The Komodo dragon is not just the largest living lizard, but may be one of the most venomous creatures on earth, scientists have found.

The huge, carnivorous lizards, which can tear their prey apart, may kill their victims with venom rather than with bacteria-laden bites, as scientists have long believed.

The dragons, which grow to a length of about 10 feet and weigh around 130 pounds are vicious predators, preying on animals as large as deer.

Commonly, they attack their prey by biting once, then wait as it dies a lingering death.

Because they also feed on carrion, scientists have always believed that their mouths must be teeming with bacteria and that those germs infected their victims, slowly killing them.

But magnetic resonance imaging scans have shown that Komodos have complex glands in their mouths that produce venom similar to that of many snakes.

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