Komodo dragon in Va. bites the hand that feeds it

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A Komodo dragon at the Virginia
Aquarium bit the hand that fed it - literally - but aquarium
officials said the incident Friday was likely more due to
excitement than betrayal as the popular expression implies.
The condition of the reptile keeper was not immediately
available at Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital, but the injury was
not life-threatening, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
said in a statement.
"Sanchez", the 3-year-old Komodo dragon, was probably excited
by the prospect of eating and bit the worker in a "feed
response," said Chip Harshaw, curator of reptiles and mammals.
"These kind of things happen when you work with animals like
this. There is an inherent risk, and we know that," he said.
Harshaw said he came to the worker's aid as her hand was in the
reptile's grip. It released the worker's hand after Harshaw put his
hand on the neck of the 4 1/2-foot, 20-pound carnivore.
The biting incident was in an area that could not be viewed by
visitors, the aquarium said. The aquarium has two other Komodo
Komodo dragons, which can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as
much as 365 pounds, are only found in the wild on Rinca and Komodo
island in eastern Indonesia. There are believed to be 4,000 left in
the world.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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