Photo Gallery: Ridiculously Good Photography of LIFE in All Its Glory

By Eliza Strickland | March 26, 2010 8:05 am

Wait, Watch, Wait, Watch – Attack!


The Komodo dragon, which lives only on five arid islands in Indonesia is a picky eater; it scans the landscape patiently for that perfect leg of meat. Because it’s a cold-blooded reptile, it can survive on the inhospitable islands with only a dozen meals a year.

These massive dragons, which measure about 7 feet in length and weigh around 170 pounds, adopt a watch-and-wait hunting approach. A dragon may spend days motionless beside a forest track waiting for prey like deer to pass. Then, it explodes. Reaching speeds of 11 miles per hour, the dragon snaps its jaw shut on its prey, often overpowering it and devouring it on the spot.

However, if the prey manages to get away, it’s only a matter of time before the dragon’s bite takes its toll. The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest venomous animal; much like the snake, it produces poison that kills prey by preventing blood coagulation, leading to massive blood loss. While small prey stand no chance against the venom, larger prey like buffalos takes time. But patience is the dragon’s virtue, and so is teamwork, as up to seven dragons may group up and spend days stalking the wounded prey and attacking it till it dies. Then the team feasts—with the largest dragon eating first and gobbling up to 80 percent of its body weight in one sitting.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Photo Gallery
  • Dennis

    How someone manages to snap a photo like this blows my mind!
    The depth of field is razor thin, the critter is in motion (most likely quite rapid motion), running straight at the camera and yet the eyes are in perfect, tack-sharp focus!
    I’m a beginner, aspiring wildlife photographer, and for me, achieving this even with a stationary subject can be a challenge.

    edit: this comment refers to the first photo, of the elephant shrew.

  • Tom

    These are simply amazing pictures. What a world to live in!

  • Richard D. Stacy

    “80beats” is an amazingly wonderful website.

  • nick

    WOW that komodo dragon has some truly epic drool going on.

    re: Dennis: my guess would be a high speed camera tripped when the shrew is heading in, then hundreds of frame gathered in the few seconds it takes to pass, ensuring that it will be in focus when passing through the shallow depth of field required to take such high speed shots with no flash. (shallow depth of field = larger aperture = more light let in at once)

    The flamingos sound like they throw a rave to hook up with their mates.

  • Daniel J. Andrews

    The Trials of Life (Sir David Attenborough) has the elephant shrew careening along runways in episode 5, Finding the Way, around minute 12. They too have low angle cameras and excellent footage of the little critter.

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