Komodo dragons: venomous after all. And how.

I’ve always reveled in the way Komodo dragons killed their prey – by having dirty mouths, chomping on quicker-moving prey and letting septicemia slowly finish them off. Well, New Scientist pokes a hole in that horrifying story by revealing that they actually have gigantic venom glands in their bottom jaws:

“They slash and pull back, but it’s the venom that nails it. It lowers blood pressure, and stops blood clotting. Prey goes into shock and can’t even struggle,” says [Bryan] Fry [of the University of Melbourne]. The venom could lead to the development of novel pharmaceuticals, he adds… [comparing] grevious ignorance of the Komodo dragon’s venomous capabilities as akin to “missing the teeth on great white sharks and saying they are plankton eaters”.

Oops. Based on this, too, Fry thinks he’s isolated a 16-foot monster that was once the world’s largest venomous animal.