24 BIGGEST Man-Eaters Throughout History

Written by: Annemarie Dutton
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While humans reign supreme at the top of the food chain, sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted.

When an animal starts hunting humans as part of their regular hunting behavior, they are referred to as man-eaters. Some of the more fierce man-eaters in history killed and injured several hundred people.

We’ve taken a look at the 24 biggest man-eaters in history.

You can get the summary of them in the infographic below, and the full story of each of them further down.

Key Facts:

  • The biggest man-eater in history was the Champawat Tiger, killing 436 people.
  • 12 of the 24 biggest man-eaters in history came from India, with a death toll of 1052 people.
  • France was the second country that housed the most man-eaters in history with 4 out of 24 coming from there. That came with a death toll of 175 – all from wolves.
  • The animal with the most amount of people killed was leopards. Over 5 man-eating incidents, these leopards killed 720 people.

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The Champawat Tiger – With an Estimated 436 Deaths

This Bengal tiger was also known as the Demon of Champawat. The Champawat Tiger was, in fact, a tigress. She was a ferocious nightmare for the locals in Nepal and the Kumaon Division of India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

This man-eater was so ferocious that she evaded hunters that were sent to kill her sometime after beginning her attacks in Rupal. She was only forced to abandon her territory after the Nepalese army and other local hunters organized a patrol in the area after failing to capture or kill her.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Reports show that this man-eating Bengal tiger started her killing spree in Rupal village, Western Nepal. She had killed about 200 men and women before deciding to abandon Nepal for India. After her “exile” from Nepal, she moved to a new territory in the Northern part of India in the area now called Uttarakhand. 

This man-eater was so efficient that she adjusted her tactics to evade her pursuers by traveling great distances, as much as 30.5 km per day, to get new victims. 

She was, however, killed in 1907 by the British hunter, Jim Corbett. He nearly lost his life to the tigress in a near-ambush attempt while investigating the remains of her unfortunate victim, 16-year-old Premka Devi, in Fungar village. But he was able to scare her off with two shots from his rifle.

Corbett later had to organize a beat in the Champa River gorge. With the help of about 300 villagers who joined forces to organize the beat, Corbett shot the tigress dead at noon the next day. 

He shot three bullets into the tigress. He shot the first bullet into the tigress’ chest and the second into her shoulder. He was out of bullets as the wounded man-eater charged at him. 

He took the Tehsildar’s rifle and shot at the tigress. The bullet he shot from the Tehsildar’s rifle was the bullet that killed the tigress. 

The examination of the tigress after Corbett killed her revealed the probable reason she preferred humans to natural prey in the jungle: although she was in good health, the post-mortem examination revealed that her right upper and lower canine teeth were broken.

The wounds, which likely resulted from a gunshot wound, probably prevented her from hunting natural prey. So she chose to hunt humans who were easier to hunt.

The Leopard of Panar – With an Estimated 400 Kills

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Leopard of Panar was as dangerous as that. It was a male leopard that lived in the 20th century. It killed over 400 humans, a record second only to the Champawat tiger’s estimated kills. 

The Panar Leopard started feasting on the humans that lived in the jungle during the cholera plague. During the period, food was scarce in the territory, but he survived on the corpses of humans that littered the jungle. 

These human corpses were the result of the cholera outbreak during the period. The leopard consequently developed a taste for human flesh, and when the cholera plague ended, he naturally began to hunt humans as his food supply was cut short.

Hunters made many attempts to kill the Panar man-eater, but he was too skillful to be trapped. He was also very stealthy and was usually only seen during an attack when it was already too late.

Jim Corbett, the famous British hunter, was the hunter who ended this cat’s reign of terror. It was a near-death experience. He first attempted to kill the Panar man-eater in April 1910, but he failed. 

He tracked the leopard to the house of a man whose daughter had just fallen victim to the leopard. He spent all night with the man listening to the alarm calls of the jackals in the dark, which was the signal for the circling leopard.

But Jim Corbett was successful in his second attempt in September 1910. He tracked the leopard to a village where it had recently killed four men. 

He lured the leopard with two goats. He first tied one to the tree and laid in wait. He came to take the goat and disappeared into the night. Corbett used the second goat as bait three days later, and the leopard came for it. 

Following the sounds made by the leopard and the faint bleating of the goat, he shot but only wounded the leopard.

He lined up his men with torches. Corbett made them promise not to run so that he could have enough light to spot and shoot the leopard. 

But the men ran away once the cat charged at Corbett from the dead of the night. 

Luckily for Corbett, the light from a dropped torch was enough for him to see the leopard. He shot the Leopard of Panar in the chest. 

The leopard was reputed to have killed over 400 people in the Panar Region of Almora, Kumaon.

Gustave – With an Estimated 300 Kills

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rumored to have eaten over 300 people, Gustave is another grim man-eater that sends shivers down the spine. He is a male Nile Crocodile from Burundi. Gustavo is said to have killed over 300 individuals in the Ruzizi rivers and Lake Tanganyika.

He is a vicious man-eater and is reported by the natives to have a penchant for killing for fun and food. He was named by the French naturalist Patrice Faye who spent a great deal of his life trying to capture the monster. 

Various stories about the Nile croc have begun to make him seem like a legend. Some locals say he has an insatiable appetite. He is rumored to have devoured a hippo once, an animal that crocodiles would usually avoid. 

Many attempts to kill the croc have failed. But they have left him with numerous scars as a testament to his defiance of the fate that humans wish him. Scars on his armor body include bullet wounds, spear marks, and knife scars. He is rumored to have been shot three times before, but he somehow survived the wounds.

He is reported to be remarkably cunning. Gustave is said to have steered clear of hunters and cages immersed in the water designed to catch him. 

Patrice Faye no longer wants to capture him but to preserve him from retaliation by other humans. There were rumors that he had died, but no concrete proof was provided to support the rumors.

An enclosure has been built in the Ruzizi National Park for the capture of Gustave, but Gustave is probably still at large, enjoying the wild. And there is hardly any chance that he will ever be captured.

Devilish Cunning Panther – With an Estimate of Over 150 Kills

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The devilish cunning panther was a male in the Central Provinces of British India. It was reported to have killed over 150 in the Central province during the early 21st century.

This man-eating panther was rumored to attack and kill victims once every 2-3 days. Part of its killing behavior was attacking and killing in a different area from the last village he attacked. The reported distance between its kills was about 32-48 km apart.

However, an unidentified British hunter wanted to track and kill him. He set out for the panther after receiving reports of recent attacks in two villages.

He kept moving camp in search of this man-eater until a boy came to tell him that the panther had dragged his brother away while they were tending to their cattle.

The hunter stationed himself on a tree at 14:00, waiting for the panther to return to the boy’s corpse. The cunning cat returned at night, but the hunter could not get a clear shot. 

He attempted to startle the leopard into coming out in the open to get a clear shot, but the attempt also failed. The villagers were alerted by the shots he fired in the air, and he advised them to leave the area. 

The hunter slept off but woke up at 1:00 am to find the panther scratching at the foot of the tree. The man-eater left and returned a few hours later to finish the meal. The hunter tried to track the panther after sunrise with the hope that it was still in the area but gave up after searching within a mile.

After some days, the hunter camped 10 miles further, hoping for more success but was awoken the next night by the sounds of the panther scratching right outside his tent. 

The clamoring of the villagers chased it away. 

Three days later, the panther was killed when it charged at the goats of a Gond farmer. It died from the impact of a projectile shot from a gas pipe. 

From the post-mortem, there was no indication of a dental injury that triggered this cat to prefer humans to natural prey. Its skin and fur were also in good condition, unlike the skin of an infirm or old leopard. 

The conclusion of the hunter was, therefore, that the panther had likely been fed human flesh as a cub which led to the appetite for human flesh.

Tsavo Man-Eaters – With a Reported Estimate of 135 Kills

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It all started sometime in March 1898 in the Kenyan Tsavo region of Kenya. Dozens of railway workers on the Kenya-Ugandan railway began to disappear at night when a pair of man-eating lions were boldly hunting them for food.

As part of the effort to link Uganda with the Indian ocean at Kilindini Harbor, Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson led a project to construct a railway bridge over the Tsavo River. The construction site spanned some 13 km, where the construction workers spread their camps. 

Over the following 9 months before their deaths, two Tsavo lions turned the campsites into their hunting ground and dragged men out of their tents almost every night to devour them. 

After several months of respite, the maneless Tsavo lions returned with more boldness. This time, they hunted daily as the attacks intensified.

Several attempts to scare off these beasts proved futile. As the attacks continued, hundreds of workers began to flee Tsavo, and the colonial officials intervened since their enterprise was halted.

Eventually, around 20 Sepoys and other colonial officials arrived to assist in the hunt for these Tsavo man-eating lions. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to trap and ambush the lions, Lt. Col. Patterson killed the first Tsavo lion on 9 December 1898. 

He shot the first lion in its hind leg. The lion initially escaped with the injury but returned at night to have its revenge on Patterson. It stalked Patterson as Patterson was trying to hunt it. This time, Patterson penetrated his heart through his shoulder with a shot from a powerful rifle.

The following day, the lion was found dead not far from Patterson’s platform.

Almost 3 weeks later, the second lion was finally killed. Patterson first shot the lion from a platform he built near a goat killed by the lion. He shot the lion twice again 11 days later as it was stalking him. The lion was trying to flee, but Patterson found it the next day and crippled the beast with 3 more shots. He finished the lion off with another 3 shots, two in the chest and one in the head. 

Patteson claimed that the lions were responsible for about 135 victims. But modern researcher and zoologist Bruce Patterson (unrelated to Lt. Col. Patterson) and his team put the estimated kill at a far lesser number. Their chemical test of the lions’ remains puts the kills at 10 people for one and about 24 for the other. This is a total of about 34 victims.

Leopard of Rudraprayag – With over 125 kills

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The jungles of India are known to inhabit some of the most adaptable wild cats. The Leopard of Rudraprayag was one of those adaptive man-eating cats. 

Its killing spree began in Benji village, in Rudraprayag district, in 1918, where it killed its first victim. People were afraid to use the road to the Hindu shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath as it passed through the leopard’s territory. 

The leopard preferred human flesh to natural prey so much that it would go the extra mile to get its victims. It was reported to break down doors and claw through the mud walls of huts to drag out its victims. 

After several failed attempts by the Gurkha soldiers, British soldiers, and other reputed local hunters to kill the leopard, Jim Corbett decided to hunt and kill the ferocious man-hunter in 1925. 

He hunted the leopard for 4 and a half weeks. He finally killed the leopard on 2 May 1926. Official documents report that the leopard killed about 125 people. But Jim Corbett, who killed the leopard, puts the number higher as many “survivors” died indirectly from the severe injuries inflicted by the tiger and many kills were unreported.

In his book MAN-EATERS OF KUMAON, Corbett argues that the unburied corpses that followed the disease epidemics were why this leopard and the earlier Panar leopards became man-eaters. They most likely had a taste of human flesh, and when their natural supply of prey was cut short, the option they were left with was to hunt humans for food.

Beast of Gévaudan – With over 113 Kills

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Reports of the beast’s description vary greatly because victims and eyewitnesses exaggerated their testimonies due to public hysteria. But the beast was generally described as a canine wolf with a long head, a flattened snout, pointed ears, a flat chest, and a wide mouth. 

It started its killing spree in 1764. Its official victim was Jeanne Boulet, a 14-year-old girl near the village of Les Hubacs, near Langogne. It continued to ravage the region throughout the year, attacking lone victims. It was reported to have a habit of targeting the victim’s head or neck regions.

By the year’s end, there were numerous varying reports about the beast. Some claimed to have seen it with another of its kind, while others claimed to have seen it with its young. These varied reports were due to the many attacks in the region.

Later, the beast unsuccessfully attacked 10-year-old Jacques Portefaix and his seven friends, who repelled the attack by staying together. King Louis XV rewarded Portefaix and his friends for repelling the attack and decreed that the state would rid the region of the beast.

Captain Duhamel of the Clermont Prince Dragoons and his men were sent to kill the beast. But their efforts were frustrated by the non-cooperation of the local herders and farmers. Duhamel was forced to stand down after Louis XV sent two expert wolf hunters; father and son D’Enneval. 

They reached Clermont-Ferrand on 17 February 1765 with their 8 wolf hunting bloodhounds. They hunted wolves indiscriminately for the next four months, but the attacks continued. Soon enough, they were replaced in 1965 by François Antoine, the king’s arquebus bearer and lieutenant of the hunt. 

By late September, Antoine had killed an abnormally large grey wolf which was believed to be the beast as its size was abnormally huge. Many survivors corroborated this fact with the marks of the injuries they inflicted on the beast. The carcass was stuffed and sent to the Versailles.

Antoine chased down the beast’s female partner and her pups. He killed the female wolf and a pup bigger than its mother. The pup was reported to have a double set of dewclaws. The deformity was a hereditary malformation found in the Bas-Rouge dog breed.

 He believed the second pup died while retreating to the woods after being shot. Antoine went back to Paris to receive a handsome sum of money and many other rewards for his feat.

Reports of fresh unsuccessful attacks emerged on 2 December 1765. Soon after, other reports of successful attacks followed, suggesting that the beast was still alive. Jean Chastel finally ended the beast’s killing spree on 19 June 1767.

Tigers of Chowgarh – With over 50 Kills

These man-eating tigers were a pair of Bengal tigers, an old tigress, and her coming-of-age cub. She initially hunted alone but was later assisted by the younger tiger. It killed its first victim sometime between the 15th and 16th of December 1925.

Jim Corbett was called upon to kill the tigers. He reached the village where the last victim had just been killed. The victim’s mother offered Corbett three buffaloes in addition to his four to use as bait.

Corbett set out to the next village where the tigers had recently carried out their last attack; Dalkania. At midday, he left for the valley where the tigers were heard calling. By noon the next day, Corbett met a cattle grazer who told him that the tiger had taken a cow the previous night. He tracked the tigers to a ravine, where he found them eating the dead cow. Corbett fired and shot the younger tiger. The tigress bolted away. 

The reports of successful attacks diminished after Corbett killed the cub. The tigress was unable to finish off the victims herself. Corbett used the four buffaloes as bait, but for 10 days, the buffaloes were untouched. On the 11th day, the tiger attacked a woman 0.8km away. Corbett dressed her wounds and tied a bait goat on a nearby tree, but the tigress did not return to take it. 

72 hours later, Corbett was informed of a successful attack in a nearby village, 8 km to the South of Dalkania. After unsuccessful attempts to track the tiger, he left the village but promised to come back.

Corbett returned in February the next year to Dalkania. He baited a buffalo in the forest near the village. He shot two tigers that accepted the bait but realized that they were not the man-eaters he was after. He left again, for an important event.

Later on 22 March 1930, Corbett was assigned to Kala Agar and made another unsuccessful attempt. But on 11 April 1930, Corbett and two other men baited two buffaloes near an area where a victim had been killed. His comrades rushed to him as he positioned himself to inform him that they had heard the tigress calling nearby. Corbett came face to face with the tigress and shot her to death. 

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The Leopard of Gummalapur – With an estimated 42 Kills

This man-eating cat was also known as the Spotted evil of Gummalapur. It was responsible for the death of 42 persons in the villages of Gummalapur and Devarabetta in the Tamil Nadu state. 

Out of frustration, the leopard began to claw at the hatched walls and roofs of the huts since the villagers had stopped venturing into the forest.

It was reported to have entered one hut where it killed all four people. Its reign of terror was cut short by Kennet Anderson, an Indian hunter and writer.

The first time he set out to hunt the leopard, at the request of the Magistrate, the villagers offered no help as they believed that if they helped him, they would incur the wrath of the leopard.

The hunt was fruitless. Anderon set himself on a chair in front of a high wall covered in thorns to prevent an ambush from the leopard. He coughed loudly and talked to himself in an attempt to attract the leopard. It did not work. But his overnight monologue made the villagers much more cooperative, as they believed he was conversing with the spirit all night long.

The next hunt was unsuccessful as it almost cost Anderson his life. He lent a hut, placed a lifelike dummy in it, and hid behind a pile of boxes waiting for the leopard. It did not come. But the next night, Anderson dashed into the jungle after waking up, towards the growls of the leopard.

Anderson soon realized that the leopard would not strike Gummalapur again for a long while. He then journeyed to Devarabetta, where there had been a recent attack from the leopard. He stationed himself as he did during the first hunt, but closer to the jungle this time. Anderson was approached by a hungry pariah dog, which he fed. 

But later in the night, the dog woke up and exhibited signs of fear. Anderson saw the leopard climbing over a roof but lost sight of it in the dark. After some minutes, the dog’s presence alerted Anderson, who turned and saw the leopard charge at him. He shot three rounds from his gun and killed the leopard.

The Wolf of Soissons – With an estimated 18 Kills

This man-eating wolf wreaked havoc for only 2 days in 1765. It attacked a total of 18 people. It killed 14, while the other 4 died due to the severe wounds they sustained. 

The wolf began its killing spree on the last day of February when it killed a pregnant woman in the parish of Septmont. The wolf attacked less than 1km from its initial place of attack. Madame d’Amberief and her son had to fight the beast together to survive.

On 1 March, the wolf attacked a man near the hamlet of Courcelles. He survived with head wounds. Many other victims followed. Some survived, and many others were scarred and maimed by the beast. 

The wolf subsequently moved to Bazoches, where it continued to wreak havoc. It decapitated a woman and severely injured a girl who ran to the village screaming for help. A group of 4 brave citizens set an ambush for the beast at the scene of its latest attack. But the wolf was too much for them to handle.

However, when more peasants arrived, the wolf escaped. But they chased it into a courtyard where the wolf met and fought with a chained hound. The chain broke, and the wolf was chased into a pasture, where it killed some sheep. It then went into a stable where it mutilated a servant and some cattle.

Antoine Sarverelle, an ex-local militia, tracked the wolf. He was armed with a pitchfork. He found the beast and managed to pin it down to the ground with the pitchfork. Antoine held the best down for 15 minutes before another armed peasant came to finish off the animal. Louis XV of France rewarded Antoine with 300 lives for his bravery.

The Wolves of Turku – With an Estimated 22 Kills

The Turku man-eaters were three man-eating wolves responsible for the deaths of about 22 children in 1880/81. These Kirov wolves hunted men in the 9 districts of the Kirov Oblast of the Russian Federative Socialist Republic.

They were such a threat to the safety of the children that the local and National governments enlisted Russian and Lithuanian hunters. They also enlisted the help of the army. 

The old female among the trio was shot on 12 January 1882. 12 days later, another of the wolves was poisoned. This ended the attacks as the third wolf became submissive and disappeared.

The Wolves of Kirov – With an Estimated 22 Kills

The most painful part of these wolf attacks is that children were the prime victims of these man-eating canids. The attacks started during World War II as the wolf population grew. Their courage to come close to humans was probably a consequence of the conscription of many Kirov hunters into the red army for the war effort.

Their diminished natural food supply was also another likely reason they became fearless. They were sighted everywhere, even in the parks and lying in the streets till daybreak.

Their first attack was in 1944. They attacked and carried off a child into the forest by the wolves in Buracovskii. The child was rescued by a peasant but soon, other attacks followed, and they were successful. A series of horrific reports followed about wolves tearing up children in the forest.

These attacks continued in a systematic fashion – the wolves grew bolder and bolder, even attacking villages several times in broad daylight. The last recorded attacks were in 1953 and 1954. In 1953, in Sergeitsi, Belskiy district, a child, Sasha Grachev, was grabbed by a wolf in the playground. The wolf dragged him 300 meters before he could grab a stick to free himself from the wolf’s jaws. He then ran home. 

There was also another report of a wolf attacking three people in the Spring of 1954 in the Urzhumskiy district.

The Beast of Sarlat – With an Estimated 18 Kills

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The beast of Sarlat (Bete feroce de Sarlat) was a famous man eater in central France. Its existence came to light in 1766 with its peculiarity of killing and attacking grown men only. It usually stood on its hind legs to get a piece of the face and neck of its prey. It killed about 18 people in the surrounding area of the Perigord Noir, Dordogne, a province of France. 

During this time, the people were scared of the talk of this gigantic beast on a killing spree thirsty for human blood. After much speculation, it was finally identified as a wolf carrying rabies. The beast of Sarlat hunted at night, causing fear for people that lived in the area. After some time, even braver people dared not go out during nightfall.

After a while, Monsieur Dubex de Descamps, a burgher of Saint-Julien, headed up a hunting party consisting of a group of lords and peasants who had sipped from the cup of courage and decided to hunt down this man-eater. They took over a hundred rifles and began to fight. At long last, the beast was spotted, pursued, and shot. Many people were present to witness this beast’s death and be rid of their fears.

Although the beast was killed and many witnessed its death, it became a legend for the people of Sarlat and its region. Today, people still believe that the beast of Sarlat was a werewolf.

The Wolves of Ashta – Estimated Kills 17

Six Indian wolves made up the legendary wolves of Ashta. These six wolves comprised two adult males, one adult female, one sub-adult female, and two pups. This pack of wolves killed up to 17 children in Ashta, Madhya Pradesh, from 1985 to 1986. They ignited much fear among the people living in the area, to the extent that farmers were too afraid to leave their abodes, and children couldn’t go to school.

Due to their ferociousness, it was rumored that these man-eaters were not wolves but Shaitans (devils or demons). The helplessness of parents and the continuous deaths of children made a group of hunters and government officials rise to the challenge of getting rid of the wolves of Ashta.

The first strategy of getting rid of these wolves failed. However, subsequent strategies to eliminate these wolves were a huge success. The first female wolf that died was baited with her two pups and immediately killed by the Pardhis when she fell into the trap. A hunter of Bhopal killed another male wolf by the name of Hafiz-ur-Rahman (Shahzade) at the request of a farmer whose lamb was killed and was rewarded 2,000 Rs. 

The other female wolf died at the hands of Yadav. He was contacted by Achan Mian, a mango farmer who lived outside the village of Khadi. The last male wolf was killed by a group of men (Yaddav, Ram Singh, Naqvi, and a judge named Siddique).

Pardhi tribesmen later adopted the other two pups that completed the pack, marking the last anyone saw of the wolves of Ashta.

Tigress of Jowlagiri – with an Estimated 15 kills

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The Tigress of Jowlagiri was a man-eating animal that single-handedly killed more than a dozen people. The tigress called around the vicinity of Jowlagiri Forest Range after losing her mate to a poacher. A week after the death of her mate, Jack Leonard, a young hunter, shot her in the shoulder. However, the next time she was heard of was after she killed a boy of sixteen picking fruits in the village of Sulekunta.

She hunted from the areas extending Jowlagiri in the extreme north to Gundalam, about 30 miles to the south, and from the borders of Mysore State to the west. 

By the time she had killed more people, Kenneth Anderson had to hunt her again. He tracked her for days from Jowlagiri to Sulekunta, Gundalam, and Anchetty. Anderson missed killing her on their first encounter, and the tigress escaped wounded once again, with her ear shot off.

Finally, Anderson tricked the tigress into coming to the temple at Sulenkuta by mimicking the calls. He recognized her with her missing ear and shot her in the forehead and back of the neck. She met her end there.

It seemed as though she went on a killing spree out of vengeance for her mate.

The Wolves of HazaribaghEstimated 13 Kills

The Wolves of Hazaribagh consisted of five wolves that surfaced from February to August of 1981. These wolves terrorized the area ranging around 2.7 square miles (7 square km). They often hunted around Hazaribagh town in the eastern Indian district of Bihar. They took the life of thirteen defenseless children below the age of ten (4 – 10 years old). 

There are speculations about what attracted this pack of man-eating wolves to the vicinity of Hazaribagh. It is said that they were drawn to the area because of the rubbish dump. The rubbish dump comprised majorly of the carcasses from livestock and humans from the local mortuary. There were also the additions of golden jackals, pariah dogs, and striped hyenas.

The first attack happened on 15 February 1981, when a young boy was attacked. The villagers heard his cries for help, and the wolf was beaten to death with wooden poles. With one down, the remaining three wolves raided the village over six months, with 13 killed and 13 injured people.

Another incident some people witnessed was these wolves eating a human corpse. These incidents frightened residents around the area, which attracted hunters to get rid of them. Later in the same year, three were killed, with one still on the loose. However, not long after, the last one, who was speculated to be the alpha male, was trapped in a scrub forest and shot.

Wolf of Gysinge – Estimated 12 Kills

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The Wolf of Gysinge was different from the regular wolf that rarely attacked humans in their settlements. This wolf was captured as a pup for a few years. This was likely the reason for its numerous attacks on humans. Tired of being domesticated, it escaped and began to hunt humans. 

The reign of the Wolf of Gysinge was a frightening time for people living in this area of Sweden. It was solely responsible for attacking about 31 people, 12 killed and 19 injured. It was clever, as it preyed on defenseless and weak humans. Hence, most of its victims were minors under the age of twelve.

The humans reported dead were found partially eaten by this wolf. It managed all of these attacks in a short amount of time (almost three months). These accounts make the Wolf of Gysinge the deadliest wolf in the world.

It was killed on 27 March 1821 with no details about how it met its end. But it is easy to guess that they used firearms.

This prompted all wolves in Sweden to be hunted to extinction to avoid any reoccurrence of the terror experienced.

Sloth Bear of Mysore – Estimated Kill of 12 People and a Dozen Injured

The Sloth bear of Mysore was an aggressive Indian Sloth bear that killed about 12 people and injured about 24 others in 1957. A regular sloth bear is harmless, but this specific bear was a black sheep that carried the mark of Cain. It murdered several men savagely without any provocation or cause.

The bear started attacking from Nagvara Hills, east of Arsikere town and 105 miles northwest of Bangalore in Mysore State. It settled in the many boulder-strewn hillocks to forage the fields from where it came down. Later on, it began harassing people during the day and at night. 

This unusual behavior portrayed by the sloth bear made some natives in the vicinity deduce that the bear was a female. Hence, she was on a revenge mission on humanity for stealing her cubs. Others didn’t agree with this motive and thought it was a male. They said this male kidnapped a young girl for his mate, but the villagers rescued her. This angered the male sloth bear and caused it to take out its anger on humans. However, Kenneth Anderson thought that these scenarios were far from reality. He believed that the sloth bear sustained a previous injury from humans, which altered its behavior.

The sloth bear attacked its victims with its claws and teeth. Those who died had their faces removed entirely from their heads, while those who survived lost one or both eyes, their noses, or had their cheek bitten through. This was the cruel manner in which the sloth bear finished off its victims.

The third time was the charm in the hunt for this bear, after failing to catch it with two previous planned searches. Anderson killed the bear with a shot to its heart.

Tiger of Mundachipallam – Estimated Kill of 7 People

The Tiger of Mundachipallam was a male Bengel tiger that ate humans in the 1950s. It is estimated to have killed about 7 people around Pennagram village, about four miles from the Hogenakkal Falls in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. While unprovoked attacks killed its first three victims, the later victims were mauled and devoured.

Its first victim was an ignorant fisherman who disturbed it while mating on the banks of the Mundachipallam river. Afterward, it killed a woodcutter for an offense we know nothing about. The first victim to be eaten was a woman gathering fruits who was killed two months later. Three more people were killed subsequently by the 7th milestone of Ghat Road, the banks of the Chinar river, and a mile from the village of Ootaimalai, respectively.

The killing of innocent people couldn’t go on forever. So, Kenneth Anderson was called to hunt down the Tiger of Mundachipallam. There were various attempts to hunt down the tiger, but the tiger was smart enough to evade these traps and continued its killing spree. Anderson and his group tried to hunt down the tiger three times, but they failed. 

However, it wasn’t so lucky on the fourth hunt attempt. That fateful day, Anderson, Brya, Ranga, and Sowree entered the jungle after being alerted of its presence by a group that had lost one of their members to the tiger.

Still feeding on the victim’s body, the Tiger of Mundachipallam was caught unaware and shot in the neck, paralyzing it. A shot to the heart from Anderson was how the tiger eventually died.

Sankebetsu Brown Bear – Estimated Kill of 7 People and Many Injured

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Sankebetsu brown bear incident is also referred to as the Rokusensawa bear attack or the Tomamae brown bear incident. It occurred from December 9th to 14th, 1915. This incident marked the worst bear attack to ever occur in the history of Japan. During this incident, seven settlers were killed from Rokusensawa, Sankebetsu, Tomamae, Rumoi, and Hokkaido, and many others were injured.

The attacks were made by a large brown bear who had just woken from hibernation and decided to hunt within houses. The bear ate the people’s winter food, stocked, ransacked their homes, and fed on the weak humans. Besides killing people, injuring them, and stealing their food, it also damaged at least eight houses.

On December 14th, a group of people found the bear’s footprint and blood. Due to the imminent snowstorms, they decided to strike then. They set out to catch the bear and spread out in a team. 

Yamamoto Heikichi, an expert bear hunter, believed that the bear was an individual known as Kesagake. He found the bear resting near a Japanese oak and shot the bear from about 20 meters away. The first shot went straight to the bear’s heart, and the second shot hit its head. 

This marked the end of its existence.

When measured after its death, the bear was 340 kg (749 lbs) and 2.7 m (8.85 ft) tall.

Mfuwe Man-Eating Lion – Killed 6 People

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Mfuwe lion was one of the largest man-eating lions in history. It stood at over 10 feet in length and 500 pounds in mass. 

The first reported incident happened on a night when two boys were walking on the road. One of the boys escaped, and this was how the identity of the Mfuwe lion was revealed. On getting to the scene, the game rangers found only pieces of clothing and part of the other boy’s skull.

Another attack occurred at the village edge. This time the lion broke through the door of an adult woman’s hut to feed on her. The lion didn’t devour the third victim due to a game scout’s intervention, but the little boy died due to his severe injuries. There were three other victims along the line. The Mfuwe lion ate six humans around Mfuwe, the valley’s main settlement.

Initially, the lack of mane made people believe a lioness was making the killing. Then, a Japanese hunter came and killed the lioness that was suspected. However, a few days later, the man-eater lion entered a woman’s hut and stole her laundry bag. It took the bag into the village and roared over it. The sound made it clear that it was a male lion.

The villagers believed that an ordinary lion did not make the killings at this rate. They thought that it was done by the devil or a medicine man taking the form of a lion.

The Mfuwe man-eater was killed by a Californian hunter named Wayne Hosek. Two professional hunters had tried to kill this man-eating lion before Hosek, but none had succeeded. However, in 1991 at the Luangwa River Valley in Zambia, Hosek the American killed the lion.

Jersey Shore Shark Attacks of 1916 – 4 Killed

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Jersey Shore shark attacks were a combination of shark attacks in 1926 along New Jersey’s coast in the United States. The attacks lasted from July 1st till the 16th and recorded four deaths and one injured. At this time, America was battling the polio epidemic and a deadly summer heatwave. The combination of the polio epidemic and the summer heatwave drove many people to the seaside resort of Jersey Shore.

The first attack happened on the first day in July at Beach Haven. 28-year-old Charles Epting Vansant from Philadelphia was on vacation with his family when a shark attacked him during his swim before dinner. His left thigh was severed, and he bled to death on the manager’s table.

On the sixth day in July, the second attack happened at Spring Lake, 45 miles north of Beach Haven. 27-year-old Charles Bruder was attacked while swimming 130 yards from the shore. A shack bit his abdomen and bit off his legs. He bled to death, after being rescued, on the way to the shore.

The following two attacks happened in Matawan Creek near Keyport town on the twelfth day in July. A group of local boys and a pet dog were playing in the creek. They ran when they saw a shark in the water creek, but 11-year-old Lester Stilwell was pulled back underwater. Several men came to investigate the cries for help from the boys that escaped. 

They dived into the creek to find Stilwell, not believing the boys’ story. Waston Stanley Fisher, a local businessman, was part of the rescue team, and he located Stilwell’s body. However, the shark also attacked him, and he lost the boy’s body. Fisher’s thigh was seriously injured, and he bled to death at the hospital. Two days later, Stilwell’s body was found 150 feet upstream from the Wyckoff dock.

The last victim was 14-year-old Joseph Dunn from New York City. He was attacked a half-mile from the Wyckoff dock 30 minutes after Fisher and Stilwell’s attacks. Dunn’s left leg was bitten, but his brother immediately rescued him after a tug-of-war battle with the shark. He was rushed to the hospital, treated, and released two months later.

These incidents marked the beginning of America’s fear of sharks. Many scientists began speculating the species of shark involved in the attacks. 

The Leopard of Yelagiri Hills3 Killed

This was a man-eating Indian leopard in a crescent of hills east of the Jalarpet junction railway on the Southern railway. Kenneth Anderson killed the beast. 

It originally started killing only the cows of Nathan, a herdsman. It killed about four of Nathan’s cows in four months. It proceeded to kill the cows of two other herders in the village. Later, the herders moved their cattle to another village. 

The leopard tracked the herd but was always shoved off by the herders until one day when the hunger and frustration got the best of him. He killed a cow in front of the herders despite their efforts to intimidate it. The herders sought the help of an inexperienced forester, Ramu, to deal with the carnivore. 

Ramu baited a goat and waited for the leopard. He was able to shoot the leopard, but its carcass was not found the following morning.

Two months later, the leopard returned to the area to exact vengeance. It started its killing spree when it attempted to maul a 16-year-old. The young boy fought it with a stick and was able to escape. Three weeks later, it killed a herder trying to defend his flock. The villagers informed Kenneth Anderson and sought his help. 

Anderson agreed to take the leopard down. His first attempt was unsuccessful. He returned to Banglore but as to be informed if the leopard struck again. The Leopard finished off a mail carrier seven weeks later, and Anderson was alerted. He left Banglore and soon met with the villagers. He swung to action on receiving information about where the leopard was last seen and selected a good spot. 

He baited a donkey to ensure the leopard would return to finish the meal after killing it. The leopard came to the bait but somehow became aware of Anderson’s presence before charging at where he hid. Anderson shot, but the leopard escaped untouched. Anderson returned to Bangalore after telling the villagers to contact him if another attack occurred.

After four months, Anderson got a telegram from the village Patel about another attack. He arrived at Patel’s village in the morning and swung to action after receiving the details about how the leopard killed its last victim. He sought bait but was not impressed as he got an old animal that rarely called out. But the all-black color of the goat, he thought, would be amusing to the leopard. He got to the site of the last kill and fastened the bait close to the stream. The bait slept off, and the night’s hunt was futile.

Disappointed, Anderson took the goat back to the village the next morning and got a half-full grown which was more likely to call out. He baited the goat at the same place as before and waited for the beast. He heard the leopard approach at 6 pm, and the leopard hissed to show that it was aware of Anderson’s presence. 

Anderson lit his torch to see the leopard some 10ft away and fired twice. He hit the leopard in the throat and the chest. The carcass was found the next morning. A post-mortem examination showed that it was an old leopard with worn-down teeth and claws, a likely reason for the change in hunting habit.

Man-Eater Events With Uncertain Number of Kills

The following two events, Wolf of Ansbach and USS Indianapolis, were also two events were humans were hunted and eaten by wild animals. But the circumstances and the amount of people killed have never been fully clarified. So they are not part of our 24 ranked list, but still significant enough events that we’ve added them both here as an addition.

Wolf of Ansbach (Uncertain Number of Kills)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This wolf became a nuisance in 1685 in the Principality of Ansbach, in modern-day Germany. It initially hunted animals but then started killing children. Many citizens of Ansbach believed that the wolf was a reincarnation of the wicked chief magistrate Michale Leicht, who had just died. They believed he returned as a werewolf for his sins. They widely held this belief because the wolf frequently visited Leicht’s residence.

The citizens of Ansbach organized a hunt and chased the wolf into a well, where they trapped and killed the animal. They paraded it around the streets and later dressed it in man’s clothes. They severed its muzzle and placed a wig on its head and a mask on its face to make it resemble Leicht. Then, they hung it for display.

The wolf was later removed, and its carcass was displayed at a local museum.

The USS Indianapolis Shark Attacks (About 150 deaths)

This was one of the most tragic maritime accidents in the history of the US Navy. The USS Indianapolis, a United States Navy heavy cruiser ship, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1945. The torpedo sank the ship, and the surviving sailors were exposed to sharks in the Pacific ocean. 

It was on July 30, 1945. The USS Indianapolis had delivered crucial parts of an atomic bomb to a naval base on the Pacific Island of Tinian. It was en route to meet USS Idaho in the Leyte Gulf, Philistines, for the preparation of the invasion of Japan.

A series of strategically shot Japanese torpedoes set off a chain of explosions that ripped the Portland class vessel into two parts. More than 200 men died from the explosion. But 900 men were left in the open sea. Soon enough, the sharks were drawn to the site by the explosion, the smell of blood from the dead sailors, and the movement of the live sailors as they struggled to organize themselves in groups.

Reports have it that the sharks tended to attack the live sailors close to the surface. The sharks first focused on the dead sailors but soon after started feasting on the live sailors as they could pick the sailors’ movement in the water through their receptors. They mainly hunted the bloodied sailors who were already bleeding in addition to their movement. The sharks smelled their blood in addition to sensing their movement in the water.

One group of surviving sailors made the mistake of opening a can of meat as the hunger was alarming. They were forced to get rid of the meat as soon as the scent drew a swarm of sharks to their location. 

The sharks fed on the sailors for days. Navy intelligence intercepted a Japanese submarine’s message detailing how it sank the Indianapolis but disregarded it as a trick to lure them into an ambush. Help only came some hours after a Navy plane spotted Indianapolis survivors at around 11am on the fourth day and radioed for help. 

Another seaplane manned by Lt. Adrian Marks dropped supplies and rafts. When he saw the precarious situation of some of the struggling survivors in the shark-infested waters, he landed his seaplane and helped onboard the most vulnerable survivors.

USS Doyle arrived at the scene after midnight to help the remaining survivors. Of the 1,196 men on board, only 317 survived. About 150 men were eaten by the sharks. It was one of the most shocking tragedies in the history of the US Navy.

Final Thoughts

This breakdown of the most dangerous man-eaters in history shows that when wild animals get a taste for humans, disaster can follow.

Wild animals attacking the local population still is a problem in certain areas of the world to this day. So despite humans being on top of the food chain, we can easily become prey in certain circumstances.

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