Crocodile Expert Brady Barr

Dr. Brady Barr

Dr. Brady Barr speaking at the Garde Arts Center.

The editors of Animal Fact Guide had the pleasure of attending a talk this evening given by Dr. Brady Barr at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT.  As a herpetologist with the National Geographic Society, Barr has experienced a multitude of close encounters with reptiles in the wild.

In one entertaining story,  Barr recounted an episode where his team was trying to measure the speed of Komodo dragons using a radar gun.  His role was to run around with strings of goat meat tied around his waist to entice the large reptiles to give chase.  And chase they did!  Barr was chased left and right by the dragons, who took turns wearing him out.  Finally, out of breath, Barr took refuge up high in a tree.  Komodo dragons can be extremely dangerous creatures as their mouths are filled with many strains of bacteria, making their bite very hazardous.

Although Barr works with many reptiles, including salamanders, geckos, turtles, and snakes, his main passion is with crocodilian species: crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials.

On many occasions, Barr has gotten up close and personal with crocodiles, often called upon to relocate “nuisance” animals.  Barr and his team have captured many crocodiles known to attack people and have relocated the animals to wildlife preserves and zoos.  By doing so, Barr saves the creatures from being exterminated by the locals.

Throughout his presentation, Barr stressed the importance of conservation, noting that many reptile species are at high risk of extinction.

To learn more about Barr and his adventures, watch Dangerous Encounters on Nat Geo WILD. You can also buy the Best of Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr DVD from Amazon.

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Study Asserts Komodo Dragon Uses Venom to Kill Prey

A new study by Dr. Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne argues that the Komodo dragon uses venomlike proteins to assist in a kill.  The Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, has intrigued scientists for years because of its uncanny ability to take down large prey.  In some cases, the prey would manage to flee the scene, only to die later.  The ongoing theory was that bacteria in the lizard’s serrated teeth infected its victims.

But Dr. Fry wasn’t convinced. After dissecting three lizards’ mouths, Fry and a team of researchers found a set of glands that  produced special proteins. One protein disabled clotting while the other relaxed artery walls. If injected into an animal, these proteins would cause the victim’s blood pressure to drop dramatically and the animal to lose consciousness.

For more info: NY Times

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