I just watched a television documentary on Komodo Dragons. These creatures are real slime balls. I think we should have nothing to do with them. In the first place, they are very ugly. Theyre up to five feet long, covered with scales, and they have kind of a baggy, flabby look. They look like a log covered with wet burlap. And its no wonder: theyre only active for about three hours a day. Why are they only active for three hours a day? Why dont they get out there and put in a regular eight-hour day like the rest of the hard-working animal kingdom? Because they will eat anything, no matter how old or disgusting. Komodo dragons will kill large animals, like goats and deer, and eat part of them, and put the rest away for later, and not in a fridge. I guess when youre as ugly as a Komodo dragon, you dont care what goes into you. You see this fresh elk go leaping by and he looks real tasty and all, and then you look over at a two-week old rotting goat carcass and think, "hey, that looks good "
Komodo dragons drool when they're hungry. But not like you and me. Oh no. Komodo dragon drool is toxic. You see, Komodo dragons don't go chasing after deer, knock their legs out from under them, and then break their spines, like the hard-working jaguar or cheetah. No, the Komodo dragon sort of wanders around as if he wasn't up to anything, and then, if a deer gets kind of careless and doesn't move out of the way quickly enough, they leap-- "leap" being a relative term here--into the air and bite them. The deer often gets away, or thinks it gets away. It moves off into the distance and looks behind itself and sees this ugly, baggy old lizard coming after it... slowly. But the Komodo dragon will follow the deer for a week, from way behind, because the Komodo dragon knows that, thanks to that toxic sludge drool, that little bite is going to get very badly infected. That deer is doomed. Eventually.
You have to respect the Komodo dragon's patience, don't you? Would you go into MacDonald's, order a hamburger, take a bite, and then wait a whole week until it quieted down ten blocks away so you could finish it off?
Komodo dragons will eat other Komodo dragons if they can. This is a non-issue for Komodo dragons. I dont think they give it much thought at all. You certainly dont see other Komodo dragons gathering around a corpse and demanding an investigation. They are more likely to demand a share. And this is why young Komodo dragons live in trees until they are three years old and at least five feet long.
Komodo Dragons mate for life, but the male doesnt have a good memory. He cant tell just by looking at a female whether its his wife or not. He kind of follows her for a while until she notices him. "Huh? What do you want? Ohagain? I should have known. Is that all you think about?" Yup. That's her.
Seriously, if he is strolling along and he happens to see a female and he gets the urge, he has to get real close first and then taste her sweat glands. Then he knows. It is very important for him to be very, very sure that this beauty is his wife, because, if it isnt, the minute he gets close, she might kill him and eat him. This makes it very difficult for Komodos to have orgies. Im not saying its impossible or that it's never happened: just that it's difficult. And for the same reason that a dead goat lasts a Komodo a month, they arent too worried about "protection". A Komodo thinks, "Listen, I just had a mouthful of month-old maggoty goat meat, Im been crawling through leech infested muck for three hours, I live in a dark cave with thousands of fruit bats, and I just sniffed your sweat glands--- and youre worried about exchanging bodily fluids? What are you? A prude?"
In order to mate, the male Komodo has to bring his body temperature up about ten degrees. So he goes and lays in the sun for an hour before sex. This takes a lot of spontaneity out of the Komodo dragons life, but hey, how spontaneous can you be if you only move three miles per hour? So, say a couple of Komodo dragons meet in a singles swamp. He says, "hey, you look like my type." She says, "Oooo. Youre getting me hot. Lets make it." He says, "Okay. I'll go find a sunny rock and we'll see you in an hour."
And what if the nearest sunshine is waiting for him on the other side of a shady mango grove? He waddles over there at 3 miles per hour, lays in the sun for an hour, brushes his teeth and slaps a little after-shave under the old burlap, waddles half-way across hells half acre, through swamps, under trees, through gnarled roots, finds the female, sniffs her sweat glands to make sure its her, rears up "Oh damn. Im too cold." And you thought Viagra was inconvenient?
As if life isn't hard enough for the male Komodo dragon, if he stays in the sun too long, he will die of heat stroke. So he cant let himself go way over the ten degrees up, and then hope he cools off just the right amount by the time he gets to the female. For Komodo dragons as for humans, timing is important.
Komodo dragons live in only one place in the entire world: you guessed it: Komodo. People have to be careful on Komodo because Komodo dragons will sometimes eat people. Now, you've got this 150 pound lizard roaming around this island drooling this toxic sludge and attacking your children... and what do you? You protect the lizard! You put him on the endangered species list!
Well, I think we're just getting carried away with this endangered species business. If it was up to me, we'd be having Komodo soup every night until they were all gone.
Copyright © 1998 Bill Van Dyk All rights reserved.