Komodo dragons are fended off with sticks as they get frighteningly close to photographer

Two wild Komodo dragons were stopped from boarding a tiny rowboat with just a pair of sticks. The magnificent moment was captured on video as the huge heads and forked tongues of the dragons rose just above the surface of the water as they swim towards the boat. Two of the large reptiles could be seen trying to board the boat as they snapped at the pronged sticks jabbing at them in the water.



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As they push themselves put of the water the pair of predators are prodded away by the men in the boat. The stunning footage shows what lies beneath as the dangerous predator’s powerful legs propel it through the water in pursuit of a meal. These remarkable photographs were taken off the coast of Rinca Island, Komodo National Park, Indonesia, from a rowboat by photographer Andy Lerner, from Los Angeles. The 60-year-old said: ‘Being close to apex predators is always a thrill; whether it’s big cats, white sharks or these dragons.



As a result of their size, these lizards, which can weigh up to 14st (200lbs), dominate the ecosystems in which they live. Komodo dragons hunt and ambush prey including invertebrates, birds, and mammals. It has been claimed that they have a venomous bite as there are two glands in the lower jaw which secrete several toxic proteins. The biological significance of these proteins is disputed, but the glands have been shown to secrete an anticoagulant. Komodo dragons’ group behaviour in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world.



The diet of big Komodo dragons mainly consists of Timor deer, though they also eat considerable amounts of carrion. Komodo dragons also occasionally attack humans. Andy took these shots with a wide-angle lens at water level but had to hang off the side of a small boat as it was too dangerous to get in the water with the huge beasts.



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