Komodo Dragon Bites Tourist in First Attack on Humans in Five Years

Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons eat meat inside their enclosure at Prague Zoo, Czech Republic, January 16, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny

A Komodo dragon has bitten a tourist in Indonesia in what officials say is the first attack on humans in five years.

Lon Lee Alle, 50, was staying with locals in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province when he approached a group of Komodos as they were eating, the Jakarta Post reported.

He was warned to keep his distance from the lizards—which grow up to 10ft long and weigh up to 330lbs—but ignored them, it said.

One of the dragons bit Alle, who is from Singapore, on the leg before locals were able to pull him away and take him to a nearby medical center to receive first aid.

Sudiyono, the head of the nearby Komodo National Park, said the attack was the first time a human has been bitten by a Komodo in five years.

He said that the attack took place away from the area designated for tourists to observe the Komodos.

"I also appeal to all tourists to take guides with you when wandering around to see Komodo dragons. Never risk your safety by staying with locals and watching Komodos without an official guide only for the sake of your budget," he said.

The largest lizards in the world, Komodos are carnivorous and have a venomous bite. There are just 4,000 of the creatures left in the wild—making them a protected species—and can only be found on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar.

But despite being a predator, Komodos do not often attack humans and their main source of food is deer and other small mammals. They are able to consume the equivalent of 80 percent of their body weight in one sitting.

The last well publicised attack involving a Komodo dragon was when a group of stranded divers fought off a pack of the lizards in 2008.

The divers had spent 10-hours in shark infested waters before arriving on the island hoping for safety but were immediately set upon by the carnivorous reptiles.

Alle continues to receive treatment.