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Enter the dragon…

There were several really good California stories in the news today, including Google investments in Pixazza (a startup overlaying Web photos with links to let people buy the products shown), China Unicom posting iPhone 3G images and specifications,’s application Photo Finder that can identify your contact’s faces on Facebook using facial recognition technology (see this), and a Fortune article about rumors of an iPhone hardware upgrade.

But I went with the weird…. :-)

I have written about my thoughts concerning bears, mountain lions, and armed guards of Mexican drug cartel marijuana patches in California’s forests when I am wandering around shooting photographs. Sure, I sometimes think about our rattlesnakes, too. I often am glad that I don’t live in an area with large, carnivorous creatures like crocodiles and alligators and that I don’t dive among sharks like my photographer friend Peter, when he is shooting underwater….

But THIS story, about an Indonesian fisherman killed by Komodo dragons, sort of “grabbed” me…! I guess that I will have to include it under the “random rumination” category.

The Komodo dragons at Loh Sriaya in eastern Indonesia’s Komodo National Park (which is also popular among scuba divers, for its biodiversity), attacked 32-year-old Muhamad Anwar in a forbidden area of the park, while he was looking for sugar-apples. Anwar bled to death on his way to the hospital on nearby Flores Island, east of Bali. Komodo dragons can grow to 10 feet (3 m) and have a toxic bite (Note added May 20, 2009: Dragons are now known to use a powerful venom to bring down prey.) that they can use to kill prey as large as buffalos. Dragons can run as fast as a dog for short distances, rise on their hind legs, and kill animals with blows of their tails. They also have sharp claws….

(Aside – “The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.”)

According to the story cited above (the dragon story, not the Alice story), a park ranger was attacked last month after a Komodo dragon climbed the ladder to his hut. Dragons mauled and killed an eight-year-old boy in 2007. In June of 2008, a group of divers stranded in the national park were attacked by dragons several times before they could be rescued.

And then there was that Swiss tourist who vanished leaving only a camera and glasses behind several years ago…..

Komodo dragons are an endangered species and number less than 4000 in the wild. All visitors to the national park are accompanied by rangers.

I’ll stick with my lions and rattlers and bears… Oh my!

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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