What do dragons eat? Now that’s a great question! An eternal question like what’s the meaning of life? Or does my dog love me? And it’s a question that’s puzzled some of our greatest creative minds.
Here at Dragon University we’re fully committed to our goal of being the world’s greatest dragon resource. So that means answering each and every question to the best of our abilities.
In this article, we’ve brought together all of our research. We look at western dragons. We look at eastern dragons. We look at dragon anatomy. We study the works of George R. R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Pratchett. And we delve into dragon mythology.
All of this to find out what dragons eat (and it’s not the dragon’s blood tree!).
What did we find?
The short answer is, it varies. For a longer answer, read on!
Do dragons eat humans?
Most western dragons are depicted as large, ferocious, malevolent creatures who must be feared, or fought. These dragons are very likely to eat humans, but whether that’s for nourishment or simply as a weapon within a battle situation is up for debate.
Eastern dragons on the other hand are often peaceful, symbols of peace, hope and new beginnings. Therefore, it’s extremely unlikely that they would eat anything that’s alive.
Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores
First, looking simply at dragon anatomy, and more specifically the jaw, you’ll notice the similarity between a dragon and a dog. Now if you own a dog, you’ll probably now have images in your head of dragons eating anything and everything they set their eyes on, including your sofa!
And that’s the key. You see, dogs are technically carnivores, which means that they only eat meat. However, dogs are well known for their unstoppable and varied appetite and, like humans, are happy to eat anything.
So this puts them firmly in the omnivore family, which means that they eat plants and animals.
Does this mean that dragons are omnivores? Well it seems likely, but there are some theories that dragons are close relations to dinosaurs, and there were many species of dinosaur that were herbivores, which means that they only eat plants.
Given that there are many different types of dragons, the most likely conclusion is that different dragons fit into different categories.
What do dragons eat in Game of Thrones?
In Game of Thrones, dragons are shown to be meat eaters once they’ve matured. There is only one caveat, the meat has to be cooked. They won’t eat anything raw.
This is depicted most clearly in A Song of Fire and Ice. When Daenerys has young dragons, she breastfeeds them. This continues until, following a death, she decides to follow the red comet with her dragons.
On their quest, they spend a long time wandering the red waste, a desert, and Daenerys loses weight, becomes weak, and can no longer produce milk to breastfeed her dragons.
As a solution, she tries to feed her dragons with raw horse meat, which they refuse. However, recalling advice she’d heard in the past, she sears the meat and the dragons accept it and grow strong.
What do dragons eat in Tolkien’s world?
Unfortunately, this is a question that remains unanswered throughout the entirety of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
We can draw some conclusions, and make some educated guesses based on Tolkien’s descriptions and world building.
Dragons in Tolkien’s world are mainly thought to be descended from Maiar. There is some debate about this, but it’s clearly stated that they were bred by Morgoth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit, as war machines.
The dragons are large, intelligent and greedy for all things gold. They terrorise dwarves. They live long lives and have great strength. There desire for gold is so strong that they prioritise the pursuit of gold over almost everything else, including eating.
It’s said that the dragons of Tolkien’s world could survive for decades without eating.
It’s likely that dragons would eat their foe to win battles, and also likely that they would simply eat whatever they could find when they eventually had to eat.
What do dragons eat in Pratchett’s world?
Unlike Tolkien, Terry Pratchett did take the time to let his readers know exactly what his dragons needed to eat.
In Discworld, there are four different types of dragons. There are draco nobilis, draco vulgaris, draco lunaris and draco stellar nauticae. And thanks to Pratchett, we know what the draco nobilis and draco vulgaris like to eat.
Swamp Dragons are a type of draco vulgaris. They are small, ugly and flightless, and mostly kept as pets. As fire breathing dragons they need to eat substances that fuel the fire. So don’t be surprised to see a Swamp Dragon eating sulphur, or coal.
The draco nobilis, or Noble Dragons, are magical dragons that need just one type of fuel to survive…magic! That’s right, because they need a strong magic field to sustain them, they must consume as much magic as they possibly can.
What do dragons eat in ancient myths?
There are so many dragons in so many myths throughout time that you could find examples of dragons eating absolutely everything.
However, for a semi definitive answer, we’ll go to one of the most famous dragon stories of all time, that of St George and the Dragon.
If you want to read Dragon University’s full report on St George and the Dragon, please click the link above, but if you just want to know what the dragon eats well, then, the answer is sheep.
Well, it starts off as sheep. But after a while, sheep are no longer enough of a sacrifice for our dragon and so the townspeople offer him girls. When the king’s daughter is the next girl chosen for sacrifice, a hero is required.
And very soon, that dragon eats nothing at all.
So…what do dragons eat?
We’ve seen it all. Dragons who eat people, dwarves, plants, coal, breastmilk, horse meat (but only when cooked), sheep, young girls, and even magic.
We hope you enjoyed our report, we hope you found it useful and informative. If you’ve any feedback or comments, head on over to Facebook and let us know what you think.