Komodo Dragon Diet: 9 Animals They Eat

If you want to know what kinds of animals the fierce Komodo dragon eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, keep reading!

Nov 14, 2023By Fabian Raemy
komodo dragon diet animals they eat

Komodo dragons are some of the fiercest predators in the whole world, and they have massive appetites for animals you probably didn’t know could eat. These intimidating creatures will eat virtually anything they can sink their razor-sharp teeth into, whether on land, in the air or in the water. Here are 9 animals a Komodo dragon will devour in mere minutes!

1. Rats

komodo ready attack
Image Credit: Getty Images

Considering that Komodo dragons can easily weigh a whopping 300 pounds, it’s funny to think that they would waste their time hunting rats. Most rats barely weigh a pound, so you can imagine just how many of these furry rodents a dragon would have to eat to satiate itself! It’s like an elephant trying to fill up peanuts.

A Komodo likely burns more calories chasing a rat than it gets from eating it. Talk about a waste of energy.

Nonetheless, if a dragon spots one of these little buck-toothed critters, and it’s close enough to catch without much effort, it’s lights out. What’s truly surprising is that a Komodo is quick enough to catch a rat in the first place. You wouldn’t think that a Komodo is so fast just by looking at it.

2. Goats

komodo eat goat
Image Credit: Caters News Agencyl

Goats aren’t just a popular food for human beings, but for Komodo dragons as well. Although a Komodo might prefer a curried goat if given the opportunity, in the wild, it’s a live and raw goat that it will have to contend with.

Although that’s not something most people would like to eat, it provides a Komodo with a tasty meal and plenty of calories too. Goats are pretty quick though, so it takes a lot of stealth and a solid ambush technique for a Komodo to catch one. Once again, Komodos are quicker than they look!

Besides some rare occasions, large goats are some of the biggest prey animals that a Komodo will feed on. Luckily for the dragon, it has loose jaws and an expandable stomach, so it can easily devour a whole goat. Just imagine if you had an expandable stomach and could go devour whole swaths of your local buffet.

3. Deer

Komodo Dragon
Image credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Timor deer have the unfortunate luck of existing on the same islands as Komodo Dragons. They’re also unlucky in the sense that a good deal of them are more than small enough for a Komodo to wrap its expandable jaws around.

A full-grown male Timor deer can easily outweigh a Komodo Dragon, but this doesn’t mean the dragon won’t try to make a meal out of it.

If the deer happens to be small enough, the Komodo may swallow it whole. That’s probably good for the deer because the alternative is to be ripped apart limb by limb!

There are even stories of Komodo dragons devouring these deer, antlers and all! Imagine how corrosive a Komodo’s stomach acid has to be to digest antlers! Talk about some serious indigestion!

4. Horses

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Speaking of animals that are obviously too big to be eaten by Komodo dragons, horses still aren’t one of them! We all know that horses can be pretty sizable creatures, and you’d think more than fast enough to escape a relatively slow-moving lizard.

Well, you’d be wrong, because there are plenty of instances of Komodo dragons taking down a full-sized horse and eating it as a light snack! They’re just much more agile than people give them credit for.

Although, a horse is one of the few critters that can’t be swallowed whole. Because it can take a while to eat a horse, you’ll often find several Komodo dragons fighting over a single horse carcass. It’s quite the bloody and gruesome spectacle.

5. Water Buffalo

Image Credit: Wikipedia

If you thought that a Komodo dragon eating a horse was impressive, just imagine a massive water buffalo. To repeat for those who can’t believe their eyes, yes, Komodo dragons are capable of taking down fully grown water buffalo and turning them into yesterday’s news.

Although seeing a Komodo eat a full-grown male buffalo is rare, it has happened on occasion.

More often than not, if they have a hankering for some high-protein and low-fat buffalo meat, it’s the juveniles or smaller females they’ll go for. Going after a large male buffalo is a pretty risky endeavor, too, because buffalo themselves are big, aggressive, and not afraid to fight back.

6. Monkeys

komodo monkey
Image credit: The Sun

For those imagining a Komodo dragon scaling a tree and hunting for monkeys in the forest canopy, unfortunately, that’s a bit of a stretch. Although they’re faster and stronger than they look, climbing is one thing that Komodos can’t do very well, certainly not to the same heights as monkeys.

Luckily for Komodos however, monkeys have to come down from the trees occasionally, whether for water or whatever other reason.

Monkeys can also be a bit risky and courageous, which is fine in some cases, but not when they end up straying too close to these mammoth lizards. All it takes is one false step for a slightly too courageous monkey to become a pre-dinner appetizer.

7. Birds

komodo on beach
Image credit: Getty Images

Although it is rare that a Komodo gets its teeth into a bird, it does happen. No, it’s not going to be mid-flight, because flying is one of the few things that Komodo dragons can’t do. They are, however fantastic ambush predators, so they can certainly catch a grounded bird.

8. Other Komodo Dragons

komodo eat komodo
Image credit: Newsweek

While most animals strictly stay away from cannibalism, Komodo dragons are not one of them. An adult Komodo, particularly a male, has no qualms about eating smaller members of its own species. Goat, deer, bird, or other Komodos, if it has a heartbeat, it qualifies as food.

Here’s a surprising fact, roughly10% of a Komodo dragon’s diet consists of eating juvenile Komodos. Scientists posit that this is a way for Komodo to control their otherwise uninhibited population growth, but we think they might just be greedy!

9. Sharks

komodo eat shark
Image credit: YouTube

As we said, Komodo dragons will eat anything on land, air, or water, and yes, they’ve even been known to eat small sharks. Sharks may be the kings of the ocean, but they aren’t so impressive when they’re staring down at the snout of a Komodo!

Fabian Raemy
By Fabian Raemy

Fabian is an animal lover who has owned pets his whole life, from dogs and cats to tropical fish, songbirds, and lizards. He has two dogs, terriers, Yuma and Jethro, one wilder than the other! He’s happiest when fully immersed in the animal kingdom, and every creature has a place in his heart, whether cute and cuddly or fierce and ferocious!