Komodo Dragon Attacks Indonesian Park Ranger

By: Irwan Firdaus
By: Irwan Firdaus

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- A Komodo dragon climbed a ladder to a park ranger's hut and mauled his hand and foot, officials said Wednesday. The victim received severe lacerations but appeared to be recovering.

The attack on Rinca, one of three islands where the world's largest lizard can be found in the wild, occurred Sunday when the animal entered the hut and lunged at the victim, who was sitting at his desk, said Daniel Ngongo, a Komodo National Park official.

The 46-year-old victim, Main, screamed for help and jumped onto his desk, clutching the neck of the still-snapping reptile. He then let go of the reptile and fled out the window as colleagues raced to his aid and used wooden sticks to force the dragon out of the hut.

Main, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, received more than 30 stitches, but appeared to be recovering.

"I'm lucky I survived," Main said from his hospital bed on nearby Bali island. "Nothing like this has ever happened to me ... in 25 years on the job. I've never been attacked."

Attacks on humans by Komodo dragons are rare. A Komodo dragon attacked and killed an 8-year-old boy in 2007 on Komodo island, the first recorded deadly attack on a human by one of the giant lizards in 33 years.

The reptile can grow up to 10 feet long (three meters) and weigh as much as 150 pounds (70 kilograms), have shark-like serrated teeth and a bite can be deadly. The reptile's saliva contains roughly 50 different known bacteria strains, so infection is a risk.

"He seems to be recovering," said nurse Adi Palguna. "He's been on antibiotics for the last three days, and there's no sign of toxin poisoning."

The reptiles, believed to number less than 4,000, can only be found in the wild on the eastern Indonesian islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca.

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