In Brief

Elderly Woman Survives Komodo Dragon Attack

Komodo dragon
Komodo dragons have long, forked tongues that they use to help smell and taste. (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-637000p1.html">Sergey Uryadnikov</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/">Shutterstock</a>)

An 83-year-old Indonesian woman survived a recent attack by a fearsome 2-meter-long (6.6 feet) Komodo dragon and is currently recovering in the hospital.

The attack occurred when Haisah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was making a broom from a coconut tree, Agence France-Press reported. The reptile pounced and bit down on her hand and Haisah told AFP, "I knew that I faced a fight for survival." She kicked one of the reptile's front legs, which was enough to get it to release her hand, then screamed for help. That is one tough lady!

Haisah's wrist required 35 stitches and was initially paralyzed, though it has since recovered some mobility. This incident follows a spate of Komodo dragon attacks in recent months on the Indonesian islands that are the native home of the species. Komodo dragons are the world's largest lizard, growing up to 200 pounds (90 kilograms); they are considered a vulnerable species and are protected in their native habitat.

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Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.