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What Did I Do Wrong?

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by 1badcapri, May 27, 2009.

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  1. crocdoc

    crocdoc Elite Member

    There seem to be two concurrent threads happening here!

    1. captive monitors and carrion - I happen to agree with Dragoness on this one.
    Wild monitors eat amazingly rancid stuff, but I believe they have to 'inoculate' themselves gradually. I think if a captive were to try eating something truly rancid without ever having been exposed to it before it would get bloated with gas and would end up regurgitating it. It would knock it around for a while and the monitor could end up being quite unwell. The next time it tried eating rancid carrion it will probably have better luck keeping it down. This is anecdotal and based on a small number of observations, though, so I wouldn’t take it as gospel.

    2. Komodos and venom/bacteria – this one is quite complicated, I think, and I don’t think there are any pat answers. I used to be okay with the idea that the dragons used bacteria to kill large mammals slowly, even if it meant other dragons benefitting from the animal’s death. Then Bryan mentioned the venom found in monitors (not just the dragons) and it made sense that the animals die faster than bacteria alone could account for. Then I visited the islands myself last year. Of the many things that made me think twice, one was seeing two buffalo still alive after being bitten by a dragon. One of the buffalo had been bitten several days earlier (the ranger had seen the bite occur and we visited the same buffalo twice) and the other we had no information on. The latter buffalo was clearly in distress and probably not going to make it (see photo below), but the bite on the other was starting to heal over (although it still had a swelling around the bite, indicating infection). That certainly doesn’t suggest strong venom.

    A few things to consider:
    1. Komodo dragons have an incredibly nasty bite, with or without venom and/or bacteria. They’re a big lizard with sharp teeth, so most animals copping a good bite will stand a good chance of bleeding to death anyway. If the venom helps this process by accelerating the bleeding and slowing the coagulation, this would be beneficial to the dragons.
    2. Other monitors have a similar venom (according to Bryan’s earlier papers), not just the closely related lace monitor but even more distantly related species, none of which attacks large prey in the way the dragons do. This would suggest that the effect of the venom in helping large mammals bleed to death would be convenient, but not why it originally evolved. Something that sends an animal into shock may still be beneficial, though, even if it is a small prey item but a professional herpetologist (Sam Sweet) suggested in a similar thread elsewhere that it may well have evolved in small monitors first as a deterrent to predators – most people working with monitors will tell you that the bite of small species hurts a lot more than it should for their size. This would put off enough predators to be of benefit.
    3. There is some doubt as to which of the current prey animals of the dragons are truly native and which have been brought to the islands by man at some point in the past. Although there are water buffalo, wild boar and Timor deer native to that general region of Indonesia, it’s thought that the buffalo weren’t on the smaller, isolated islands (such as Komodo itself) until locals brought them there. Buffalo are the animals most often mentioned in discussions on dragons and venom and/or bacteria, because their size suggests that dragons would need help getting them down. Pigs and deer are probably native, but both of those are small enough to be incapacitated by a dragon bite – with or without venom and/or bacteria. The venom and/or bacteria may help matters, of course, particularly the venom if it caused immediate shock.

    So, what all of this says in a long-winded way is that monitors may have evolved venom so that smaller ones could defend themselves but large dragons may use this to their benefit by helping to knock down large prey items faster, whether they need it or not. Bacteria also helps if the prey doesn't die right away.

    …which probably doesn’t answer anything anyway 

    I do have a photo of a buffalo having a bad day as a result of a dragon bite, though!
  2. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    Great info.
  3. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    That kind of funny that you mentioned smaller monitors bites,because I was about to mention to dragoness the worst bite I have ever receved was from 8 inch baby timor monitor I could not get it to stop bleeding

    I was originally going to post it in the fact that it was a wild caught baby and it possibly had the bacteria in it mouth because the bite did get infected. But if what you say is true then that would also explain it

    Great post like always I learn something new

    thanks Dave

  4. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    I was bit on the knuckle by a hatchling lace monitor and I couldn't believe how much it bled. Also, hurt like heck. The only other monitor bite that I've received came from a Caudolineatus. I couldn't believe how bad that little lizard put the hurt on me.
  5. silentjt

    silentjt Elite Member

    Tazz grazed my thumb a few days ago, when feeding him, (careless me) and although it didn't bleed too bad I was surprised at the amount of sting it produced.

  6. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    I have been bitten buy a Water and Nile monitor (while trying to tame it though force handling ) my Argus got me while feeding and my black roughneck got me the other day while feeding all of which bleed.But that Timor I will never forget it

    Sory to get of topic as this is great information

  7. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    "Sting" is a good way to describe the sensation. It's shocking when a 14" dwarf monitor can make your eyes water!
  8. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    The Timor was the worst? What about it? Excessive bleeding, stinging, etc.?
  9. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    That's funny Jesse because both time I was bitten feeding it was because of my stupidity,and I say the same thing Evey time that I will never do that again
  10. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    Don't mother vultures regerge food for the babies? giving them their own helpful bacteria as well?

    If we look back at humans there was a time where humans were scavangers more so than hunters and ate rancid meat and other things, now if we were to eat a fresh non cooked meat we could get seriously sick. Not always but sometimes, it seems our bodies can't handle it anymore. After generations of cleaner and fresher and now cooked meat eating processes
  11. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    Very true. There's evidence that the increase in cases of allergies and asthma is due to the sterile environment that we now live in. Children raised on a farm are far less likely to develop allergies or asthma due to their exposure to animals, etc.
  12. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    I grew up on a farm, I was forever outside with the animals and had my face in the grass and with the cats and dogs and other animals all the time. My sister was always inside and rather played in the house than with the animals, she never did the farm chores and things she has terrible allergies and I have none. I tell her it is because she never did chores
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I grew up surrounded by critters, my lungs just happen to be my Achilles heal, though it could be a lot worse, half of it is just paranoia. The only real allergies I have are things I don't need anyways - tobacco and pesticides.

    On oral bacteria - every creature has bacteria in their mouths - humans sport over 500 identified species - an infection, even a mild one, resulting from a bite is to be expected.

    I'm with you guys though on the attitude to take towards it - Usually my fault when it happens, though there have been flukes, or days when the animal clearly did not want to be bothered, but there was some necessity (Vet trip, cage cleaning, etc.)

    None of the reptiles (My own or at work) have gotten me badly yet - the worst bite by far was the stupid cockatoo. Been nipped by the baby gators, the possum, and the bald eagle. I'm the only one the Sav hasn't taken a chunk out of with her mouth (everyone got bled by her claws at first)
  14. gbassett

    gbassett Elite Member

    3240 what made it the worst is was a very small cut in my finger and it wold not stop bleeding,two or three days latter it got infected and had to get it treated at the er.I did not own this monitor it happened at a pet shop so ther could have been other factors involved,but at the time I thought that it had something to do with the bacteria in there silvia

  15. Ahura

    Ahura Elite Member

    A bite from a human can develop into one of the worst infections you can get from a bite. That we can thank to the bacteria that lingers in our dirty mouths.
  16. 3240

    3240 Well-Known Member

    Very true. My dwarf monitor bites didn't get infected but they bled like crazy and really stung. These little guys pack a wallop.
  17. Kendalle

    Kendalle Elite Member

    *snarls* ;)

    I have never bleed by my iguana she bit me when I had her for a few weeks during shoving her in the bath and lightly scrubbing her sores i would have bit me to. But doctors orders are doctors orders!

    Now I would not want a bite from her she's huge!
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