Can a Komodo Dragon Eat a Human Being?

Can a Komodo dragon eat a human? Coming in at 10 feet long and 330 pounds, Komodo dragons are a formidable predator. They are capable of taking down wild buffalo, pigs, and deer and can consume up to 80% of their body weight. However, can Komodo dragons eat humans?

Komodo dragons do not normally eat people. While they are capable of doing so, they primarily feed on deer, pigs, cattle, and sometimes smaller Komodo dragons. They take down their prey ambush-style and then stalk their prey after biting them. They can eat up to 80% of their body weight.

Despite their power, Komodo Dragons are fairly quiet creatures. Here is a quick guide to Komodo dragon eating habits and what to do if you ever come into contact with one.

Do Komodo Dragons Eat People? 

Komodo dragons do not normally eat people. However, reports of people getting eaten by Komodo dragons have been reported. They have also been reports of people getting attacked by Komodo dragons even in recent years. 

Because of the nature of the komodo dragon and the way it hunts, it is a danger to humans. Komodo dragons produce venom in their saliva that enters their prey when bitten.

Pair that with the bacteria in their mouth and their bite is bad news. Due to their powerful neck muscles, their bites cause massive gashes that can be quite serious. The venom and bacteria produced in their saliva cause the unlucky prey of the Komodo dragon to go into shock and the blood to not clot, thus causing massive amounts of blood loss.

If you were to ever run into one, your best chance for survival is to climb a tree. However, if climbing a tree is not an option, you can possibly run away. Komodo dragons can run at speeds up to 13 mph. So, you could run away, but you’d have to be in shape. 

Smaller Komodo dragons can climb trees but they are much less likely to be aggressive to humans. At the end of the day you are not likely to come into contact with a Komodo dragon unless you are on very particular islands. In this case its best to go out with a guide. 

Komodo Dragon Diet and Eating Habits

Adult Komodo dragons primarily eat larger prey such as water buffalo, deer, pigs, and cattle. However, they are cannibalistic and will eat smaller Komodo dragons, along with other reptiles. They have no natural predators, so they eat pretty much whatever they want. Perks of being 10 feet long and 330 pounds with the ability to consume 80% of their body weight. They are also highly effective eaters leaving only 12% of their prey behind. They can and will eat hooves, bones, and intestines.

When Komodo dragons are young, they eat what is smaller than them. This typically consists of snakes, insects, smaller lizards, and even birds. They tend to spend more of their time in trees to avoid adult Komodo dragons that can and will eat them. They reach maturity at 5 years of age when they are around 6 feet long. It is then that they move on to bigger prey.

A large Komodo dragon kill of say a water buffalo tends to be eaten with other komodo dragons. While they are solitary creatures, they occasionally eat together. Smaller Komodo dragons can be allowed to eat with the adults after a ritual of asking and then waiting for their turn. This asking is done by sticking their tail straight and walking very exaggeratedly around the circle of feasting adult Komodo dragons.

Komodo Dragon Hunting Tactics

Komodo dragons use an ambush tactic to hunt and kill their prey. They tend to patiently wait for their prey to run across them and then strike with their powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and long claws. Most attack attempts are unsuccessful. But when they land a bite, the Komodo dragon will let the prey go and wait for it to die.

Komodo dragons will stalk their dying prey with their powerful sense of smell. They have a yellow, forked tongue that samples the air. It then takes its tongue and brushes the roof of its mouth, making contact with their Jacobson’s organs. This allows the Komodo dragon to then “smell” the air molecules and know in which direction their prey is.

A Komodo dragon has very powerful neck muscles that aid in its bite being so dangerous. Once the Komodo dragon’s teeth have sunken into the flesh of its prey, it uses its neck muscles to tear the flesh creating a gaping wound.

The venom in the Komodo dragon’s spit prevents the blood from clotting and lulls the dragon’s prey into shock. The bacteria in the Komodo dragon’s mouth forces infection of the wound thus worsening it. Because of all of this, the Komodo dragon’s prey has about 4 days to live after being bitten.

During the time of the Komodo dragon’s prey being bitten, the dragon will calmly stalk it, patiently waiting for its prey to fall from the venom and bacteria. Once the prey is dead, the Komodo dragon feasts on every part. It will once again use its powerful neck muscles to aid its jaw in tearing flesh and in swinging the prey’s intestines to remove the contents before consumption.

How To Avoid Getting Eaten or Attacked By a Komodo Dragon 

The best thing you can do if you are planning on being in an area with Komodo dragons is to go with a guide who is has a weapon. Komodo dragons are top predators and definitely have the ability to take down or, at the very least, seriously injure and maim a human being. If, however, you are unable to carry a weapon, your best bet is to climb a tree.

Adult Komodo dragons are big and heavy. Thus, you can climb a tree much easier than an adult Komodo dragon can. As long as you can get out of its reach, you should be safe. After that, you better hope it leaves you alone.

Another option is to run away. However, Komodo dragons can run 10-13 mph. So, while it is possible to outrun it, you’d need to work for it and be in shape in order to do so.

If you are within striking range of the Komodo dragon, run and hope you are fast enough. They have poor hearing and cannot hear high or low pitches. So, screaming will do nothing but hopefully attract help.

The bottom line is, if you meet a Komodo dragon, hope it has eaten recently or is not in the mood to chase you.

If you are attacked by a Komodo dragon and survive, go to the hospital immediately to be treated for your wounds that are infected and laced with venom.

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