on its heat lamp territory. While the dragon was not correctly interpreting my intentions, there was something very compelling about having the attention, one-on-one with such a creature.
In 2009, Fry discovered the true culprit behind the dragon’s lethal bite, by putting one of them in a medical scanner. The dragon has venom glands, which are loaded with toxins that lower blood pressure, cause massive bleeding, prevent clotting and induce shock. Rather than using bacteria as venom, the dragons use, well, venom as venom. -Ed Yong, “The Myth of the Komodo Dragon’s Dirty Mouth”, Not Exactly Rocket Science
Why do Komodo dragons still capture my imagination? Look, giant lizards with toxic bites are cool. Giant lizards with venomous bites are no less the stuff of really cool nightmares.