Komodo Dragon Attacks Tour Guide

Photo credit: Denton Morris

By Jae-Ha Kim
February 20, 2013

Remember when Sharon Stone arranged for her then husband, Phil Bronstein, to pet a Komodo dragon at the Los Angeles Zoo? And remember when the dragon bit him on the foot, completely crushing his big toe?

I thought about this when my husband and I were on the eastern Indonesian island of Komodo, touring an area full of the dragons for which it’s famous. There were experienced guides leading our little group, and they carried large, pointy sticks. I remember asking the lead guide if that’s what he’d use if a Komodo dragon were to attack. And he said, “Yes. It’s very effective.”

I dunno. I wasn’t sure what my chances would be if an 8-foot, 300-pound dragon decided that he wanted me to be his dinner. So I did what any sane person would do. I made sure that I wasn’t the last one in the group, because if they were to attack, the dragons were most likely to attack the slowest members of the group. Or so I was told. I’m not proud to admit this, but I always made sure that I was a few steps ahead of the one elderly gentleman in our group.

Of course, nothing happened on our trip. But I thought about it when I read this Huffington Post headline today: “Komodo Dragon Attacks Indonesia Tour Guide“:


JAKARTA, Indonesia — A park official says a Komodo dragon has attacked a tour guide on a remote island in eastern Indonesia.

Komodo National Park official Heru Rudiharto said Wednesday a 2.5-meter-long (8.2-foot-long) lizard suddenly appeared and attacked Abdul Rachman who was guiding four Indonesian tourists near its nest.

Rachman failed to defend himself with a stick and the Komodo bit his right calf before another guide came to help and drove it away.

Tuesday’s attack was the second this month in the park. Two park employees were hospitalized after being attacked two weeks ago.

Endangered Komodo dragons are found in the wild on the eastern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca. They can grow longer than 3 meters (10 feet). Fewer than 4,000 are believed to be alive.


Clearly, Komodo dragons aren’t domesticated pets. There’s no reason to get in a cage with them to try to pet one. Anyone could tell you that you don’t try to get in between a mama and her babies by circling her nest. And if you really want to get a good photo of a Komodo dragon (or any wild animal…or your own children, for that matter), invest in a trusty telephoto lens.

© 2013 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved


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