In ARK, taming creatures is the essential part of the game. Without them, everything you intend on doing will take more time, and will most likely be less efficient. Creatures can serve different purposes and some of them have unique abilities. Not all the creatures are tamed in the same way, and there are two main methods of taming depending on the creature: you either have to knock it out, or you have to tame it passively.
Knock out taming
The idea behind this is to inflict torpor to a creature until it falls unconscious. Once unconscious, you have to feed it and after some time, it will wake up as a tamed creature of yours.
A creature whose torpor is starting to be high will run away from you. Most creatures can be carried by other dinos. It is advised to build a secured pen in your base where you can drop the desired creature. This allows you to continuously shoot it even when it tries to run away.
Some creatures though cannot be picked up. For these you can build specific traps:
This list will be updated when those guides are posted on the website.
There are a lot of items that help you inflict torpor to the creature you wish to tame. At the beginning of the game and for creatures that don’t fight back, you can use your Fists. You can also use Slingshots, Wooden clubs, Bows, Crossbows with Tranq arrows, Harpoon launchers with Tranq spear bolts or Longneck rifles with Tranquilizer darts or Shocking tranquilizer darts for the main ones. There are other items, but they do not seem to be used often by players, such as the Electric prod. If you possess the Scorched Earth expansion or play on Ragnarok, Boomerangs can be used to inflict torpor.
Some creatures can also inflict torpor, but overall they are not used very often: Pulmonoscorpius, Equus, Pachycephalosaurus or Beelzebufo. If you possess the Scorched Earth expansion or play on Ragnarok, Thorny dragons can be used to inflict torpor.
For Titanosaurus, Rock elementals (Scorched Earth) or Karkinos (Aberration), those items are not enough. You have to use heavy weapons such as Primitive cannons with Cannon balls, Catapult turrets with Boulders or Rocket launchers.
As a rule of thumb, always wait 5 seconds between each shot to the creature. This helps maximise the torpor inflicted compared to the damage dealt. Indeed, with tranq arrows and darts, you deal an initial amount of torpor when you shoot the creature, this amount is based on the damage of your weapon. But during 4 and 5 seconds after you shot, additional torpor is applied to the creature. For some items it is not necessary to wait, but it is still a good habit that you should keep.
As soon as the creature is unconscious, stop shooting. If it takes any damage after that, the taming effectiveness will decrease.
Taming effectiveness is what determines the number of additional levels a creature will get after it has been tamed. Two things can impact taming effectiveness: if a creature takes damage after being unconscious, and the type of food you give it.
For the first part, it is just a matter of protecting the creature during the taming process. To do so, you can either bring the creature to your base in a safe taming pen as mentioned above, or if you knocked it out in the wild you can protect it with Wooden spike walls or Metal spike walls. You can also build around it with fence foundations and walls, or gates. Just remember to destroy everything you put down for it after the tame is done to keep a clean map.
The type of food also plays an important part in the taming effectiveness. Each time a creature eats a bit of food, the taming effectiveness will decrease. This is totally normal, though the amount lost will depend on the type of food you gave it. Giving a creature its non-preferred food will result in a greater loss per bit of food eaten.
There are four different categories of creatures based on their diet:
Herbivores: Preferred kibble (if any) > Longrass, Rockarrot, Savoroot, Citronal > Mejoberry > Other berries
Carnivores: Preferred kibble (if any) > Raw mutton > Raw prime meat > Cooked lamb chop > Cooked prime meat > Raw prime fish meat > Raw meat > Cooked meat > Raw fish meat > Cooked prime fish meat > Cooked fish meat
Piscivores: Preferred kibble (if any) > Raw prime fish meat > Raw fish meat > Cooked prime fish meat > Cooked fish meat
Others: Some of those do not have any preferred kibble and do not prefer normal food. This is the case of Achatina which eats Sweet vegetable cakes, Pulmonoscorpius and Araneo which prefer Spoiled meat over anything else, or Jerboa which prefers Plant species Y seeds over anything else. Some of them have a preferred kibble but if you do not have it, they will prefer to eat something else than normal food, such as Archaeopteryx which would eat Chitin, or Megatherium and Direbears which would eat Giant bee honey
Please note that when the kibble rework is done by the developers, all of this information will be reviewed and this guide will be updated to reflect the changes.
Each type of food grants a different amount of Food to a knocked out creature, provides a different taming speed and impacts taming effectiveness more or less.
Example: In most cases, a creature’s preferred kibble will grant 80 Food, it will also speed up the taming process by 5 times and will ensure the best taming effectiveness. Whereas Raw mutton will grant 50 Food, speed up the taming process by 7.5 times but the taming effectiveness will decrease a bit more with each bit eaten, resulting in less additional levels given to your creature after taming is done.
To know which food is preferred by which creature, I would recommend using taming calculators such as Dododex or Survive-Ark each time you are ready to tame. These will help you know how long it will take to tame your creature, and will also help you determine the rate at which each creature is losing torpor during the taming process.
Some creatures do not lose much torpor while others wake up nearly immediately. You can check it all before knocking a creature out with the calculators above, I prefer Survive-Ark for that. This will tell you the time it takes for a creature to wake up as long as you enter the correct taming multiplier. On AstralArk we have 2x taming speed and no change to food consumption.
If a creature wakes up before the taming bar reaches 100%, it becomes wild again and you have to do it all over again.
To increase a creature’s torpor, you can force feed it Narcoberries, Narcotics or Biotoxin. These three methods will increase torpor without inflicting any damage, so without decreasing the taming effectiveness.
Because of the different problems you could encounter during a taming process, I would highly recommend waiting before the creature is hungry enough to eat all the food at once, rather than placing it all directly into its inventory. This does not speed up the taming process, but just ensures that you do not lose any resource or at least not much. Right after you knock out a creature, write down how much HP it has left. Keep it unconscious with the help of Narcotics or Biotoxin until its food level is low enough to eat everything at once. Once food is low enough, check its HP once again and if no damage was taken, put the right food in its inventory. It should be tamed very shortly after, with the maximum taming effectiveness granted by the food given.
This method is helpful, especially on a PVP server where people can hurt an unconscious creature or steal the food placed in its inventory, which would decrease taming effectiveness, making you lose time and end up with a much weaker creature or no creature at all.
It also helps if you failed to keep it unconscious. Indeed, its Food level will have decreased and is not restored to full when it wakes up, so you will just have to knock it out again to resume the taming process. This is the same idea if you notice that it took damage at some point, just let it wake up, then knock it out again.
Passive taming method
Passive taming is probably different than what you think it is. It only means that YOU will not harm the creature, but it does not mean that the creature will not harm you in the process. In fact, a good part of the passively tamed creatures are either aggressive or skittish, making taming pens a necessity. You will not need to knock-out anything and will not have to use any narcotics.
There are two categories of passive taming methods: the standard passive method, and all the different unique ones.
Standard passive taming method
This is quite a straightforward process. You just have to put the right taming food in the last slot of your hotbar, get close enough so that a message appears telling you to feed the creature and press E to feed it. After it has eaten a piece of food, you need to wait for it to be hungry enough to eat another one, and repeat the process above until the creature is tamed. The interval between the first and the second feed is always quite long, and longer than the rest of the intervals.
It is advised to know the temperament of the creature beforehand as this will determine if you have to hide or be extra careful during the taming process.
Araneo, Arthropleura, Chalicotherium, Dung Beetle, Electrophorus, Giant Queen Bee, Gigantopithecus, Manta, Mantis, Onyc
Basilosaurus, Bulbdog, Diplodocus, Featherlight, Glowtail, Ichthyosaurus, Liopleurodon*, Lystrosaurus, Moschops, Ovis, Shinehorn, Vulture**
* = Will attack if approached on a tamed creature
** = Will attack if close to a corpse
For aggressive creatures, you have to stay out of sight. You can crouch, wear Ghillie Suits and consume Cactus Broth to help reduce their aggro range. Bug Repellant can also help for some of the creatures as it also helps reduce greatly the aggro range unless touched (Araneo, Arthropleura, Dung Beetle, Giant Queen Bee, Manta, Mantis and Onyc).
Unique passive taming methods
The rest of the passively tamed creatures requires a specific taming process. As previously, you need to know the temperament of the creature before attempting to tame it, as it will make it much easier.
Basilisk, Hesperornis, Pegomastax, Titanoboa, Troodon, Tusoteuthis
Otter, Roll Rat*
Equus, Hyaenodon, Phoenix
* = Will attack if you steal its gems
Those creatures will have dedicated guides on the website as they are tamed in a unique way. As I post new guides, I will update this table with the corresponding links.