Without the dinosaur-taming aspect of the game, ARK would be a sad, sad excuse for a survival crafting game. While the building mechanics are solid, and the structures you can construct are diverse, they are designed around the dinosaur taming system in order to truly flourish. You see, dinosaurs in ARK are not only good for their pointy teeth and sharp claws, which can shred your enemies to pieces. Dinos in this game can also perform different functions, which can help you advance further into the game. For instance, tamed Trikes can help to collect lots of berries when using their default attack on nearby plants. Similarly, the Ankylosaurus can collect large amounts of metal and flint when attack metal boulders and rocks, respectively. Similar to these two, many dinos have awesome functions that can help you gather materials, fight off predators, or simply get from point to point.
While we’ll get to the specifics of each dino in another article, we simply wanted to open with a statement that would help to point out the importance of taming dinos, and keeping a wide variety of creatures at your disposal.
We already briefly mentioned the taming process in our starter guides for ARK: Survival Evolved and, sure enough, the process is quite simple and straightforward. All you need to do is knock a dino unconscious, keep it sedated with berries or drugs, and give it food until it’s completely tamed. This is easy enough to achieve with small, defenseless, creatures like dodos. However, when it comes to big dinos or even the little ones that actually fight back, you will find that the process of knocking out a dino may actually prove to be quite dangerous — fatal, even, if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This where this guide comes in. In this article, you’ll find all you need to know about how to properly knock a dino unconscious, how to keep it sedated, and how to use the proper food in order to tame it in the quickest possible manner.
Understanding Dinosaur Types
In ARK, all dinos and creatures fall into two main categories: Herbivores, and Carnivores. This is important to keep in mind as it will allow you to know what type of food you need to give the creature during the taming process. Giving it the wrong type of food won’t cause any effect, and might even ruin your efforts in taking the dino down in the first place. In the past, there used to be a theory which stated that each dino had a preferred type of berry or meat. However, this theory was never proved and was then completely discarded when the developers implemented the kibble system.
Kibbles are a type of food made from dino eggs and other ingredients, which can greatly accelerate the taming process. Instead of a preferred food or meat, each dino has a preferred type of kibble and feeding them the correct type will grant you a 5x bonus to taming speed.
In any case, if you don’t have access to kibbles, the only thing you need to know is that carnivores can only be tamed by giving them raw meat, and herbivores only by giving them berries. Some elite dinosaurs carnivores and apex predators may respond better to raw prime meat, which is a type of meat only dropped by other large dinosaurs and fearsome predators. However, taming with raw prime meat is a complex process that must be carefully managed, since this type of food spoils very quickly.
It’s important to consider that some creatures, such as the Pulmonoscorpius, can only be tamed with spoiled meat.
Knocking the Dinosaur Out
This is, by far, the most dangerous part of the taming process as it consists of going toe-to-toe with the dino until you knock it unconscious.
In the beginning, when you don’t have access to ranged weapons or tranquilizers, you will simply resort to your fists to knock out some dodos for your beginner base. You can also use a wooden club for this purpose. However, for anything larger than a dodo, you will need a slingshot and some rocks so you can safely knock dinos out from a distance. To craft this, you will need to learn the engram and gather the necessary materials. The slingshot uses regular stones as ammunition, which you can find lying around just about anywhere.
If you want the best results for knocking a dino out, make sure to always aim for the head. This applies to every single weapon type, including slingshots, bows, crossbows, longneck rifles, and so on. Not only will this do more damage if you’re using live ammunition, but it will also increase the creature’s torpidity faster when using tranquilizers, which makes them fall unconscious faster, and with less ammunition.
Later on, you will have access to bows, crossbows, and longneck rifles, all of which can use lethal or tranquilizer ammunition, and will help to increase your performance at knocking dinos out effectively.
A good tip for knocking out small dinos and other creatures that like to flee as soon as you hit them is with the use of a bola. Bolas can be crafted with a few stones and some hide and can be thrown at small dinosaurs to keep them rooted in a place while you knock them out. This method can be used even with Pteranodons, which fly away when you hit them. To achieve this, simply throw a bola at them, and shoot at them with your slingshot or bow until they fall asleep. If you want to conserve ammo, you simply need to get closer after you trap them with the bola, and hit them with your wooden club until they fall unconscious. Since they are rooted, they won’t be able to fight back.
The Taming Process
Luckily, the taming process is risk-free, compared to knocking dinos out. However, you’ll still have to be mindful of your surroundings as stray creatures may walk by and attack your unconscious dinosaur if you’re distracted. This can be avoided in the longer taming processes by building a perimeter of walls around the dinosaur, and then demolishing it when you’re done.
Anyway, the taming process is simple. Simply put some meat or berries in the inventory of the unconscious carnivore or herbivore, respectively, and watch as the taming meter slowly fills. However, you need to also stay aware of the creature’s torpidity. If the meter empties, the dinosaur will wake up, and all your progress will be forfeit, which can be particularly devastating during those hour-long taming procedures. In order to increase the dino’s torpidity, you can either bash on the head with a club a few times (taking care not to kill it), but this will reduce its taming effectiveness. The best way to ensure that your dino stays asleep during its taming is by manually adding some narcoberries or narcotics to its inventory, and clicking on “consume” to force-feed the substance to it, increasing its torpidity.
If you use an appropriate kibble, instead of meat or berries, the taming process will go 5 times faster, and the taming effectiveness won’t go down as much, leaving you with a better dinosaur after the taming is complete.
Taming is an easy process, which basically runs by itself if you’re experienced. However, for the uninitiated, it may prove to be their doom. Hopefully, with this guide, you will be able to knock the dinos out effectively and learn how to tame the beasts so that you can add their potential to your ever-growing repertoire.