S A N F R A N C I S C O, June 10, 2001 -- San Francisco Chronicle executive editorPhil Bronstein underwent foot surgery after being attacked by aKomodo dragon at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Bronstein was on a private tour of the zoo Saturday when heentered the Indonesian lizard's cage. The zookeeper had asked himto remove his white tennis shoes to keep the 5-foot-long reptilefrom mistaking them for the white rats it is fed, Bronstein toldthe San Francisco Chronicle.
The reptile attacked Bronstein's shoeless foot, crushing his bigtoe while thrashing its body around, said Bronstein's wife, actressSharon Stone, who witnessed the attack from outside the cage.
Big Toe Crushed By Dragon's Jaws
Bronstein was able to pry open the reptile's mouth and escapethrough a small feeding door in the cage while the zookeeperdistracted the dragon, Stone said.
Bronstein underwent surgery Saturday to reattach severed tendonsand to rebuild his big toe that was crushed by the dragon's jaws,Stone told the Chronicle.
Bronstein was in stable condition today at a Los Angeles areahospital where he is expected to remain until Monday, saidChronicle spokesman Joe Brown.
"He sounded in good spirits," Brown said today. "He did sayhe's fated not have a boring life."
Father's Day Surprise
The tour was arranged as a Father's Day surprise for Bronstein,who had always wanted to see a Komodo dragon up close.
"We're very grateful for the professional care of the people atthe hospital," Stone said. "And we certainly don't blame thepeople at the zoo."
The endangered dragons are not venomous, but are consideredpoisonous because several strains of septic bacteria are found intheir teeth and saliva, said Los Angeles Zoo spokeswoman LoraLaMarca.
Bronstein was given antibiotics and will be monitored forinfections. The dragon was not injured in the incident.
The aggressive lizard, which is known to kill members of its ownspecies, is native only to Komodo Island and a few neighboringislands in Indonesia. It can grow up to 12 feet and weigh 300pounds.