5 min read

Woman Learns The Hard Way Why You Shouldn't Feed Wildlife

Squirrels in the park? Why not pass along a little part of your sandwich? Sharing is caring, after all.

But for most wildlife, encounters with humans can be terrifying. And it can be more dangerous for the humans than they expect.

A woman from New South Wales, Australia, learned this the hard way after attempting to feed a reluctant monitor lizard in a recent video.

Barefoot and gloveless, she approaches the lizard and offers him some food, arm outstretched.

Facebook/Daily Telegraph

The lizard puffs his chest, hisses his tongue and tries to walk away, but the woman and the cameraman corner him in the tall grass. He decides to change tactics and turn around to face the woman.

She pulls the food back, just out of his reach. He raises his neck and makes a leap for it.

Facebook/Daily Telegraph

You can probably predict what happens next.

Facebook/Daily Telegraph

He goes for the food and gets a bite of the woman's hand as well.

WARNING: Some may consider the following image graphic.

Still barefoot and standing just a few feet away from the lizard, the woman holds her bloodied hand up to the camera.

Facebook/Daily Telegraph

While feeding wildlife in general can be dangerous to both parties involved, dealing with monitor lizards is particularly risky business.

Not only do they have a common ancestry with other sharp-toothed, strong-jawed reptiles like crocodiles, many species of monitor lizards also have something even more deadly: toxic saliva. Take the Komodo monitor, also known as the Komodo dragon, for example. "Animals that escape the jaws of a Komodo will only feel lucky briefly," according to National Geographic. "Dragon saliva teems with over 50 strains of bacteria, and within 24 hours, the stricken creature usually dies of blood poisoning." That's a short enough time frame for dragons to follow their prey until they drop dead and provide a hearty meal.

Hopefully this woman realized that her run-in with this lizard was worth a trip to the hospital before it was too late. Even better, maybe she learned how dangerous human interactions can be for both humans and wildlife. If you really want an up-close interaction with wildlife, you're better off sticking to squirrels in the park. And none of that high-fat stuff, either!

Update: A previous version of this article identified the lizard in the video as a Komodo monitor. He is a species of monitor lizard.

The Daily Telegraph has since removed the video from Facebook, and the original source of the video is also currently unavailable.