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I need a predator that specializes on getting energy from fire and high sources of heat.

It doesn't get burned easily, kind of like a camel is able to eat hard cacti and probably even razors due to the structure of their mouths.

But what use does an animal get from eating fire, burning coals and hot ashes as well as smoke?

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  • $\begingroup$ How hard sciencey are you trying to be? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 14, 2021 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Why is it a predator? Does it set its prey on fire to feed off it? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Jan 14, 2021 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander fire is very common in this world and this creature chases hungry for everything that's burning like a crackhead chasing their drug dealer. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Jan 14, 2021 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Narcotin, I think they are badly hooked ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jan 15, 2021 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ A Predator.. That gets its energy from Fire..... so, you want something that HUNTS FIRES? Because that is what a predator does, it hunts its foodsource as prey! $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Jan 15, 2021 at 6:42

4 Answers 4

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One thing I love in the tag is that very often you ask for something that seems fantastic, but in fact that already exists.

That creature is us. We can put fire in our mouths (don't you do it at home though!) because our wet mouths provide some short term protection. There is a circus trick that is based on that.

A person performing the fire spitting circus trick

But seriously though, your mouth can handle hot things for longer than some other sensitive body parts such as your fingertips.

On a more serious note: we wouldn't be humans if we had not tamed fire. Cooking our food breaks down many proteins and some fats and fibers, making them easier to digest. This allows us to meet our dietary needs with smaller intestines and other digesting organs, which frees up more resources for a larger brain. Just compare the anatomy of a chimp and a human - chimps use much more energy for digestion. They have much larger intestines too.

I would daresay that when hominids first walked the Earth, the biggest difference between them and other animals was not the enlarged brain - elephants and whales have that too. The real difference is that we don't eat raw food (except for gastronomical reasons!).


If you don't like my answer, and instead still wish for a non-human creature that does ingest fire or fuels, consider what I said about breaking down proteins and fats. Your creature will spend less of its own energy for digestion, which in turns allows it to grow tougher or more intelligent than its closest related species which do not eat fire nor fuels.

For clarification, I am suggesting eating fire - or fuels to get that fire going inside the stomach - alongside regular food.


Also consider that coal has a lot of energy in it. It is used to power cities to this day after all. It's just that no lifeform has ever evolved to extract energy from it through physiology. If any lifeform could do that, they would be to us what we are to anaerobic bacteria.

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  • $\begingroup$ eating coals is very different than eating cooked food, the question is about what benefit eating fire or fire fuels get you. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jan 16, 2021 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @john what I mean is that you either get raw energy from coal or use itnto keep a fire going that helps digestion. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2021 at 15:47
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well, it could turn heat into energy, like a thermal generator, which does exactly what you want, but there are some problems with this, as the fire would not be inside itself, or be eaten directly, but it is possible

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  • $\begingroup$ You'd also need a way to store that energy which isn't very easy since heat is one of the lowest forms of energy to begin with which is why heat engines tend to need to run so hot to begin with. It would need an endothermic metabolic chemical reaction inside it that requires intense external heat . $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 14, 2021 at 19:11
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Sounds like a dragon to me. But any reptile-type should suffice. If basing it on the real world, just tweak it in favor of evolutionary development for whatever reasons. If it can be fictional, then it's only bound by the constraints that you impose.

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Ectotherms such as reptiles rely on heat from their environment to warm them up. On cold days and in cold places, they are sluggish and slow. After basking in the sun and warming up, they become quick. Any ectotherm that could survive extremely hot temperatures might get a major advantage in its speed.

Also, most of the calories eaten by endotherms like us is used up maintaining our body heat. An ectotherm in a warm environment could get by on a lot fewer calories. This means that a warm environment could support a lot more of these predators than if they were warm-blooded.

Finally, ectotherms rate of metabolism can very greatly. This means that they could lie dormant for a long period of time when food is scarce or the weather is cold, and only become active again when the weather is warmer and food is availible.

However, in the real world, plants and animals almost all struggle with prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures - most plants have trouble at above 90°F and few animals can withstand temperatures above 120°F for long. Perhaps it would be better to have them live near natural steam vents or volcanic fissures, which they can move next to warm themselves much like how reptiles bask in the sun, and move away from them when they get too warm.

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