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Monday, October 24, 2011

How the Komodo Dragon can kill a buffalo... with a bite less powerful than a pussycat

By Daily Mail Reporter

The Komodo Dragon has a fearsome reputation for being an adept killing machine, able to take down animals as large as buffalo with little trouble.

But, according to a new study, the world's largest lizard has a bite less powerful than an average house cat.

So how on earth does it manage it?

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The Komodo Dragon may have a weak bite but deploys poison, brute strength, razor-sharp teeth and a 'can-opener' bite technique when attacking prey

At more than nine feet long and weighing up to 100kg the Dragon relies on its hulk and brute strength when out hunting.

It also injects a dose of poison into its victims before ripping them to pieces with razor-sharp teeth and a 'can-opener' bite technique.

Researchers from Rutgers University in the U.S. and the University of New South Wales in Australia, attached cuts of meat for the Dragon to 'attack' for their study, published in PLoS ONE.

They found the beast relies on its hefty, muscular body to bear down on its prey while tearing away large pieces of the flesh with its serrated teeth.

'Like a giant, scaly can-opener': The Komodo Dragon uses its serrated teeth to tear strips of flesh from its victims, this time a buffalo

'When considered together with our computer-modelling results these new data show that the Komodo Dragon operates like a giant scaly can opener,' said Dr Stephen Wroe, director of the Group.

'By using its body, the animal does away with the need to invest energy in heavy muscle and bone in its head - it's a very efficient system.'

Dr Wroe and colleagues previously found that the poison produced by a Komodo Dragon cause its victims to go into shock and bleed heavily.

'People think of Komodo Dragons as 'prehistoric' or 'primitive', but the picture emerging is one of a very effective killer,' Dr Wroe added.

'Altogether, it's a pretty sophisticated and lethal piece of kit.'

Now watch the Komodo Dragon in action (graphic content)



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