WHAT ANIMALS EAT TIGERS?

Written by: Akeem Eletu

Panthera tigris, or tigers, are among the most ferocious beasts in the wild. Everything about these huge feline cats inspires fear and sends shivers down the spine of any daring predator. 

From their rough skin-ripping tongue to their long three-inch teeth and heavy 4 inches long paws, everything about this deadly predator makes them tough to imagine as prey for another predator. 

But these tree-climbing cats are not invincible. Some animals eat tigers. Whether they are crazy, more cunning, or have special skills that set them apart, here is a list of what animals eat tigers.

WHAT ANIMALS EAT TIGERS?

HUMANS

Humans are a threat to every other form of life on the planet, and tigers are no exception. While humans have hunted tigers for reasons ranging from sport to conservation, some tigers are hunted for food!

It is illegal to hunt tigers in many countries. Tiger meat is a rare delicacy, and  only rich people can afford it. 

Businesses thrive on selling this rare meat as it is served at exclusive parties. Sometimes, the guests and rich customers are invited to watch how this beast is subdued and slaughtered before it is cooked and served.

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HYENAS

Hyenas are a tiger’s natural enemy. This is unsurprising because they compete for the same food that tigers eat. In extreme cases, when hyenas are starved, they turn to tigers to feast on. In such instances, tiger cubs or sick tigers are usually their easiest prey.

At other times, a severely injured tiger or an old and weak tiger is the target for a hyena meat feast. The hunt is never pleasant because the tiger puts up a fight until its last breath. 

While the sick or injured tigers may hurt some hyenas before finally succumbing to the multiple attacks from members of the pack, the cubs are always powerless against hyenas. Hyenas raid the tiger’s den, whether a cave or a hide between some rocks, only when they get the opportunity. This is the natural thing for these opportunist hunters since any attempt to take the cubs when the mother tiger is still within the area will result in a deadly battle, one that they are less likely to survive.

BEARS

Bears are opportunist hunters, and tiger cubs are very much on their food menu. They will hardly ever go for a tiger because tigers are the predators that hunt them for food. 

But the tiger will do its best to put down the bear because all that much meat on the bear is a lucky treat that hardly comes by every day. 

Since bears like to hunt and eat younger animals, tiger cubs are never safe around bears, especially when the mother tiger is out of range in search of food. But of course, the bear is likely to become the hunted as opposed to the hunter if the mother tiger comes back in time to catch it anywhere near her cubs.

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CROCODILE

Crocodiles eat tiger cubs more than they eat tigers. They will hardly ever hunt tigers. These deadly animals have a strong bite, but they are also hunted by tigers, especially when other food sources are scarce. 

Tigers are so good at hunting crocodiles that they can swim stealthily and sneak up on the crocodile. Tigers sink their long canines into crocodiles with a single bite and end its life.  Although crocodiles hunt and kill tigers, too, they are rarely successful. 

But this is not the case with tiger cubs. Crocodiles may quickly enter the tigers’ den and kill one or more of her cubs before she returns from the hunt for food. But like the bears, the crocodile could become food if caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by the mother tiger. The tiger will surely unleash hell on it for attempting to eat her cubs.

TIGERS

Tigers eat the tiger cubs of other tigers. This is not news in the jungle. While this may seem strange, there is a reason for it. When the male tiger in a territory dies, it is usual for the new owner of the territory to kill the cubs of the former owner of the territory. 

They do this to bring the female tigers available in the territory into heat so that they can mate with them. To avoid this, many female tigers will eat the feces of their cubs. They will eat their cub feces to make it difficult for the new male tiger in the territory to find them by detecting the smell and the trail. They will continue to do this while moving from den to den for safety until the cubs grow old enough to defend themselves.

Apart from the instance above, it is rare to find tigers eating each other. Cannibalism in tigers is very rare. Although some species of tigers may be seen eating the carcass of a tiger, they will only do that in extreme situations. They do not like the taste of other carnivores, especially their kind.

FINAL THOUGHTS

When you think about what animals eat tigers, it is difficult to imagine.  It is unsurprising because tigers are apex predators, and as such, no other animal dares hunt them for food. While opportunities may present themselves to take advantage of a tiger’s situation and kill it for food, those opportunities are rare. The hunter must always exercise caution to not become the hunted.

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