Its razor-sharp sharp claws can behead you with a single swipe. It’s armed with teeth that will pierce your skin like a knife through soft butter. You’re face to face with a hungry killing machine that’s almost entirely made of muscle. You understandably lost control of your bladder, and you’re about to realize that’s one of the worst things you could’ve done.
If this deadly predator corners you, here are the other mistakes you need to avoid so you don’t become its dinner. Weighing 227 kg (500 lb) and measuring almost 3 m (10 ft) from the head to the tip of their tail, tigers are the biggest cats out there. They’re extraordinary hunters. Once they set their eyes on you, it’s game on. In the Sundarbans, a forest region of India and Bangladesh, tigers kill up to 250 people every year.
They’ve pulled them from their homes while they slept, dragged them from boats and even jumped to grab them out of trees. These felines can climb. Why are sick cats more dangerous? Could you outrun a tiger? How could raising your hands save your life?
Number 5. Don’t Run
When a massive, angry tiger confronts you, running to safety might be your first instinct. That’s not going to help you here. As soon as you start running, you’ve practically sealed your fate. While you’d reach a maximum speed of 10 km/h (6 mph), a tiger sprints at speeds of 65 km/h (40 mph). Not even Usain Bolt would win this race, let alone you.
Number 4. Don’t Approach an Injured Cat
Injured animals might look helpless, but that’s not the case for tigers. A sick feline can be desperate for food, and attacking slower, more attainable prey like you could be perfect. In the early 1900s, a Bengal tiger that killed 436 people in rural regions of India and Nepal gained the title of the Man-Eater of Champawat. The police and military were called on to take down the killer, but it eluded them for seven years. It took a bounty hunter with a shotgun and more than 300 villagers hitting drums and firing guns into the air to spook the animal into the open to end the reign of terror.
This predator had developed a particular taste for people for a reason. It suffered from dental issues, so eating animals with thick fur or a heavy hide would have been painful. Habitation loss forced it to come into contact with thin-skinned, slow-moving humans. The animal made them its favorite meal.
Number 3. Don’t Disturb Moms
They might be small, fluffy and cute, but these creatures are the most dangerous thing you could run into out in the wild. If you’ve spotted tiger cubs, you’re already in big trouble. Their mom won’t hesitate to fiercely protect her babies. Standing so close, you are considered a threat. You’ll want to keep your eyes open for a tiger’s offspring while in its territory and stay as far away from them as possible.
Number 2. Hold It In
Facing a fierce animal having a bad day can be pretty scary, but no matter what you do, don’t pee your pants. Tigers are territorial and they use their urine to mark their turf. If you have an accident in their dominion, they’ll take it as a sign of aggression and perceive you as an unwanted invader they need to get rid of.
Number 1. Don’t Lay Low
Crouching to the ground can make a tiger mistake you for a deer or warthog, two of its favorite meals. Instead, you should make yourself appear bigger by raising your arms in the air while waving your hands and making as much noise as you can. You might look like an idiot to humans while you do this, but it could be enough to make a tiger think twice about messing with you.
These aren’t the only deadly felines out there. Every year, house cats, just like the one you have on your lap, are accountable for 66,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. alone.
- “Iconic Cats: All 9 Subspecies Of Tigers“. 2010. Livescience.Com.
- “Tiger Guide | BBC Wildlife Magazine | Discover Wildlife“. Discoverwildlife.Com.
- “Tigers Kill People A Lot More Often Than You Think“. 2015. Vice.Com.
- “Tiger Kills Zurich Zookeeper In Front Of Visitors And Staff“. 2022. BBC News.
- “9 Of The World’S Deadliest Mammals“. 2022. Encyclopedia Britannica.