Komodo dragon kills man in Indonesia
Tue, Mar 24, 2009

JAKARTA (AFP) - An Indonesian fisherman was mauled to death by a Komodo dragon after he ventured into a remote island sanctuary for the giant killer lizards, police said Tuesday.

The fisherman died from massive blood loss after being bitten in the leg as he looked for fruit on the deserted island in the east of the archipelago.

"The fisherman was with some friends and took a break on Rinca island. He entered the jungle to find some sugar-apples," local police deputy chief Benny Hutajulu told AFP.

"The Komodo suddenly grabbed his heel... His two friends in the boat heard a scream and rushed to help him."

The reptile had disappeared when his friends arrived but the man died on his way to hospital.

"A doctor said that he was bleeding badly and losing a lot of blood," Hutajulu said.

The Rinca park and the western and northern coastlines of neighbouring Flores island are the natural habitats of the deadly lizards, the world's largest monitor reptile.

Komodos can grow up to three metres (10 feet) in length and weigh up to 140 kilograms (310 pounds).

Typically pack hunters and scavengers, one bite from a Komodo can kill as their saliva is laced with highly toxic bacteria. There are an estimated 3,000 dragons in the park and surrounding areas but fatal attacks on humans are rare.

A park ranger was attacked in February but survived. Last year a group of European scuba divers became stranded on Rinca island and had to fight off a curious komodo with their weight belt.

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