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Discovery Magazine 7/1/2001

The Design of Deadly Dragons

Crouched low in the tall grasses of Komodo Island, one of the world’s largest lizards sits quietly beside a trail. He will not have to wait much longer, because an unsuspecting deer makes its way toward the giant predator. In a flash, the huge reptile charges the deer’s feet, knocking it to the ground, and enjoys a hearty evening meal.

This fierce predator is the Komodo dragon. You might have thought that dragons were only legendary creatures that knights in shining armor fought with lances, but that is not the case. Real dragons walk the Earth today. No, they do not have wings or spew fire from their mouths, but they are some of the most amazing creatures that God ever designed.

Komodo dragons can grow to be 10 feet long—almost twice the length (end-to-end) of an average man. They can weigh as much as 200 pounds. Their short, stocky legs can carry them 15 miles per hour—as fast as a dog can run. Komodos eat very, very fast. Their sharp teeth are specifically designed to tear big chunks of food that the lizard swallows whole. A single Komodo can eat an entire wild boar in about 17 minutes. They are able to eat so fast because their stomachs can hold up to 80% of their own weight. A 100-pound Komodo can eat 80 pounds of food in one meal. Imagine if humans could do that; a 100 pound man could eat 320 quarter-pound hamburgers in about 20 minutes. Komodo dragons can really eat! But their abilities do not stop there. Inside the mouth of the dragons, left-over food particles collect between their sharp teeth. Bacteria grow around these particles. These bacteria don’t hurt the Komodos, but when lizards bite another animal, the bacteria cause a terrible infection, making the bite poisonous and deadly.

Why haven’t you ever seen one in your back yard? Komodo dragons are rare. Only about 4,000 exist today, and they live on a few islands in Indonesia. Some people claim that these huge lizards evolved, but that is not true. How could they have evolved to grow poisonous bacteria in their mouths without it killing them? The truth is, God designed these amazing creatures so that you and I can see His power. Maybe God created so many "weird" animals so that humans will understand that nothing is impossible for Him.



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