I've been watching a The Crocodile Hunter episode about Komodo dragons, and Steve Irwin kept speaking about the animals being in "food mode", in which they apparently change their behavior to one of a killing machine. He said if bark falls of a tree when they're in food mode, they'll snap it.

Is it for real? I googled "food mode" but nothing interesting came up. Which animals have a food mode like this? Is it restricted to reptiles? Does it have a scientific name? Can I read about it somewhere?


1 Answer 1


I suspect he just meant "when they are hungry" and likely was playing it up for TV.

According to the San Diego Zoo, they only manage to eat about once a month, and spend a few days digesting their prey.

  • Adults spend an average of 26 days searching for prey. 10-20 minutes eating. (A 50 kg female was observed to swallow a 31 kg boar in 17 minutes). 3-6 days is spent in digestive pause.
  • Ingestion rate may be as much as 2.5 kg/min - higher than any other predator except large snakes.
  • High digestive efficiency (70-90%) Time is dependent upon temperature (about 26 hours at normal body temperature) Cool nights can delay to almost 5 days. Stress can slow or even stop digestion (defecation of partially digested prey may occur)



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