A voracious Komodo dragon made it to the top of Reddit’s r/WTF thread this week after it was caught on camera consuming an entire monkey, nose to tail, in one extended shot. It’s a bit horrific, sure, until you reflect on the enormous amounts of food you probably shoveled into your gullet over the holiday — WTF, indeed. Just like you, this Komodo dragon is just making the most of an easy, ample meal, so please: Withhold your judgment.
In the video, posted Thursday, the action unfolds in medias res, with the Komodo dragon having already consumed the top half of the monkey’s body. The mammal’s legs droop lifelessly from the Komodo dragon’s jaws — probably for the best that it’s unconscious — as the dragon readjusts its toothy grip on its furry meal. We never quite see the end of the unsettlingly short video, but we can assume the Komodo dragon slurps down the monkey’s tail, like a hirsute strand of spaghetti.
As far as Komodo dragon behavior goes, this is pretty #basic.
It’s no secret that Komodo dragons are meat eaters. In 2012, Skyfall made sure everyone knew, casting the dragons in a pivotal corpse-removal role in the Golden Dragon Casino, where Bond dooms a thug to a dragon’s jaws. With an average length of about eight to nine feet long, and weighing about 200 pounds, these giant lizards wouldn’t bat a scaly eyelash at a human body, let alone a measly monkey. According to National Geographic, Komodo dragons can consume 80 percent of their body weight in one go. Their insides don’t burst while doing so because their stomachs, like those of snakes, are quite elastic.
Getting the monkey (or human, or even water buffalo) into the mouth in the first place isn’t a problem either, thanks to its intramandibular hinge, which allows the lower jaw to drop to an abnormally wide angle, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.
For animals that are unlucky enough to be snared by a Komodo dragon, like the sad monkey in the video, it won’t do them any good to try to escape. Even if they do succeed, the Komodo dragon’s bite will incapacitate them in about an hour, thanks to loads of poisonous bacteria (over 60 strains) that live in its saliva. The dragon, which isn’t much of a picky eater — it’ll eat a corpse just as readily as fresh meat — will chow down on pretty much anything, swinging the body vigorously from side to side to empty it of feces. Hey, dragons may be primitive, but they’ve got standards, too.
If you liked this article, check out this video on why zombie dragon fire is more powerful than regular dragon fire, according to science.