Las Vegas Strip Aquarium Adds Komodo Dragon - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Strip Aquarium Adds Komodo Dragon

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Cheap buffets. 99-cent shrimp cocktails. Single-deck blackjack. The list of endangered species in Las Vegas just got longer.

A Komodo dragon has arrived at the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 87-pound, 7-foot-long endangered lizard was acquired from the Miami Metro Zoo to tout the aquarium's eighth anniversary. It went on display Friday.

It's among 75 such lizards held in zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and Canada, according to Shark Reef officials. From 3,000-5,000 exist in the wild, largely on Komodo Island and three surrounding islands in southeast Indonesia.

"He is just an incredible regal and unflappable animal that has an air about him that really transfers," said Shark Reef curator Jack Jewell.

A Komodo dragon has shark-like serrated teeth and a bite can be deadly. Its saliva contains roughly 50 different known bacteria strains, so if a wound is not cleaned properly septicemia sets in quickly.

Hearst Corp. executive Phil Bronstein made headlines when he was attacked and bitten by a Komodo dragon during a tour of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Jewell said Las Vegas' high rollers shouldn't expect special access to this lizard.

"That's just foolhardy behavior," he said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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