Who Are the Predators of the Komodo Dragon?

Vicki Burton/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Komodo dragons are the top predators in their range, and adults do not suffer predation by any species. Young Komodo dragons sometimes fall prey to predatory mammals, birds and other Komodo dragons. Juveniles live in trees as protection until they are large enough to defend themselves.

While they have no natural predators as adults, Komodo dragons do suffer from human poaching. Their populations are also threatened by habitat destruction and prey depletion. Komodo dragons are the largest species of lizard. The largest individuals reach over 10 feet in length and 360 pounds in weight.

Komodo dragons are important in their ecosystems as both predators and scavengers. While most of their diet consists of carrion, they are capable of killing animals much larger than themselves. Prey animals include goats, pigs, deer, wild boar, horses and water buffalo. They sometimes attack and kill livestock, and in rare cases they also kill humans.

Komodo dragons can kill even the largest prey with a single bite. Their saliva contains not only venom but also lethal strains of bacteria. A Komodo dragon typically bites its prey once, then follows it until it dies of blood loss or an acute infection. Juveniles eat invertebrates, small lizards, birds and eggs.