Komodo dragons are scary, scary things. There are two at London Zoo and they are kept separated (or at least they were when I visited). The ones in the zoo were quite small but they can grow up to three metres long. They can swim, dive, run at speeds of up to 12mph and can even climb trees though fortunately that last part is only the little ones. The reason they do this is because the older ones might eat them when they are not snacking on a variety of animals including the odd human.

Once they *do* catch up with you they can either rip you to shreds or bite you – not only do their mouths contain a phenomenal amount of bacteria but they are also venomous. Oh and highly aggressive to boot.

I knew all this before I went to see them but I was stunned by how beautiful they are up (relatively) close. The colours of their skin are exquisite and those beautiful golden eyes are quite hypnotic. Despite my instant adoration of them something in my brain was actively squeaking about not quite liking hanging around the dragon house. About halfway through taking photos I noticed that I appeared to be in scared mammal mode: sloooooowwww, careful movements, crouching to take photos but only when partially concealed behind a supporting pillar in their window, not directly facing them full on but never ever turning to a position where I couldn’t see exactly where they are. It’s funny how swiftly we revert to being an animal when faced with a threat.

The reverse seems to be true also. Facial expressions are something we associate strongly with other humans but they are very much part of the animal kingdom.

And of course, sometimes you get animals who are strongly reminiscent of familiar figures. Buddha Gorilla is wise. 😉

And lilla bebbeh White Naped Mangabeys are cute. Cute beyond belief.

Mama seems to think so too. Interestingly the males seem substantially larger than the females and to have much more substantial..er…is plumage the correct term when it’s fur? Oh well, here’s some more feathery plumage to look at while I work that out.