Did You See This?

A Komodo on Halloween

One of nature’s most frightening creatures has a holiday-appropriate party at the San Diego Zoo.

For one lucky Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo, Halloween came early this year. As the video above shows, his keepers provided the treats. The dragon provided the tricks.

Like that freaky tongue. Not only does it seem to have a mind of its own, it’s nearly as deadly as the dragon’s serrated, shark-like teeth and razor claws. With saliva laced with more than 50 types of bacteria, a lethal lick is all it takes to kill prey, which typically die of blood poisoning within 24 hours. The Komodo dragon’s highly developed sense of smell leads the hungry monitor lizard right to the corpse.


Outside of zoos, Komodo dragons are found naturally in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands, where they’ve been for millions of years. There are 3,000 to 5,000 living on the islands of Komodo, Gila Motang, Rinca, and Flores these days.

The prehistoric beasties are the largest of the 3,000 types of lizards on earth, capable of reaching 300 pounds. They’re big, too—up to 10 feet long—and can run 11 mph in short bursts. Eek.

So what, exactly, constitutes a Halloween treat for a Komodo dragon? The yucky—sorry, yummy—answer is ground elk meat drizzled with trout blood. Boo!