00-61.5 Komodo dragons

Komodo dragon, monitor lizard, forked tongue

by

Komodo dragons

Первоначально модуль хотелось назвать «Жалом поводить», но это многих бы отпугнуло.  Эту фразу я (директор школы Английский пациент) я получил в ответ от своего друга, когда задал ему вопрос о цели его поездки в США. Эта чудная идиома, очевидно, означала «на разведку».

Я с детства с трепетом восхищался варанами с острова Комодо, поэтому во взрослом возрасте отправился в Индонезию, чтобы встретиться и вместе с ними «поводить жалом», изучая этот чудный регион и его обитателей - Komodo dragons. Никакого «жала» у них (как и у меня) нет, но они умеют с помощью своего ‘forked tongue’ изучать все, что их окружает

Its nine-inched forked tongue can detect even the slightest scent on the breeze. With this inner sensor it can locate prey with remarkable accuracy. Nothing escapes notice.

escape (one's) notice = to avoid being seen (idiom)       prey – «добыча»

Like radar the tongue guides the dragon to the feast in the clearing beyond the forest. A water buffalo is 5 times heavier than a dragon, yet a lone dragon can bring down and kill a full-grown buffalo. The way it’s done is as vile as it is cunning.

Vile – подлый, мерзкий                             Cunning – коварный, хитрый

В итоге я реализовал свою детскую мечту. В то время, как большинство россиян загорали у моря, я отправился с Бали на остров Ломбок, оттуда на Сумбаву и, наконец, на Комодо, где в момент прибытия я был единственным туристом. Кстати, вокруг эти загадочных существ много мифов:

Несколько любопытных фактов до того, как мы займемся только словами и фразами. Во-первых, находясь на Бали, я готовился к поездке на острова, где люди могли не знать английский язык. Мне пришлось организовать «коммуникатор»: пригласив на час местную девушку легкого поведения, я попросил ее вместо традиционного сервиса перевести на bahasa Indonesia около 30 фраз, каждый раз записывая ее на видеокамеру (эпоха «до сотовых»). Но оказалось, что на всем пути, на английском, хоть и плохо, но говорили все. Вторая деталь из видео: палка, с помощью которой я «укрощал» зверя, имела значение для глупого дракона – она ему казалась более длинным раздвоенным языком более крупной особи. Предупредили, что палка не поможет, если у вас кровоточит зуб или месячные. Не поможет, если рядом нет леса – дракону некуда убежать, поэтому он бросается в бой.

Дракон Комодо очень по душе противникам теории Дарвина – по нему невозможно отследить эволюцию, так как трудно идентифицировать предка, т.е. дарвинизм здесь не совсем эффективен для объяснения жизни на Земле.   Это животное – самое большое из так называемых ‘monitor lizards’. Интересно происхождение этого термина. Здесь две теории – 1) в древнем Египте варана поменьше размером приковывали к камню на берегу Нила, чтобы по его поведению узнавать о приближении крокодилов 2) они «мониторят» ситуацию вставая иногда на задние лапы (hind legs). Второй вариант кажется более правдоподобным.

Если вы еще не успели влюбиться в милого зверя, то взгляните на эти чудные кадры из фильма Skyfall.  

Be careful what you wish for. – Good luck with that.

Собираясь на Комодо, я мечтал сняться вместе с драконами. Я не думал о совете дамы из этого фрагмента… Ведь драконы убили небольшое количество людей. Вот одна история (которая произошла после того, как вышел фильм, фрагменты из которого вы увидите ниже).

A Komodo dragon has killed an eight-year-old boy in the first fatal attack on a human by one of the giant lizards in 33 years. It mauled the boy in scrubland in a national park on the eastern Indonesian island of Komodo. "The Komodo bit him on his waist and tossed him viciously from side to side," a national park spokesman, Heru Rudiharto, said today. "A fishermen, who just happened to be the boy's uncle, threw rocks at the lizard until it let the boy go and fled," he said. "The boy died from massive bleeding half an hour later." (The Guardian,2007).

Были и другие события

Около Комодо еще 5 маленьких островов, где живут эти существа из прошлого. На одном из этих островов (Rinca) животное забралось в офис и покусало человека, который сел за стол поработать. Были инциденты и в зоопарках по всему миру.

Вашему вниманию предлагаются теперь фрагменты из замечательного фильма о реальных, а не голливудских драконах. Гарантируется прекрасный английский язык:

Is it possible that there exists a land lost in time? A land from an age of terrible lizards. There is such a place and here there are mysteries as old as the dinosaur. It is the world ruled by giants. This is a story about dragons.
This is not tropical paradise. Each ear the parched land waits hungrily for the short rainy season. In its open coastal forest lives the largest predatory lizard in the world.   
This is no mythical fire-breathing monster but a fiercesome hunter that tastes its prey on the wind. A master of the ambush like its relatives- snakes and other monitor lizards the Komodo dragon smells with its tongue.  

Немного о том, как драконы охотятся и питаются:

This buffalo is dying a slow agonizing death. It seeks a place to rest and ease the pain in its back leg.   
The end comes slowly. After fifteen days of pain, the buffalo finally surrenders. This is the dragon’s craftiest way of hunting. No fight to the death.    
Just one lunging bite from a mouth full of putrefaction and then a lot of patience. The smell of death perfumes the air, luring dragons from great distances. 
After such a long wait, they make short work of the rotting carcass. With deer, wild boar and buffalo in plentiful supply, there’s enough food on the island to satisfy its three thousand Komodo dragons. Dragons are the ultimate carnivores. They even reject the plant contents of the buffalo’s gut. Watching a dragon feast is not for the faint-hearted. No other lizard is known to butcher its prey quite the way a dragon does, except perhaps the ancient meat-eating dinosaurs. Though here’s no relation the Komodo dragon is the top predator of his ecosystem, much like tyrannosaurs Rex in the dinosaur age. Both lizard and dinosaur possess large, slicing and cutting teeth. Dragon teeth are offset and used like serrated blades. The dragon’s mouth is a dentist’s nightmare. Bleeding gums and saliva feed its bacterial broth.   

Эта «вкусная» фраза достойна запоминания -     The dragon’s mouth is a dentist’s nightmare.

They inflate their bodies to increase the illusion of size. In the land of Komodo dragons it is not the meek who inherit the Earth. At a kill, it is the mightiest dragons that bolt down the greatest part of the carcass.   

Meek – кроткий, смиренный      Carcass – туша.

To bolt down – это обычно что-то «закрепить», но в нашем случае – это «быстро съесть». Пример: He bolted down his dinner because he was already late for the airport.

Two males push and shove in the ritual test of size and strength much like Sumo wrestlers. Neither would bite and the dragon that can pin down his opponent will be the winner, but a loser loses much more than the fight.  Such is their enormous size and strength that a twisted leg is easily broken or dislocated.  Crippled dragons lack the power to breed but worse still, many cannot hunt. 

To pin down to cause or force (someone) to make a definite statement or decision about something. Мир политики имеет тот же язык для описания…

And when it comes to breeding, the biggest most powerful males claim the lion’s share of the matings. Male dragons are much larger than females. This male is nine feet long. He pursues the female, a little over six. Their courtship begins aggressively. He may not yet recognize her as a female, it is hard even for the dragons to tell the sexes apart.       

To tell apart – различить.           Courtship - ухаживание

Losers of these ritual battles face further humiliation. They must endure prolong claw raking. The loser lies perfectly still, submissive, utterly defeated. The victorious male has pursued and captured the female from the mound, but she won’t make with him unless he has the strength to pin her down and hold her there. He uses his enormous bulk to subdue her while he attempts to copulate and then begins to scrape the base of her tail with his claws. It’s a gentler display of domination. His small, jerky head movements are thought to stimulate the female dragon. Finally, she raises her tail allowing them to mate. The traits that made these dragons powerful will surely be passed on to the next generation.  

Обратите внимание на простое слово ‘rituals’. Обычно его не воспринимают на слух (всем мерещится rich…)   

To a beach scavenger like this one the trays of dead fish are a feast, but these have been salted and are not to his taste. His tongue has cheated him. The dragons once played the significant role in the lives of Komodo islanders, not just a nuisance for the fishermen.    
Like any mother she is protective of her offspring. Any passer-by is viewed with acute suspicion. She will spend the remaining three months of the dry season guarding the nest. This is remarkable behavior for a lizard. For the duration she will not eat – it’s not a hardship for a cold blooded creature, but no large predatory mammal could stay active this long without food.        
Dragons it seems are masters of survival. But how did these giant lizards come to be here? The seas that surround Komodo are treacherous. Marine reptiles ply these waters with ease, but the exquisite coral gardens that thrive here are nurtured by some of the swiftest currents found anywhere on the planet. It seems impossible that dragons swam to Komodo, but it’s likely they did.   
Today they continue to swim between the three or four islands that mark their range at the southeast end of Indonesia. During the long voyage at sea they become sluggish as the water cools their bodies, but they will persevere until they reach their destination. This male has swum six miles from his island home for the promise of food on Komodo. Once ashore he sets to work immediately, flicking his tongue to pick up a scent.    
Dragons are regular shore-island scavengers, on the lookout for dead fish, turtles and other ocean   flotsam. But this male has just picked up the taste of something living beneath the sand. Years of experimentation turned many adult dragons into eclectic eaters. Some have even developed a taste for human flesh.  

О слове FLOTSAM 

Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship's load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison. Under maritime law the distinction is important. Flotsam may be claimed by the original owner, whereas jetsam may be claimed as property of whoever discovers it. 

It is a clutch of a hundred or so tiny eggs recently laid by a green turtle. Hungry after his long swim he makes short work of these eggs. Later he will rest, mastering his appetite for the delicacy that brought him here, but now that he’s satisfied, that can wait until tomorrow.    
In the old days Nuhom,  the wood carver was told stories of dragons by his uncle Ampu. The tales originate from the time when islanders were hunter-gatherers, the time before fishing.  Nuhom’s uncle told him and he now tells his grandchildren of the first woman on Komodo to give birth. She had twins – a girl and a crippled boy. Because the people were nomadic,  caring for the boy would be a hardship. So his mother left him out in woods. But the little girl never forgot her brother. When she grew up, she returned to the forest where she came upon a dragon. He was lame. This is my brother, she said, placing food before him as a token of respect. From that time on villagers have left offerings of food for the dragons. Nuhom doesn’t fish anymore, he carves and sells wooden figures of brother dragon to tourists.  
Nine people are thought to have been slain by dragons, none of them Komodo villagers.  Some believe a special relationship exists between the giant lizards and the people of Komodo. Dragons run freely through the village and have even been seen around the school house. They prey on unguarded chickens and goats and are unabashed opportunists. But it may well be the healthy respect and the wide birth given the dragons that keep the villagers safe.     

To abash = to confuse, to embarrass (т.е. ребята никого не стесняются)

So much about dragons remains a mystery. They are graceless misfits, outcasts from another age. Their ability to endure the fierce heat of the dry season points to tropical origins. Several millions years ago a much larger, monitor lizard, triple the size of the Komodo dragon lived in Australia to the east, when the land masses were more closely connected dragons might have swam to these islands, but some believe they may have come from Asia.    
So remote is this island that it was once used as a place of exile. For centuries now dragons have shared their home with people. The airborne taste that lured the visiting male to Komodo is stronger in a new morning. It draws him toward the island’s only village. The village perches on the edge of the sea and it’s from the rich waters offshore that the people here earn their living. It was not the scent of deer or water buffalo that whetted this monitor’s appetite, but the smell of fast food - sundried squid.          

To perch – сидеть (обычно на возвышении)     to whet – точить, отточить (здесь «разжечь» аппетит)

One day these timid youngsters will rule this island, but not yet. For now they are vulnerable, clinging together for the reassuring touch of their nest mates.   Unaware perhaps, that they are destined to be kings, the terrible lizards of an island lost in time. When they may kill with a single lethal bite, when they may ferociously defend their young and when they will live by the dragon rule where the mightiest prevail.   

В этом модуле было много полезных слов, но хотелось бы выделить одно из них – prey (добыча). Не путайте с ‘pray’!

‘Pray’ and ‘prey’ are two English homophones. This means that the words have the same pronunciation but different definitions and spellings. Because their definitions are completely unrelated, the two words are never interchangeable.

Есть фильм о двух львах-убийцах, которых звали The Ghost and The Darkness. Они охотились на рабочих, которые строили в Кении железную дорогу. Чтобы защитить их от хищников, позвали охотника-профессионала. Вместе с тем, кто отвечал за своевременный ввод в эксплуатацию дороги, он изображен на этой картинке.

Обратите внимание на надпись в правом нижнем углу. Ее не понять тем, кто не знает нюансов английского языка. Вы можете. Слово ‘prey’ ведь звучит так же, как и ‘pray’. Молитесь за охотников… Львы чуть не убили главных героев. Но можно прочесть и оптимистически – именно львы и были добычей для охотников. Но только в финале фильма. До этого добычей были строители дороги.

Специализируемся на развитии навыков говорения и понимания реальной речи на слух. Используем только оригинальные материалы.