Lizards look much alike small prehistoric creatures, and although they can appear quite frightening, in reality most lizards are completely harmless. They would rather avoid humans as much as possible and like to do nothing more than to carry on quietly with their day to day routine. There are however a few lizards which can be extremely dangerous if you happen upon them on a bad day.
The Komodo dragon is the world’s heaviest lizard, weighing 150 pounds or more. It has gray scaly skin, a pointed snout, powerful limbs and a muscular tail. It lives in the scrub and woodland of a few Indonesian islands. They use their keen sense of smell to locate decaying animal remains from several miles away.
Although most victims of the Komono dragon die from blood loss, or shock, the mouth of this lizard is also laced with toxic substances. Tests on the saliva of Komono dragons found up to fifty-seven strains of bacteria thriving within it. the toxins delivered within the bite of a Komono dragon can leave it’s victim with a fatal infection.
They also hunt other lizards as well as large mammals and are sometimes cannibalistic. This species is threatened by hunting, loss of prey species and habitat loss. Komodo dragons were first recorded by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits.
In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts.
The Gila monster is the largest lizard in the United States, and one of the few species of venomous lizard in the world. The Gila monsters venom is relative in strength to that of a coral snake but it is usually not fatal to humans because it is produced only in small amounts.
It has a stocky body with a large head and a short, fat tail. The skin consists of many round, bony scales, a feature that was common amongst the dinosaurs but is unusual in today’s reptiles. lt feeds upon small birds, mammals, frogs, lizards, insects, and carrion.
A heavy, slow-moving lizard, up to 60 cm (2.0 ft) long, the Gila monster has earned a fearsome reputation and is sometimes killed despite being protected by state law in Arizona and Nevada. Gila monsters have a striking bright pink and black coloration and the two subspecies can be distinguished by their different patterns; the banded Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum cinctum) has a band of light markings along the back whilst in the reticulated Gila monster (H. s. suspectum) these light marks are joined in a network.
With their venomous bite and elusive nature, these lizards have inspired many myths over the centuries.
The other lizard with a venomous bite is the Bearded lizard of Guatemala and sections of Mexico. Growing up to three feet in length this imposing creature can deliver a firm bite that delivers a very poisonous punch. These toxins can cause respiratory failure, and although human deaths from the Bearded lizards bite are rare, they do occur. The Bearded Dragon is tan to yellow in color. It is called “bearded” because of the dragon’s ability to flare out the skin in the throat region when it is threatened or territorial.
The Inland Bearded Dragon is sometimes referred to as the Central, or Yellow-headed Bearded Dragon. It spends much of its waking hours in bushes and trees, and is also found basking on rocks. When it is extremely hot, the bearded dragon will burrow underground.
It forages for food such as insects, small lizards and mammals, fruit, flowers, and other plant material during the day time. Insects captured in the wild are not recommended, due to the increased risk of parasitic exposure and viruses. Fireflies and all other animals with bio-luminescent chemicals are fatal to bearded dragons.
Its body has a flattened appearance, becomes even more pronounced if the dragon is alarmed. There are spines on the throat, sides of the head, and sides of the body. The head is wedge-shaped, and the Bearded Dragon has a tail that is almost as long as the body. Bearded dragons, agamid lizards of the genus Pogona, are often kept as pets, most commonly Pogona vitticeps, the Inland or Central Bearded Dragon.