Any appearance by the world’s largest lizard is going to turn heads.

A very respectably sized Komodo dragon – the legendary pumped-up monitor that can grow as big as a midsize crocodile  wandered through a village on the island of Komodo recently, and its constitutional was caught on video by somebody (understandably) giving it some space.

Komodo is one of several adjoining islands in a small corner of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda archipelago that harbours the dragon, locally often called the ora or buaja darat. The Papua or crocodile monitor of New Guinea may equal or exceed it in length, but the Komodo dragon easily claims the lizard crown in terms of massiveness. Exceptional dragons may be three metres (ten feet) long and weigh 91 kilograms (200 pounds) or more. That super size was once considered a textbook case of island gigantism, but the fossil record suggests the Komodo dragon is a relict of a clade of hulking monitors that once flourished in mainland Asia and Australia.

Dragons back up their bulk with powerfully "whippable" tails, heavy claws, and gnarly serrated teeth employed in bulldog bites that may pack venom. (The long-held theory that a dragon-chomped prey animal often dies from infection due to the lizard’s saliva bacteria appears to be mostly bogus.)

Typical dragon food includes carrion, deer, wild pigs, and even water buffalo (not to mention other, smaller dragons). Attacks on human beings, although rare, aren’t unheard of  a Singaporean tourist was mauled, non-fatally, earlier this year, apparently having come too close to feeding dragons.

The huge lizards stake out in thickets and tallgrass to ambush prey, but also sally forth foraging in cooler hours of the day: rounds that may take a dragon up on ridges to bask and scout, down to the surf to beachcomb, and  yes  to the outskirts of settlements. That head-swinging swagger the dragon performs in the video is a god example of basic monitor locomotion, and also an effective way for the dragon’s flicking tongue to scan the air for intriguing scents: rotting meat, for instance.

Meanwhile, there’s a new threat on the dragon-conservation front: The invasive and highly potent Asian common toad is marching across the Wallacean biogeographical realm that encompasses the Komodo dragon’s turf, and, as Sean Mowbray recently reported for Mongabay, scientists fear its ecological upheaval could include poisoned mega-monitors.