The Komodo dragon is the apex predator of a few islands in Indonesia, one, of course, being Komodo Island. The lion is the king of Africa. With no natural predators, it is the ruler over the savanna plains. These animals make fierce opponents for their prey in their natural habitat. What would happen if we took both animals and released them into the same environment? In this article, we will compare both animals and determine the outcome of a Komodo dragon vs lion fight. Who will win?
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Fact Sheet
|Size||weight 70 – 81.5 kg|
length 2.6 – 3 m
|weight 150 – 250 kg|
length 2.85 m
height 1.2 m
|Speed||10 – 13 mph||50 mph|
|Attack||500 – 600 psi|
teeth 2.5 cm
claws 5 cm
|bite fore 650 psi|
canines 10 cm
claws 4 cm
|great night vison|
|Lifespan||30 years||8 – 16 years|
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Size
The Komodo dragon belongs to the monitor lizard family and is the largest lizard in the world. They have an average weight of 70 kg (154 lbs), while their average length is 2.6 m (8.5 ft). Their tail makes up half their length. The largest wild specimen recorded weighed 81.5 kg (180 lbs) and measured 3 m (9.9 ft) long.
The lion is the biggest cat in Africa. Males are the biggest. They weigh between 150 – 250 kg (330 – 550 lbs) they have a shoulder height of 1.2 m (3.9 ft). They have a length of 2 m (6.5 ft), with their tail measuring an additional 85 cm (33.5 in).
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Movement Speed
Komodo dragons amble along slowly. Only when chasing prey do they build up some speed maxing out at 10 – 13 mph (16 – 21 kph). They can only keep that speed up for a short time. Lions, however, are a lot faster. They chase their prey further and can sprint at 50 mph (80 kph) in small bursts.
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Attack Power
The Komodo dragon has plenty of weapons at its disposal. It has powerful forelimbs with 5 cm (2 in) long claws that can be used to slash another animal in combat. Their mouth holds 60 sharp teeth 2.5 cm (1 in) long. In Steve Backshalls “Top 60 Deadly Predators“, he measured their bite force to be between 500 – 600 psi. This surprised him as the Komodo dragon has a lightweight skull compared to other animals of a similar bite force.
Komodo dragons also produce venom but don’t inject it into their prey. Instead, when biting down on their prey, the venom oozes out their mouth into the cut. Scientists are still testing the effects of the venom but have found that it stops blood from clotting. So if an animal manages to escape from their grasp, the Komodo dragon must follow it while it bleeds to death as the venom works its magic.
The Komodo dragon can track the animal by the sense of smell using their fork-shaped tongue to taste the air. They have a Jacobson organ on the roof of their mouth that processes this information and points them in the right direction. They can smell carrion from 2.5 – 6 mi (4 – 9.6 km) away. If their teeth and claws weren’t enough, they can even use their long tail in battle. They use their tail like a whip to hit other animals off balance. They can hit a deer with enough force to knock it clean over.
If the Komodo dragons’ offensive abilities weren’t enough, they also hide a tremendous defensive power. They have a layer of tiny bones under their scales, forming a layer of protective chainmail around their bodies. This protects them from rival Komodo dragons when fighting over mates and food.
Komodo dragons use stealth to kill their prey. They sneak up and ambush their target. They can’t chew their food, so they tear off chunks of flesh to swallow with small prey they consume whole, and if they have trouble, they bash the food against a tree to force it down.
Male lions don’t do nearly as much hunting as the females in the pride, but they help tip the odds in their favour when they do hunt. They pack a lot of muscle and have the jaws to match with a bite force of 650 psi. They kill their prey with a bite to the neck using their 10 cm (4 in) long canines crushing the animal’s windpipe.
This method of attack takes time, so they pin the animal down with their weight and grip hold of it with their sharp 4 cm (1.6 in) claws. Lions do the majority of their hunting at night as they have excellent night vision. This gives them an edge over their prey.
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Differences
The critical difference between the Komodo dragon and the lion is the Komodo dragon is a reptile while the lion is a mammal. The Komodo dragon being a lizard is cold-blooded, has scales and lays eggs. The lion being a mammal is warm-blooded, has fur and has offspring that are born alive. Also, the size of the animals is different. The lion is taller, longer and heavier.
Komodo Dragon vs Lion: Who will win in a fight?
Now comes the decision of what animal should win in this fight. The fight could end in three different ways, with the lion winning, the Komodo dragon winning, or the fight ending in a draw with both animals dying.
The most likely scenario is that the lion wins. If the lion strikes at night when it has the advantage, it will easily win. It has a strong enough bite force to crush the Komodo dragon’s thick neck. As the lion is twice as heavy as the Komodo dragon, it can easily keep it pinned down while biting the neck.
For the Komodo dragon to win, it must land the first blow and make its first bite lethal. If it does not manage to do this, it will have to follow it up with more bites and wait for its venom to take effect. It will need to bind its time while the lion bleeds out.
The last scenario ends with the lion killing the Komodo dragon but then dying from its wounds. The lion has more advantages than the Komodo dragon and, therefore, will win most of the time.
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