Can any animal kill a tiger?

Yes, some animals can kill a tiger alone while other animals in a pack can kill a tiger. I’ll describe three instances which illustrate how it can happen. However, sometimes, rarely, adult rhinoceroses and elephants are killed by tigers and tigers do kill animals that are considerably larger than themselves but they risk injury or death when they attack them. Of course the human-animal regularly kills tigers.

Tiger attacked by wild dogs
Tiger attacked by wild dogs. Illustration in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Buffalo killing tigers

Large prey such as water buffalo and gaur are very formidable and it is on record that they can kill tigers in a one-to-one fight. A scientist called Kenneth Anderson writing in his book of 1955, Nine man-eaters and one rogue, said in respect of a battle between a gaur and a tiger, “the undergrowth had been torn up and trodden down by the combatants, and to one side of this arena lay the carcass of a tiger that had been repeatedly gored and trampled by a bison [gaur]”.

WR Foran in his book Kill or Be Killed (1933) wrote about an encounter between a tiger and a water buffalo cow. He said “she bowled him over like a nine pin, and then rammed him against the thick trunk of a large tamarisk tree…She lifted that mangled, crushed body on her great horns, gave a sharp twist of her head, and threw the big jungle-cat, as if he were a wisp of straw, some distance away”. The tiger had been gored over and over again and was utterly destroyed.

Wild dogs killing tigers

The tiger lives in areas where there are leopards and Asiatic wild dogs. The tiger is the dominant animal but occasionally they are beaten by a pack of wild dogs. Normally these dogs do not meet with tigers because they hunt during the day while tigers normally hunt at dawn and dusk or are nocturnal. The dogs hunt in packs and weigh, individually, about 20 kg.

W. Connell, writing in his work entitled, Wild dogs attacking a tiger (1944) wrote a detailed account of two hunting guides watching a pack of twenty-two wild dogs drive a tiger into a dry stream bed. The tiger took up position with his back to a large tree and snarled at the dogs. For a second or two the tiger’s attention wavered and the dogs attacked swarming all over him in a matter of seconds.

Five dogs were killed or badly injured during this first assault by the dogs. The tiger was also badly wounded. His ears were tattered and one eye was closed and his body was covered in lacerations. The dogs attacked for another hour and at the end of the hour the tiger could barely stand up. On the third and final attack the dogs killed the tiger by disembowelling him. Twelve dogs had been killed and others had crawled away perhaps to die later. This is a good example of how a pack of dogs can kill the wonderful, dominant tiger.

Kenneth Anderson also wrote about a pack of wild dogs killing a tigress in the same book that I refer to above. I’m able to quote him verbatim. The attack took place near Mysore in southern India. This is how it unfolded according to his account:

“The dogs had spread themselves around the tigress, who was growling ferociously. Every now and again one would dash in from behind to bite her. She would then turn to attempt to render asunder this puny aggressor, when a couple of others would rush in from another direction. In this way she was kept going continually, and I could see she was fast becoming spent. All this time the dogs were making a tremendous noise, the reason for which I soon came to know, when, in a lull in the fray, I heard the whistling cry of the main pack. The tigress must have also heard the sound, for in a sudden, renewed fury, she charged two of the dogs, one of which she caught a tremendous blow on its back with her paw, cracking its spine with the sharp report of a broken twig. The other two just managed to leap out of danger. The tigress then followed up her moment to advantage by bounding away, to be immediately followed by the five remaining dogs. There were just out of sight when the main pack streamed by, in which I counted twenty-three dogs, as they galloped past me without the slightest interest in my presence.”

The next day he went back and found some fragments of tiger skin. The main pack had caught the tigress and killed her some 5 miles away where she was cornered and torn to pieces. She killed five dogs in this final fight.

follow it link and logo