Are Komodo dragons venomous?

james k white Score one for the amateurs: For decades, biologists recognized only two venomous lizard species – the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. Some indigenous folk in Indonesia claimed that the huge Komodo dragon was also venomous. In an effort to dispel the Komodo venom gossip, investigating herpetologist Auffenberg determined in the 1960s that those “dragons” simply possessed super bad saliva bacteria which infected all wounds inflicted by the Komodo D’s bite. Those lizards were expertly declared to be non-venomous. Update: herpetologist Bryan Fry has re-examined the situation (using MRIs) and discovered that the “uneducated” locals had been correct. Komodo dragons are venomous. They have toxin secreting glands along their gum lines and are quite capable of injecting venom.

Skeletal remains of King Richard III were recently discovered and identified. The English have long enjoyed a rather complex series of reigning monarchs. I shall cite some evidence: Richard III (1483-1485) had followed Edward IV. Richard III was killed fighting an army led by a Henry. The English let that Henry become Henry VII (1485-1509). Henry VIII succeeded VII and died in 1547. It was then that the Brits noticed there had been no King Edward for a while, so Edward VI was awarded the throne. (Edward V existed, but for technical reasons did not count.) In 1553 Mary took the throne and then things got even more complicated what with the involvements of Elizabeth and James and Charles, etc. I hope my explanation somewhat clarifies English succession (1483-1649). Several details were omitted.

The first telephone directory (New Haven, Conn.) was published in November, 1878 – a mere two years after Bell patented the telephone. The 20 page “book” listed 391 phone numbers. Rumor has it that by December of 1878, telemarketers began calling, mostly while people were trying to eat dinner. In 1939, a resident of Adaven, Nevada made up the town’s submitted name by spelling Nevada backwards.

Speaking of names: Some varieties of Red Coral from the Mediterranean Sea are very blue. I might also mention that Atlantic Salmon are actually trout. Calgary, Canada was once named Brisebois in honor of an acclaimed Mounted Policeman.

However, in 1876 Officer Brisebois married a Metis Indian and this act so enraged the commander at Fort Brisebois he renamed the place Fort Calgary after a sandy beach in his home land of Scotland. Well, recall that it is still not safe to get chomped by a Komodo dragon, but for a neoteric reason. Have a great week.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at