This footage shows just how dangerous Kmodo Dragon’s really are as a photographer gets attacked by a swimming 200 pound dragon while on his boat.
Photographer Andy Lerner was in his rowboat just off of Rinca Island, Komodo National Park in Indonesia when it happened.
“Being close to apex predators is always a thrill; whether it’s big cats, white sharks or these dragons. It’s something most people don’t get a chance to do, so I love sharing it. I really like the prehistoric look that these animals have. I think we have a visceral reaction to something that connects us to dinosaurs. They really did look and move the way we think dinosaurs did. Maybe it’s the fear, but it also triggers a kind of wonder. These particular dragons are used to being fed by tourist boats and are have been conditioned from that to check out the boats for a meal as they come in close.
This is of course unfortunate and is not natural behaviour for the dragons, as I would always prefer, but to safely take these photos it was my best choice. They are surprisingly fast and erratic swimmers, especially when hungry. The dragons are of course very dangerous- the absolute best you can hope for if bitten by a dragon is to just lose a limb.
So, all of our plans started with the idea of keeping me alive. That meant I wouldn’t actually be diving with them. I needed to be protected. Under the supervision of my guide Foued, and two other experienced handlers, we came in close to the beach in a small Zodiac-like boat.
As the dragons came toward the boat, I would hang off the side, camera housing in the water, face behind it, as my guides tried to attract them to the front of my camera. They had long Y-shaped sticks to push them away if they became uncomfortably close, but really the whole concept required them to be uncomfortably close – not for the faint of heart.”