What Do Komodo Dragons Eat?

Komodo dragons are mighty predators who can hunt down and devour many different prey as food. Yet, science shows that these fascinating reptiles have preferences about what they eat. So, what makes up a Komodo dragon’s diet? 

Komodo dragons eat different foods at different stages of life. Newborn Komodo dragons eat insects like beetles, grasshoppers, lizards, and bird eggs. Once older, middle-aged ones eat bigger lizards, rodents, birds, etc. Adult Komodo dragons eat all sorts of animals, humans, and even younger dragons.  

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about a Komodo dragon’s diet; what they eat and drink, how they eat, and more. 

Komodo dragons eating their prey

What Is The Diet Of A Komodo Dragon?

Komodo dragons are popularly known as opportunistic carnivores. They hunt down and eat anything that comes into their hands, whether dead or alive. 

Komodo dragons eat live prey as well as carrion. These massive reptiles are unharmed by bacteria-loaded flesh because their bodies have a bacteria-resistant property. 

Komodo dragons actively search for carrion, carcasses, and bones in the wild. But that’s not all. These giant reptiles are also excellent hunters. 

Komodo dragons hunt for and eat wild boar, invertebrates, water buffalo, goats, and other large animals that wander near their territory. However, they are usually given small rodents to feed on when kept in captivity. 

At different stages of life, Komodo dragons will feed on other foods. 

Diet of Young Komodo Dragons

Newly-born clan members eat small things like beetles and grasshoppers, etc., but it’s only a short time before they start eating bird eggs, geckos, small lizards, and birds. 

Diet of Middle-sized Komodo Dragons

Middle-sized Komodo dragons sometimes eat insects but usually feed on larger things like birds, lizards, and rodents. Adult dragons eat large-sized prey like deer, water buffalo, snakes, goats, and even humans. 

Komodo dragons aren’t just fierce carnivores; they are also notorious cannibals

Komodo dragon eating its prey

Diet of Adult Komodo Dragons

Adult Komodo dragons even feed on their younger ones, especially when there is a food shortage or if they’ve eaten one in the past. 

Besides younger dragons, these reptiles also feed on their species’ weaker, sick, and older ones. 

Like any other animal, Komodo dragons drink water. However, they don’t have a diaphragm. So they cannot suck the water or lap it with their tongue while drinking it. 

Komodo dragons, thus, drink water by taking it in their mouth and lifting their head. That way, the water moves down their throat. 

How Do Komodo Dragons Eat?

Komodo dragons are very aggressive in their eating habits. 

They won’t wait for the animal to die before eating it up. So, the animal is usually alive while the dragon begins to eat it and later dies in the process. 

The reptile holds the victim down with its forelegs and starts tearing chunks of flesh. When Komodo dragons deal with struggling live prey, they swing around the victim, smashing it into trees or rocks to kill them within seconds. 

They rip the prey into pieces with their 500-600 psi bite strength. 

Komodo dragons swallow the flesh whole without needing to chew on it. For smaller prey, these ferocious reptiles eat them whole without waiting for them to die. 

Their jaw’s intramandibular hinge, flexible skull, and moveable neck and head joints allow them to widely open the lower jaw and push the animal down whole.

Komodo Dragon Smaug Enjoys an Easter Ostrich Egg

How Much Can Komodo Dragons Eat?

Komodo dragons can eat as much as 80% of their body weight in a single sitting. So, a large reptile of this species weighing 150 kg can easily consume 120 kg of meat in one meal. 

These massive lizards have an extendable stomach that expands as they eat their food. This expansion is speedy, so the dragon can take in an incredible amount of food in its stomach at one time. 

Komodo dragons have a prolonged metabolic rate, so they can go without eating for a long time. Usually, they can stay alive with as little as 12 meals per year

Once a Komodo dragon has finished digesting food, it can regurgitate gastric pellets. That comprises little bits of hair and bone that these lizards cannot digest. 

Sometimes, if chased by another predator, they will gag and throw up whatever is in their stomach to become light enough to escape. 

Do Komodo Dragons Eat Humans?

These enormous reptiles are not to be taken too lightly. Komodo dragons are dangerous animals that viciously attack their prey, including humans. 

These reptiles are a classic man-eating species. They will hunt and eat humans as quickly as other animals. 

There have been incidents of Komodo dragons attacking, biting, and hunting down people. Not only ordinary human beings but these reptiles have even attacked trained professionals.

Komodo dragon’s venom can quickly kill humans within hours. They won’t hesitate to prey on you and eat you as food. So, it’s best to stay away from these vicious predators. 

Komodo Dragons Attack! | Deadly 60 | Indonesia | Series 3 | BBC

Final Thoughts on What Komodo Dragons Eat

As the biggest living lizard, Komodo dragons have a very impressive diet. They will eat anything and everything that comes their way, whether animal or human.

Komodo dragons won’t even think twice about live or dead prey. They’ll eat both live prey and carrion alike.

So, now that you know what Komodo dragons eat, you’ll want to keep yourself at the safe end.

Komodo dragon eating its prey

FAQS

Do Komodo Dragons Eat Fruits?

A Komodo dragon’s primary diet consists of large animals like deer, pigs, carrion, water buffalo, and even humans. But occasionally, they do feed on twigs, leaves, and fruit. 

What are the Largest Things Komodo Dragons Can Feed On?

Komodo dragons are very fierce hunters. They feed on large animals like pigs, deer, buffalo, carrion, etc. These reptiles even feed on animals larger than themselves. 

What Do Young Komodo Dragons Eat?

Young Komodo dragons eat small lizards and insects till they grow almost 3 feet long. After this stage, they feed on geckos, rodents, birds, eggs, and even carrion.