Watch This Jumbo-Sized Komodo Dragon Corner a Helpless Fish and Gobble It Down

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Apex predator: Komodo dragon

Key Points:

  • Komodo dragons are carnivores and their diet primarily consists of meat.
  • They have powerful jaw and sharp teeth that allow them to rip apart their prey.
  • Komodo dragons are known to eat large animals, including deer, wild boar, and even water buffalo.

Komodo dragons are large lizards with stout limbs, strong and nimble necks, and long tails. They also have forked tongues that appear to be yellow. Youngsters may have a more colorful color and pattern than adults, which have prominent, big scales that are nearly uniform in color. 

The Komodo dragon can devour enormous portions of meat with amazing speed thanks to its powerful jaw and throat muscles. The lower jaw opens extraordinarily wide thanks to several movable joints, including the intramandibular hinge. 

An adult may readily take up to 80% of their own body weight in a single meal thanks to the stomach’s easy expansion, which most certainly explains some tall tales of enormous weights in captured people. Komodos have the ability to vomit their stomach contents when they feel threatened in order to reduce their size and run away.

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Komodo dragons can eat large portions in one sitting due to their strong jaws and throat muscles.


The largest confirmed specimen was 10.3 feet in length and weighed 366 pounds, while the average weight of these wild dragons is around 154 pounds. Men often develop larger, heavier bodies than females. Almost every form of meat is consumed by Komodo dragons, which scavenge for dead animals or stalk prey ranging in size from tiny mice to massive water buffalo

Young consume mostly insects, tiny reptiles, and birds, as well as slithering snakes. If they survive to age five, they transition to larger prey such rats, monkeys, sheep, wild boars, and their favorite – deer! These reptiles are cannibalistic and tertiary hunters at the pinnacle of their food chain.

An Easy Lunch

Footage of a giant Komodo dragon walking along a river bank gives us an incredible view of just how massive these creatures are. As it treks along, this lizard is looking for a tasty snack. It spots an unfortunate fish that seemingly died after getting stuck in between rocks. 

Although the dragon doesn’t know if it’s safe to eat this dead fish, it gobbles the sushi right up! Adjusting the fish so it’s head first, the Komodo dragon swallows it whole! The major food detector for the Komodo dragon is its sense of smell. It sniffs the air with the help of its long, yellow, forked tongue. 

Komodo dragon hunting

Komodo dragons can take down large animals like livestock.

©Sergey Uryadnikov/

The tongue’s forked tip is then moved to the mouth’s roof, where it interacts with the Jacobson’s organs. These chemical detectors can detect airborne chemicals, which allows them to “smell” prey like deer. The Komodo dragon may tell an animal is moving from the right if there are more molecules concentrated on the right tip of the tongue than the left. 

The dragon uses this technique, together with an undulating gait in which the head moves from side to side, to detect the presence and movement of food. Sometimes these reptiles can detect the smell of carrion or a rotting carcass nearly three miles away. 

Approximately 12% of their prey is wasted by Komodo dragons, making them efficient eaters. Other animals leave behind much more of an animal and let it go to waste. 

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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