Are Komodo Dragons Poisonous? Detailed Guide!

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Komodo dragons are the largest lizards in the world and can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh as much as 300 pounds. They live on the Indonesian islands of Komodo, hence their name.

These giant reptiles have a reputation for being dangerous predators but many people wonder, are Komodo dragons poisonous?

The answer is yes Komodo dragons are poisonous. They have toxic saliva which can cause fatal infections in their prey when bitten! Making them extremely dangerous predators.

Even if the prey was to get away, the Komodo dragon’s venom would still take its toll and the animal would likely die from an infection.

Why Is The Komodo Dragons Saliva Poisonous?

These impressive creatures are known for their toxic saliva, which helps them take down prey much larger than themselves.

But what exactly makes Komodo dragon saliva poisonous, and why does it have this property? Let’s explore!

The Komodo dragon basically has two specific toxic substances that can cause death in their prey. Their saliva contains potent “anticoagulants” and a hypersensitive substance that makes their bite lethal.


Anticoagulant is what causes the blood to keep flowing out of the wound of the prey resulting in them bleeding the death.

This bacteria can cause severe infections to their prey and is so deadly that it can kill an animal within 24 hours of being bitten.

When the dragons bite their prey it will pass on this lethal dose of toxic bacteria from their mouth directly into the wound and blood steam.


When the dragon bites their prey it also delivers a hypersensitive substance that increases blood pressure and causes the heart to pump faster which results in the prey bleeding out even more.

So this means the komodo dragon doesn’t just cause damage by their powerful bite but also delivers a powerful venom making these reptile’s bite lethal.

Septic Bacteria

The Komodo dragon’s mouth is full of septic bacteria that produce the deadly toxin in their saliva. This toxin is primarily created by the septic bacteria living in their mouths.

The toxin created by the septic bacteria is what makes the Komodo dragon’s saliva poisonous and can cause severe infections which can cause septic shock after being bitten.

Typically, the komodo dragons will let go of their prey after biting them leaving the animal to bleed to death.

This is why experts now believe that they die from being infected with the deadly bacteria and not from the force of their bite.

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How Does The Poison Work?

When a Komodo dragon bites its prey, a high concentration of bacteria infects the wound. This bacteria will then quickly spread from their teeth throughout the bloodstream.

If an animal is bitten by a Komodo dragon and does not die from the bite itself, it may still die from blood loss because of the two substances mentioned above.

Symptoms Of Infection Can Include:

  • Increases Blood Pressure
  • Causes The Heart To Pump Faster
  • Wound Will Keep Bleeding
  • Severe Infection

Usually, when this happens the Komodo dragon is still able to track its prey as the venom takes effect.

In fact, Komodo dragons are able to track their prey using their forked tongues instead of noses to smell. They can detect their prey from 1 to 2 miles depending on wind conditions.

What Kind Of Animals Does This Bacteria Infect?

The septic bacteria in the Komodo dragon’s saliva can infect any animal. However, it is most deadly to carrion, deer, pigs, or large water buffalo. animals.

These animals are the primary prey of Komodo dragons and when they bite one of these animals, the infection has a high chance of killing them.

Side Effects From Being Bitten Can Include:

  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Vomiting, And Diarrhea

Are Komodo Dragons Poisonous To Humans?

Yes, Komodo dragons are poisonous to humans and if you were to get bitten by one not only will the bite hurt but it can cause you to get septic poisoning if not treated.

There have been no cases of a Komodo dragon killing a human by biting them, but they are still able to pass that deadly bacteria through their saliva and it can cause severe infections. 

So, while Komodo dragons can be lethal to other animals they can also be poisonous to humans too!

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What Should You Do If You Get Bitten?

If you get bitten by a Komodo dragon, the best course of action is to see a doctor immediately. In fact, there was a case where a 38-year-old woman was bitten on her hand while cleaning the komodo dragon’s enclosure.

Her wounds were extensively cleaned, and she was subscribed to prophylactic antibiotics to help with the infection. The good news was her hand healed without any infection.

However, this was due to the quick response to get the wound treated if it was left to heal by itself then the infection would have been highly likely.

The Course Of Treatment Involves:

  • Drainage Of The Wound
  • Strong Antibiotics
  • Daily Moniting

Important: If you or your pet do get bitten by a Komodo dragon should see a doctor as soon as possible. If it is left untreated, the wound may become infected and could potentially lead to death!


So now you know that a Komodo dragon’s saliva is poisonous and what step you can take if you do get bitten by one.

However, If you are ever in an unfortunate situation where you come across one of these beasts while on vacation abroad (or anywhere), don’t try to pick it up; their bite will most likely be fatal!

These reptiles are known to overpower large animals such as water buffalo. So if you are in close proximately to one it is best to avoid getting too close.

These reptiles are dangerous and they should be treated with caution. They may look cute to some but you cannot judge a book by its cover, so watch your step!