Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Are Komodo dragons poisonous or dangerous
© GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: March 4, 2023

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Few creatures strike fear into the hearts of people more than sharks. These massive fish live beneath the ocean’s waves, and they strike with incredible speed and brutality. Although the number of humans killed by sharks isn’t high, they’re still frightening. Another strange, aggressive, and territorial animal that has killed people in the past is the Komodo dragon. This island-dwelling monitor lizard is swift and terrifying because of its unusual looks and the fact that we don’t know just how deadly it may be. What would happen if these two creatures clashed? Take a look at a Komodo dragon vs shark fight and see which one you should fear the most!

Comparing a Komodo Dragon and a Shark

A shark weighs a lot more than a Komodo dragon.
Komodo DragonShark
SizeWeight: 150lbs – 300lbs
Height: 1.5ft-2ft
Length: 6ft-10ft
Weight: 1,000lbs – 2,400lbs
Length: 11ft – 21ft
Speed and Movement Type-11 mph top speed
– Unknown swim speed, but it’s less than their running speed    
– 20mph – 35mph
– Uses an undulating, side-to-side motion from the tail and body.
Senses– Good eyesight
– Use their tongues and Jacobson’s organ to smell and taste their environment and find prey from miles away
– Poor hearing
– Good vision with sharp focus and night vision
– Great whites hear low frequencies, but it’s not their best sense
– Incredible smell for substances at 1 part per 10 billion parts of water
– Possess ampullae of Lorenzini to detect electrical fields
Defenses– Hard skin with strong scales that are reinforced with bony deposits called osteoderms
– Speed
– Large size
– Bursts of speed  
Offensive CapabilitiesPossibly venomous
– Sharp claws hold prey in place
Sharp teeth lead to exsanguination in victims
–  Massive biting power
4,000 PSI  
-About 50 teeth are available to bite in the first row, but 300 teeth overall – Teeth 4-6 inches long
– Long, triangular teeth
– Fast swim speed
Predatory Behavior– Ambush predators
– Tries to knock down and bite vital areas on prey, typically the neck.  
– Relies on stealth and ambush to attack    

What Are Key Differences Between a Komodo Dragon and a Shark?

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Sharks are cartilaginous fish that spend their entire lives in the water.


The major differences between a Komodo dragon and a shark are their morphology, location, and size. Komodo dragons are large quadrupedal lizards that primarily live on a series of islands in Indonesia, but sharks are massive cartilaginous fish that live in all five of Earth’s oceans.

Sharks are much longer and heavier than Komodo dragons, exceeding their size by several times, especially when you consider the world’s largest sharks.

These differences will influence the outcome of the fight. We will take a closer look at these factors along with others to discover which creature’s unique qualities will benefit it most in a fight.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Komodo Dragon and a Shark?

Dumbest Animals in the World: Komodo Dragon

Komodo dragons rely on their teeth and speed to kill their prey.

©Yudi S/Shutterstock.com

The most important factors in a fight between the deadly Komodo dragon and a shark include their body size, the way they kill their prey, and how swift they are in the water. We’re going to examine these facets of the animals along with others, assign advantages, and analyze the results in a hypothetical combat situation. Take a look and see which creature makes it out alive!

Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Size

Sharks are much larger than Komodo dragons. Using the data from a great white shark, we can clearly see that a Komodo dragon pales in size compared to them. A great white shark weighs up to 2,400lbs and grows about 21ft long. Meanwhile, a Komodo dragon will only weigh about 300lbs and grow 10 feet long at its maximum.

Sharks have a massive size advantage against Komodo dragons.

Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Speed and Movement

Sharks are faster than Komodo dragons in the water. A shark can swim at speeds between 20 and 35 mph, but a Komodo dragon’s estimated swim speed is under 10 mph. That means the reptile will not have the opportunity to flee once the fighting starts.

Furthermore, sharks’ bodies help them move swiftly underwater, but Komodo dragons are not as effective at swimming as they are at running.

Sharks have an advantage in speed and movement.

Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Senses

Sharks are perfect hunters from a sensory standpoint. They have great vision, the ability to smell 1 part substance per billion parts of water, and they can detect the electrical fields of other animals around them.

Komodo dragons have good senses, too. Their eyesight is very useful, and their ability to sample the air with their tongues to get chemical data is amazing. At least, it’s helpful on land but not so much in the water.

Sharks have a profound sensory advantage against Komodo dragons.

Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Physical Defenses

Komodo dragons excel in physical defenses. They have reinforced scaly skin that helps their body deflect some biting attacks from foes. Aside from that, their speed on land helps them get away from foes.

Sharks only have their massive size and speed to keep them safe. Fortunately for them, that is enough to keep them safe in most cases.  

Komodo dragons have a theoretical advantage in physical defenses.

Komodo Dragon vs Shark: Combat Skills

Sharks are incredible predators that ambush their foes and kill them very quickly. When they attack, they use a massive bite that implements 50 teeth measuring 4-6 inches in length and digs into the prey at 4,000PSI. These teeth are meant to tear massive chunks out of prey, instantly killing or incapacitating them.

Komodo dragons use their teeth and claws to kill. They pin their prey with their claws and heavy bodies and start biting in vital areas, exsanguinating them. Meanwhile, every bite introduces a mild venom into their wounds. This venom apparently helps send the prey into shock and makes their wounds bleed more severely.

Both animals are vicious, capable fighters, but only one of them can survive.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Komodo Dragon and a Shark?

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Sharks would kill most creatures in the ocean.

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A shark would win a fight against a Komodo dragon, and it wouldn’t even be close. Since the shark can only survive in water and the Komodo dragon spends a fair amount of time swimming in the water, that’s where the fight will take place.

In the water, the shark has every advantage. Everything from size, speed, and fighting abilities all go the shark’s way. The shark would use its speed to ram into and overwhelm the Komodo dragon. Although the monitor lizard’s skin is tough, it’s not going to turn away those massive teeth with that much power behind them.

A single bite would prove devastating, if not fatal. Massive blood loss and amputations would kill the Komodo dragon.

Although some people may want to believe that the Komodo dragon’s venom could play a role here, it wouldn’t. Sure, if the Komodo dragon knew the attack was coming and countered it, it might land a single bite. A single bite is not enough to exsanguinate or envenomate a shark to the point where it dies. The shark would earn a meal this time.

Animals That Could Take Down a Shark

Due to the fearsome reputation of sharks, many people believe that they don’t have any natural predators. However, there are a few, bigger creatures of the sea that could take down a shark in a fight.

Smaller-sized sharks can be prey for large fish and bigger species of sharks. For larger sharks such as tiger sharks and great whites, the only animal that could take them on and win are killer whales. Killer whales, also known as orcas, have virtually no predators in the wild (although humans are a threat to their existence),so in a battle of killer whale vs shark the killer whale would be victorious. Orcas are capable of targeting sharks, distracting them, flipping them upside down to paralyze them, and then eating their livers. Offshore killer whales feed on sharks including blue sharks and salmon sharks.

Sperm whales also include sharks such as the megamouth shark in their diets, so in a face-off between a shark and a sperm whale it’s likely that the shark would end up as a meal.

An unlikely threat to the shark is the colossal squid. In a matchup of great white shark vs giant squid, the giant squid would be the likely victor as it has the size advantage (they can grow to 40 feet in length so they can attack the great white with their long tentacles from a distance), and superior defensive and offensive capabilities.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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