Everything has to eat, it’s how we get our energy to be able to do things during the day, and dragons are no exception. Generally creatures are divided into carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores. Unfortunately, dragons are a little tricky to define under those terms, since different dragons have different eating patterns, and not one of those definitions covers creatures that eat metal and rocks.

A Dragon Hunting SheepWestern dragons tend to be considered carnivores. They like meat and flesh and blood as their primary source of food, and they are too fussy about the source. Sheep, cows, oxen, lions, elephants or even humans, anything that is of a size and has warm blood and flesh to feast on is there primary source of food. Although dragons haven’t actually shown a preference in age or gender of human, so where the tradition of offering them a maid came from, I’m not entirely sure. It might have been that one particular dragon had a taste for them, and then the rumour spread and it was incorrectly applied to all dragons.

dragon002One interesting thing to note is that although they do eat the flesh, the have a particular taste for blood. Sometimes, when in need of a quick burst of energy, they will only drink the blood of their prey, and leave the flesh (sometimes for a later meal, sometimes just discarded – perhaps this is where vampire myths originated?) behind. It has been theorised that for dragons blood acts as sugar does for us – it gives them a quick boost of energy, but does not weigh down their stomachs with food, hence they can fly at incredible speeds for a short amount of time.

Eastern dragons have a very different reputation to their eastern cousins, and this is partly due to their diet. Eastern dragons are very much inclined to be herbivores, and if they do eat meat, it is only of small animals such as bird or rabbits and rodents. Farmers in particular are pleased about this, so will often supply what the dragons do eat, including bamboo, fresh shoots, milk and any rodents that they have caught.

Fish are not popular among dragons as a food source, except if the dragon in question is a blue or sea dwelling dragon. Living in the sea, fish are the primary source of food, although this can mean anything from krill to sharks.

One of the peculiar traits that has been noticed from time to time is that some dragons eat rocks or metal. Sometimes even the metal or precious gems from their own hoard. Considering that all dragons are known to have the impulse to gather hoards, this is a strange traits, since eating it will diminish the hoard the dragon possesses. Curiously though, this trait is more often observed in metallic dragons, such as bronzes, golds, coppers and so forth. It might be that by eating the metal, it somehow helps to improve their hides, improving their colour or strength. However, this is an unproven theory, so it remains a mystery why some dragons eat their hoard.