Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Panthera tigris tigris

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Panthera tigris tigris.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-09. -- URL:          

Erstmals publiziert:


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

©opyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

WARNUNG: dies ist der Versuch einer Übersetzung und Interpretation eines altindischen Textes. Es ist keine medizinische Anleitung. Vor dem Gebrauch aller hier genannten Heilmittel wird darum ausdrücklich gewarnt. Nur ein erfahrener, gut ausgebildeter ayurvedischer Arzt kann Verschreibungen und Behandlungen machen!

Falls Sie die diakritischen Zeichen nicht dargestellt bekommen, installieren Sie eine Schrift mit Diakritika wie z.B. Tahoma.

Verwendete und zitierte Werke siehe:

Abb.:  Panthera tigris tigris = Königstiger / Bengaltiger / Indischer Tiger
[Bildquelle: The naturalist's library. -- Vol. 16. -- 1834ff.]

Abb.:  Panthera tigris tigris = Königstiger / Bengaltiger / Indischer Tiger, Kanha National Park, 2006
[Bildquelle: Begemot. -- -- Zugriff am 2007-07-15. -- NamensnennungKeine kommerzielle NutzungKeine BearbeitungCreative Commons Lizenz  (Namensnennung, keine kommerzielle Nutzung, keine Bearbeitung)]

Abb.: Panthera tigris tigris, ermordet von S. kgl. Hoheit, dem Maharaja von Cooch Behar
[Bildquelle: Ward, 1903]

Abb.: Anlocken eines Tigers mit einem angebundenen Rind
[Bildquelle: Sanderson, 1893]

Abb.: Tiger-netting
[Bildquelle: Sanderson, 1893]

Abb.: "The man-eater's victim"
[Bildquelle: Sanderson, 1893]


"Another link with the supernatural is the power over wild creatures with which Indian ascetics are universally credited. Like many other ideas accounted peculiarly Oriental, this is only a belated European fancy. In Mr. Lecky's History of Eiiropean Morals examples of miraculous power over savage nature are given from the saintly legends of the West, and all might be capped by tales of Indian jogis and faqirs. You can be shown to-day forest shrines and saintly tombs where the tiger comes nightly to keep a pious guard, and you may hear in any Hindu village of jogis to whom the cruel beasts are as lapdogs. In the native newspapers, as in popular talk, cases are reported in complete good faith where a Raja out hunting is endangered by a mad wild elephant or a ferocious tiger. At the critical moment the jogi appears and orders the obedient beast away. There may be some ground for this belief. An anchorite, living in the forest among well-nourished beasts of prey who were plentifully supplied with antelope and wild pig, could come and go unharmed. When wild things are let alone they are not so shy as sportsmen fancy. (At this moment a wild wood pigeon, shyest of birds, is nesting unnoticed by the thousands who pass her in Kensington Gardens.) And when one considers the awful ennui of a life given up to religious meditation and abstraction, central feats of which not more than twenty strong souls in a generation are capable, it is conceivable that a bored hermit, weary of stretching after the unknowable, might amuse himself with the easy feat of taming a wild animal ; but here, surely, the miracle would begin and end.

A case occurred in Lahore within the last five years which seems to show that though faith survives, it is now a dangerous anachronism. A Mussulman faqir, visiting the beast garden, deliberately thrust his arm through the bars of the cage in which Moti, our tiger, was confined. Moti ought to have fawned on the sacred limb, but instead of worshipping as the faqir intended, he began to dine, and the arm was torn from its socket before the poor man could be dragged away. At first there seemed a chance that he would survive the dreadful mutilation, but after lingering two or three days, bearing himself with great serenity and composure, he died in hospital. A native would tell you that this was not a fair trial. Moti was a demoralised, denationalised tiger, for he was captured when a few days old, and brought up by the officers of a British regiment, and it was only to be expected that he should make a mistake.

That mere faith is a potent charm is shown by another little story in which Moti was concerned. Once he escaped from his den and there was a wild alarm. The Jemadar or headman of the gardens, a man of great personal courage, ran across the road to Government House demanding an official order from the Sircar for the arrest of the truant. Somebody gave him a large official envelope with a big seal, and thus armed the Jemadar went in chase. Moti was found on the public promenade or Mall, very much alone, as might be expected. The keeper hurried up to him, displaying the Lord Sahib's order, and shaking it in his face, rated him in good, set terms for his black ingratitude in breaking from the care of a Government that fed him regularly and used him well. Then he unwound the turban from his head, and having tied it round the beast's neck, haled him to his den, gravely lecturing as he led. Moti went like a lamb. Some years after, it is sad to say, the Jemadar was killed by a bear who had not the tiger's respect for official authority. Which things are an allegory of Empire as well as a true tale.

In his turn Moti also died, and his skin, now in the Lahore Museum, being carelessly removed, does scanty justice to the memory of a beautiful beast the only animal of my acquaintance that really liked tobacco. The smoke of a strong Trichinopoly cheroot blown in his face delighted him ; he would sidle, blink, stretch, and arch his mighty back with the ineffable satisfaction that all cats find in aromatic odours.

An ancient superstition of world-wide currency, and still firmly rooted in India, is the belief that some men and women can assume at will the form of animals. This theme is obviously capable of infinite variations. One of the most popular of a hundred tales accounts for a man-eating tiger of unusual bloodthirstiness. Once upon a time he was a man, who by traffic with demons had acquired a charm which enabled him to change to a tiger. His wife, being as curious as the rest of the daughters of Eve, begged to be allowed to witness the transformation. Very reluctantly he consented, and entrusted her with a magic root to be given to him to restore him to his real estate. But when the tiger appeared before her, the poor woman lost her head and ran away in terror, and before she could recover the villagers saw him and set out in chase. She never had another chance of meeting her husband. So she died of grief, and he in rage and despair revenged himself on humanity at large. Tales of this kind should be told, as in India, in the evening shadows under the village pipal tree, suggestively whispering of ghost-land overhead, while the vast background of the outer dark beckons the fancy to a far travel. Under these circumstances the absurdity of animal transformation assumes a dignity and reasonableness impossible to convey in print."

[Quelle: : Kipling, John Lockwood <1837-1911>: Beast and man in India : a popular sketch of Indian animals in their relations with the people. -- London ; New York : Macmillan, 1904. -- xii, 401 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 355 - 359. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-10-25]


"THE TIGER (Felis tigris).

Whether the lion or the tiger is the more powerful animal, is a question which has given rise to much discussion, but, as we have already mentioned, the opinion of one most competent to decide is in favour of the superiority in this respect of the latter. The absence of the mane, which forms such a striking feature in the male lion, renders, however, the appearance of the tiger decidedly less imposing, and hence the second position in the series is commonly assigned to this "cat."

In spite of the difference in coloration, the lion and the tiger are very closely allied animals, both agreeing in having a circular aperture for the pupil of the eye, and also in regard to the characters of the so-called hyoid bones which support the tongue.

Next to the absence of the mane in the male, and likewise of any tuft at the extremity of the tail, the most important external difference between the lion and the tiger is that of colour. The general ground-colour of the fur of the tiger is a rufous-fawn on the upper part and sides of the body, but the tint may vary in different individuals from pale rufous to brownish-yellow, the under-parts of the body being white. This rufous ground-colour is striped transversely with black throughout the head, body, and limbs, while the tail is ringed with black. The ears are black, with the exception of a large white spot. These striking colours, which are fully developed at birth, are brightest in young and vigorous animals, gradually fading in intensity with advancing age; and it is stated that tigers inhabiting forest districts are the reddest in ground-colour. As rare exceptions, both white and black tigers are occasionally met with. Thus a white tiger, in which the fur was of a creamy tint, with the usual stripes faintly visible in certain parts, was exhibited at the old menagerie at Exeter Change about the year 1820. A second example of a white tiger was recently obtained at Puna, India, by Major D. Robinson, of the Lancashire Fusiliers, and it appears to have been a male in the prime of life; while Colonel H. H. Godwin-Austen states that he has known of a third specimen. A perfectly black tiger, according to Mr. C. T. Buckland, was found dead many years ago near Chittagong, on the north-east frontier of India.

With the exception of a ruff of longish hair round the neck and throat of old males, which represents the mane of the male lion, the hair on the head and body of the Indian tiger is generally short and thick, but it is considerably more elongated and shaggy in Siberian examples. There is, moreover, a certain amount of variation in the length of the hair of the Indian tiger according to the season of the year.

The tail of the tiger, in both sexes, tapers regularly from root to tip ; its total length being about half that of the combined length of the head and body.

When describing the lion, it has been mentioned how the skull of that animal can be distinguished at a glance from that of a tiger. And it may be added that a tiger's skull, according to Mr. Blanford, is, on the average, even wider and more massive than that of the lion. Moreover, in correlation with the more curved profile of the head of a tiger, as compared with that of a lion, the skull has its outline more convex, while the inferior border of the lower jaw is also straighter.

The tiger stands lower on the limbs than the lion, and is thus proportionately longer in the body. In regard to the size attained by tigers there has been even more exaggeration than in the case of the lion ; this being in great part due to the measurements having been taken either from skins after they had been removed from the animal and pegged out on the ground to dry, or from tigers which had been carried for several hours thrown across the backs of elephants, and thus considerably stretched beyond their normal length. Mr. Blanford states that full-grown male tigers measure from 5½ to 6½ feet from the tip of the nose to the root of the tail ; the length of the tail being about 3 feet. In one example, whose total length was 9 feet 6 inches, the length of the head and body was 6 feet 4 inches, and that of the tail 3 feet 2 inches. Female tigers are generally about a foot shorter in the length of the head and body than males. The height of a tiger at the shoulder varies from about 3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches. The above dimensions are taken in a straight line, but the usual manner of measuring a tiger adopted by sportsmen is to follow the curves of the body, when the dimensions will, of course, be somewhat greater; and it appears that all the largest tigers on record have been measured in this manner. Full-grown tigers thus measured vary from 9 to 10 feet in length; and tigresses from 8 to 9 feet. Unusually line specimens will, however, reach, or even slightly exceed, a length of 12 feet ; 12 feet 2 inches being apparently the maximum dimensions ascertained with any approach to accuracy. It is, however, by no means invariably the case that tigresses reach the minimum length mentioned above, Mr. Blanford stating that he killed one apparently adult example that was only 7½ feet long, while a second measured but 7 feet 8 inches.

There is still need of additional information as to the maximum weight attained by tigers. Sanderson gave the weight of a fine male tiger killed by himself as 350 lbs. ; while specimens weighed by the late Sir W. Elliot weighed 362 and 380 lbs. Forsyth concluded, however, that some unusually large tigers, which fell to his own rifle, must have weighed from 450 to 500 lbs. These extreme weights have, of late years, been confirmed by Mr. W. T. Hornaday, who records a tiger measuring 9 feet 11 inches in length, of which the weight was upwards of 495 lbs. The Maharaja of Kuch-Behar has killed tigers which are stated to have varied from 481 to 540 lbs. ; and one shot by Mr. F. Shillingford, of which the length was 9 feet 10 inches, weighed a little over 520 lbs. The weight of a tiger depends, of course, largely upon the condition of the animal at the time of its death ; and if a specimen under 10 feet in length will turn the scale at over 500 Ibs., it may be taken as certain that those of 11 or 12 feet in equally good condition must reach considerably heavier weights.

Although mainly, if not entirely, confined to Asia, the tiger has an extensivegeographical distribution on that continent and its islands. To the westward its range appears to be limited by the mountains of Ararat and the Caucasus, whence it extends along the southern shores of the Caspian the ancient Hyrcania into Northern Persia, the Herat district, and thence into Turkestan. Thence it ranges over a large portion of Central Asia, embracing Southern Siberia, to a line some distance north of Irkutsk, and the whole of Mongolia as far eastwards as Amurland and the Island of Saghalien. And its fossil remains have been obtained, in company with those of the mammoth, from the New Siberian Islands lying some distance within the Arctic Circle. From Mongolia the range of the tiger extends southwards through China to Burma, Siam, and the Malay Peninsula; and it also embraces the Islands of Sumatra and Java, but not, it is said, Borneo. Across the Assam district, at the northern end of the Bay of Bengal, the tiger ranges into India, where it is found from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya ; although quite unknown in the Island of Ceylon. The whole of the elevated plateau of Tibet forms, however, an island in its distributional area into which the tiger does not intrude. And, as we learn from Mr. Blanford, it is equally unknown in Afghanistan and Baluchistan, as well as in that portion of Persia lying to the southward of the Elburz Mountains. From this extensive distribution it is evident that the popular idea of regarding the tiger as a tropical animal is quite erroneous. And it is even doubtful in spite of the world-wide reputation of the Bengal tiger whether those inhabiting the warmer regions are its most magnificent examples. In spite of this, the tiger is so intimately associated with and characteristic of India, that it will always and rightly be regarded as the special emblem of that country. Mr. Blanford believes that the absence of the tiger from Ceylon may be taken as an indication that the animal is a comparatively recent immigrant into Southern India, since most of the other Indian Mammals are found on both sides of the Straits of Palk.

Although in some of the more thickly populated districts of India, especially those well supplied with railroads, such as parts of Bengal, the Central Provinces, and Bombay, tigers have greatly decreased in numbers, or have well-nigh or completely disappeared, in the wilder and more sparsely inhabited districts they are often still abundant. Indeed, wherever large tracts of forest and grass jungle remain in India, there tigers are to be found in more or less abundance. In the fever-stricken swamps and islands forming the so-called sandarbans of Lower Bengal, tigers are especially common ; as they also are in the forests of Burma and Assam. Formerly, Sir Samuel Baker tells us, they were to be met with in the grassy islands of the Bramaputra, but the navigation of that river by steamers has led to a large reduction in their numbers. In the forests flanking the easterly Himalaya, and known as the Terai, tigers still abound ; and they will at times ascend in the mountains to heights of six thousand or seven thousand feet above the sea-level, although they are unknown in the interior of the Himalaya. In some parts of India it was necessary to take active measures against them, in order to prevent the annihilation of the population. Thus a recent writer states that in Manipur "tigers used to be so numerous that the inhabitants were formed into groups for the purpose of marking them down and destroying them. This organisation still exists. The groups are called kai-roop, and it is the duty of the chief of the kai-roop of the district to report to the raja whenever a tiger appears within his jurisdiction; the order is then given to destroy him ; this is done by surrounding the patch of jungle in which he has hidden, after killing a cow or deer, with strong nets. Outside these, tall bamboo palisading is erected, and information is sent to the raja, who, if the place is within easy distance, proceeds there with all his court, ladies included. The spectators are ranged on seats at intervals at the top of the palisading, and the tiger is driven by firebrands from his retreat, and either shot or speared. The Manipuris are very keen at this sport, and I have seen them, despite a prohibition to the contrary, descend into the area (perhaps a space of three hundred yards, or even more, in circumference) and, protected only by the net held up by a forked stick in the left hand, boldly attack the tiger with a spear. Generally, the real sport is shown with the spear, and the coup de grace given by a rifle shot. Anyhow, the men engaged display great courage and coolness, and the whole affair is not a vulgar piece of butchery but a game of skill, till a well-directed shot ends it." Towards the western end of the Himalaya, where forests become much thinner and the whole country is much drier, tigers gradually become less common ; and in the Western Punjab and Sind they are either very rare or quite unknown.

In parts of Java and Sumatra tigers absolutely swarm; and a firm of Dutch merchants at Padang, Sumatra, writing in the autumn of 1891, stated that the arrivals of coffee from the interior were much below the usual average, on account of the number of tigers infesting the route; upwards of fifty men having been killed by them while engaged in bringing the coffee down country.

Writing of the distribution of these animals in Persia, the late Sir O. B. St. John states that tigers, twenty years ago, were very numerous in the Caspian provinces of Persia, and in the Caucasus as far as the mouth of the Araxes. The dense vegetation, which although of a temperate character, yet attained a tropical luxuriance, affording them shelter as perfect as that of the jungles of the Terai, or the swamps of the sandarbans of Bengal.

Although when the animal is seen within the narrow limits of the cage of a menagerie, or stuffed in the case of a museum, the brilliant coloration of the tiger may appear conspicuous in the extreme, yet there is little doubt that in the native haunts of the animal it is essentially of a protective nature. Sir J. Fayrer, in his work, The Royal Tiger of Bengal, observes, that brilliant as is the general colour of the tiger, "it is remarkable how well it harmonises with the grass bush among which he prowls, and for which, indeed, until his charge, and the short deep growls or barkings which accompany it, reveal his presence, he may be mistaken." Indeed, the vertical stripes of tawny orange and black on the skin of the tiger harmonise so exactly with the broad blades of yellow grass, separated by equally broad lines of blackest shade, that it is often difficult indeed to distinguish the animal from his surroundings when seen in his native jungle during an Indian summer. And, in this connection, it is noteworthy that the tigers of Northern Asia, where dry grass-jungles like those of India are unknown, are stated to have the ground colour of their skins of a much less brilliant hue.

The literature relating to the habits and mode of life of the tiger is even more extensive than is the case with the lion ; while that devoted to tiger-shooting is simply appalling in quantity. While the terms noble and majestic are those which were formerly, and are often still applied to the lion, the epithets cunning and cruel are more generally assigned to the tiger ; while the word "tigerish" has become an integral portion of our language to denote ferocious cruelty. It may be doubted, however, whether these epithets are really more exclusively applicable to the one than to the other animal, when the different conditions under which they live are taken into account. It is true, indeed, that the amount of damage done by tigers is vastly greater than that which can be charged to lions ; but then it must be remembered that, whereas the former frequently inhabit more or less densely populated districts, the latter are often found in regions where there are but few human inhabitants, and but small numbers of cattle. Then again, the more warlike nature of many of the African races, as compared with those of India, is fatal to the existence of man-eating lions, whereas man-eating tigers in India are frequently regarded with superstitious reverence, and no attempts are made at their destruction.

Although there is a great difference in the habits of individual tigers, according to whether they live on wild game killed in the jungles, or on domestic cattle, or are man-eaters, yet the whole of them have certain characters in common. Thus, as a rule, the Indian tiger is a solitary and unsociable animal, although at certain seasons of the year the pairs of males and females associate more or less closely together. In all cases the male consorts with but a single female ; but it has not yet been definitely ascertained whether this union is permanent. Occasionally, however, as many as four, five, or even six, full-grown tigers have been seen in company ; and it appears that these are always family parties, the cubs having remained with their parents till grown up. Like the lion, the tiger is essentially nocturnal, lying concealed in the long grass or forests till evening, and then issuing forth for its nightly prowls. Their wanderings during the cold and wet seasons at least are considerable, and it is considered by Sir J. Fayrer that at such periods of the year they have no fixed abodes. During the hot season, however, when the whole country is burnt up with the heat, and the smaller streams, pools, and tanks are dry, the range of the Indian tiger becomes much more restricted. At such times it takes up one definite "beat," haunting the banks of the rivers, and patches of long grass which are kept fresh and green by growing near water, or in swampy ground. And it is remarkable, as Sir Samuel Baker observes, that when a tiger with a restricted beat is killed, in the course of a few months another will occupy its place, frequenting the same lairs, and drinking at the same pools.

Grass-jungles and swamps are, however, by no means the sole haunts of the tiger, which will frequent any kind of country that will afford the necessary shelter and a plentiful supply of water. In addition to forests, tigers select as their lurking-places, clefts and caves in rocks, the shelter afforded by a high bank, or the grass-grown ruins of the numerous deserted cities to be found in many parts of the plains of India. And it is curious to observe that in many cases one particular rock, or one patch of grass, is always inhabited by a tiger, while another, apparently equally suitable, has no such tenant. Moreover, in the plains of India, wherever tigers are met with, there will wild peafowl invariably be found.

Tigers are extremely impatient of the fierce heat of the dry season, and always try to shelter themselves as much as possible from the burning rays of the sun. This impatience of extreme heat, taken in conjunction with their occurrence in comparatively cool climates, like those of Northern China, Manchuria, and parts of Siberia, where the winters are severe, is in favour of the view of Mr. Blanford, already mentioned, that these animals are comparatively recent immigrants into a large portion of India. To aid in mitigating the heat of the dry season, tigers are in the habit of wallowing in the shallow water of swamps and the margins of rivers, and then rolling in the dry sand after their mud-bath. Such, at any rate, are their habits in the plains of Bengal, Assam, etc. ; but it has been stated that on the Nilgiri Hills, in Southern India, tigers are never known to wallow in this manner. Not only does the tiger indulge in such wallowings during the hot season, but he is also an excellent swimmer, and will take readily to the water. In the Bramaputra, where reedy and grassy islands and sandbanks, locally known as churs, intercept the course of the river, tigers, as Sir Samuel Baker tells us, swim for miles during the night from island to island in search of prey, and if unsuccessful return at dawn to the mainland. They likewise display very similar habits in the Bengal sandarbans, where they not unfrequently cross small arms of the sea. Sometimes they are compelled to take involuntarily to the water, as in the case of the great inundations in the valleys of the larger Indian rivers, or when tidal waves overflow the low-lying lands bordering the Bay of Bengal. On such occasions the unfortunate animals are often put to sore straits to find a refuge from the waste of waters, and Sir Samuel Baker relates an instance of a tiger, during an inundation on the Bramaputra, having climbed up during the night on the high rudder of a vessel, much to the astonishment and alarm of the native steersman, when he beheld his visitor in the morning. From this position the tiger made his way to the deck of the steamer towing the barge, where he was eventually killed in the paddle-box.

In spite of its predilection for water, the tiger can, however, at a pinch endure thirst for a considerable period, even in the hottest weather. As an instance of this we may refer to an account given by Mr. G. P. Sanderson, where two tigers were surrounded by nets in a small patch of jungle. "The weather," writes the narrator, "was hot ; the circle in which they were enclosed was only seventy yards in diameter, and the heat of the fires kept up day and night all round was considerable. Still they existed without a drop of water for ten days, suffering from wounds half the time. A tiger can go much longer than this without food without serious inconvenience." Like lions, tigers are bad climbers, ascending trees but rarely, and, according to Mr. Blanford, being quite incapable of ascending a vertical stem, no matter what may be its dimensions. But, when aided by a sloping stem, or by a fork at some distance from the ground into which they can spring and thence obtain a fresh start, tigers will occasionally attack sportsmen who are waiting for them in trees. It is also stated that, when caught by inundations, tigers will endeavour to escape by climbing. Stems of trees, especially certain particular favourites, are in tiger-haunted districts marked by the vertical scorings in the bark made by the claws of tigers ; these markings not unfrequently extending to a height of at least ten feet.

The idea that tigers are in the general habit of springing appears to be a popular delusion ; and, according to Mr. Blanford, it is but rarely that they move their hind-legs from the ground, except when they have occasion to clear a fence or other obstacle. When so inclined, they are undoubtedly able to spring to a considerable height; and an instance is on record of a tiger having, at a single spring, pulled a native from a tree, at a distance of eighteen feet from the ground. Mr. Sanderson gives fifteen feet as the maximum horizontal distance that a tiger can spring. " The tiger's usual attack," writes Sir J. Fayrer, "is a rush, accompanied by a series of short deep growls or roars, in which he evidently thinks he will do much by intimidation ; when he charges home he rises on the hind-feet, seizes with the teeth and claws, and endeavours and often succeeds in pulling down the object seized." The mention of the tiger's attack reminds us that, according to Sir Samuel Baker, it is but comparatively rare that one of these animals, when suddenly and unexpectedly disturbed, will fly at a human being. "The truth is that the tiger seldom attacks to actually kill, unless it is driven, or wounded in a hunt. It will frequently charge with a short roar if suddenly disturbed, but it does not intend to charge home, and a shout from a native will be sufficient to turn it aside ; it will then dash forward and disappear, probably as glad to lose sight of the man as he is at his escape from danger."

In many of the foregoing traits of character the tiger resembles more or less closely the lion; but whereas the latter is an extremely noisy animal, the former roars much less frequently. Mr. Blanford, who has especially called attention to this difference in the habits of the two animals, observes that, where lions "are common, scarcely an evening passes without their being repeatedly heard. I have often been in places where tigers were equally abundant, but it is the exception for their roaring to attract attention. Their usual call is very similar to that of the lion a prolonged, moaning, thrilling sound, repeated twice or thrice, becoming louder and quicker, and ending with three or four repetitions of the last portion of it. Besides this there is a peculiar loud 'woof' produced when the animal is disturbed or surprised, a growl that it utters when provoked, and the well-known guttural sound of rage repeated two or three times when it charges. When hit by a bullet a tiger generally roars, but tigresses, at all events, very often do not : I have on three occasions, at least, known a tigress receive a mortal wound and pass on without making a sound."

With regard to the breeding of tigers, it appears that the number of cubs produced at a birth usually varies from two to five, although it is said that there are occasional instances where the litter includes as many as six. As the result of his long experience, Mr. Sanderson gives two as the usual number, three being much rarer, and only two instances of four in a litter having come under his personal observation. Mr. Blanford states, however, that he has on more than one occasion seen four cubs. When there are but two, it appears that while one is a male the other is a female ; and this general equality in the sexes of a litter renders it difficult, as Mr. Sanderson remarks, to account for the large preponderance of adult tigresses over tigers. Tigresses appear to breed at all times of the year; young cubs having been taken by Mr. Sanderson in the months of March, May, and October. Tiger-cubs, which require a period of about three years to attain maturity, remain with the tigers for the greater part of that time ; and, as already mentioned, when several adult tigers are found together, the party is a family one.

Mr. Sanderson is of opinion that the tigress does not breed oftener than once in two years ; while from the circumstance that the cubs do not attain maturity till that period, Forsyth considered that once in three years was the minimum. In captivity tigers breed much less freely than lions, and the cubs are far more difficult to rear. Although when caught young tigers can be easily tamed, they are more intractable than lions when taken at a later age.

The food of individual tigers varies greatly, according as they frequent uninhabited or populous districts. The typical jungle tiger lives chiefly upon the various species of deer, wild pigs, and antelopes ; but it will kill domestic cattle, and will also eat porcupines, monkeys, peafowl, and other small animals. Although full-grown buffalo and gaur are usually a match for it, young or feeble individuals not unfrequently fall victims to its attack ; and instances are recorded of young elephants being killed and eaten. Adult bull gaur are, however, occasionally killed by tigers ; the latter, according to the report of native herdsmen, inducing the bulls to charge time after time, when they are wounded as they pass by a blow on the flanks from the tiger's paw. Old wild boars will, it is said, not unfrequently succeed in wounding and beating off a tiger; and the herds of buffaloes defend themselves by forming in a half-circle, with the bulls facing the foe. Moreover, even when a calf, or a weak or sickly adult individual has been carried off, the old buffaloes are reported to combine and follow the tiger and rescue the victim from his clutches. Much more rarely tigers will kill and eat the Indian bear ; and Mr. Sanderson relates an instance of a tiger having habitually taken to killing and eating those animals. That the male tiger will sometimes devour his own offspring is well authenticated ; and Mr. Sanderson was informed, on what he considers good authority, of an instance where three tigers devoured another individual of their own species.

The "kill" of the tiger is frequently kept until, in the hot climate of India, it assumes a putrid condition ; and, in addition to carrion of this nature, there is good evidence that tigers will eat the decomposing flesh of animals other than those killed by themselves. The tigers dwelling near villages are, unless they are man-eaters, in the habit of living more or less entirely on the small native cattle, which are generally, and especially in the dry season, in miserable condition. In Central Asia, where, according to Eversmann, the tiger is abundant in the reed-thickets on the east bank of the Sea of Aral and the Sir Darya, as well as in the Kirghiz steppes, its chief food is derived from the wild swine which inhabit those thickets, and also from the herds of wild asses and saiga antelope frequenting the more open country. In these districts the tiger is much dreaded by the nomadic inhabitants ; and it is said to attain dimensions considerably greater than those which it reaches in warmer regions.

Much misapprehension has prevailed as to the mode in which tigers kill their prey ; the ordinary notion that they spring upon their victims from a distance, and after killing them either by a blow from the paw. or by tearing at the throat with their claws, and afterwards sucking the blood, being now proved to be incorrect. Mr. Sanderson, who has paid particular attention to these points, and whose explanation, although at variance with that of some other experienced sportsmen, is now pretty generally accepted, writes as follows on the subject : " I have never witnessed a tiger actually seize its prey, but it has been described to me by men who have seen the occurrence scores of times within a few yards' distance while tending cattle. The general method is for the tiger to slink up under cover of bushes or long grass, ahead of the cattle in the direction they are feeding, and to make a rush at the first cow or bullock that comes within five or six yards. The tiger does not spring upon his prey in the manner usually represented. Clutching the bullock's fore-quarters with his paws, one being generally over the shoulder, he seizes the throat in his jaws from underneath, and turns it upwards and over, sometimes springing to the far side in doing so, to throw the bullock over, and give the wrench which dislocates its neck. This is frequently done so quickly that the tiger, if timid, is in retreat again almost before the herdsman can turn round. Bold animals often kill several head, unsophisticated cattle occasionally standing and staring at the tiger in stupid astonishment; but herds that are accustomed to these raids only enter the jungle with extreme unwillingness." Occasionally the tiger seizes its prey by the nape of the neck; the blow of his paw will, however, stun even a large animal ; and it is quite possible that cattle may be killed in this manner. Tigers will on rare occasions kill buffalo and gaur, and similar prey, by hamstringing them, probably by a blow with the claws. Such hamstrung animals are occasionally met with, but the exact method in which it is accomplished remains unknown. The notion that the tiger sucks the blood of his victim is a myth. The late afternoon is the time at which cattle are usually seized by tigers when grazing in the jungles, although they may be struck down at any time of the day. If killed during the daytime the carcase of the victim is usually left where it lies till evening. At nightfall, or perhaps earlier, the tiger returns to the "kill," and either commences to devour it at once, if the spot is sufficiently secluded, or proceeds to remove it to one more convenient. The feast is commenced on the hind-quarters as a general rule ; and, after he has satisfied his appetite, the tiger may either retire to a convenient resting-place in the neighbourhood, from which it can rush out to drive away jackals and other intruders from the "kill," or may completely conceal it under bushes and leaves, and seek a more distant lair in the neighbourhood of water. When it has recovered from the effects of its gorge, the tiger returns for a second meal ; and it appears that in about three days the carcase is reduced to little more than a skeleton. During the intervals between his meals, the tiger is sluggish and stupid, being with difficulty roused from his slumbers, and when so awakened he is dull and indisposed to show fight.

Although it has been much exaggerated, the strength displayed by a tiger in carrying off his prey is enormous. The weight of the ordinary Indian cattle, according to Sir Samuel Baker's estimate, may be set down roughly at from 350 to 400 lbs. And although it is quite an error to suppose that a tiger can take a carcase of that weight and carry it in his mouth without letting any portion of it drag on the ground, at least at intervals, yet it is quite certain that he can carry it. Thus, Mr. Sanderson relates how a powerful tiger had taken up and carried the carcase of a bullock through a dense thicket for about three hundred yards ; while a smaller tigress carried one in open jungle for a shorter distance. As a general rule, however, the bodies are dragged along the ground ; although this, when the nature of the surface in Indian jungles is taken into account, is a sufficiently formidable task.

Forsyth considered it probable that a cattle-killing tiger destroyed a victim about every fifth day ; three days being employed in feasting on the carcase and resting in the intervals, while during the other two food was not specially sought. This, when we remember the number of these animals in certain parts of India, will give some idea of the losses they occasion. According to a return issued by Government, it appears that in the Madras Presidency, during the quarter ending 31st December 1891, the number of animals killed by tigers and leopards included 656 bullocks, 752 cows, 236 calves, 135 buffaloes, 105 sheep, and 103 goats. In the returns for all India for one year, during which 1835 cattle were killed, the total loss was set down at a little short of 60,000 head, of which 20,000 were assigned to tigers, and an equal number to leopards. Although the man-eating tiger is much more dreaded, the cattle-lifting tiger is regarded with supreme indifference by the herdsmen of the districts it infests. "It is no uncommon feat," observes a well-known popular writer, " for a party of jungle herdsmen armed only with their iron-bound lathis, or quarter-staves, to boldly show fight to the royal robber, and by sheer pluck and gallant daring beat him off from some member of their herd that he may have attacked. Too frequently, to be sure, some one or more of the number may pay dearly for their temerity, but it is an apt illustration of the fact that men get inured to a commonly-incurred danger."

Mr. Blanford mentions that he once came across two children, of which the elder was not more than eight or nine years of age, who had actually been placed in the jungle as a guard over the dead body of a bullock, to protect it from the return visit of the tiger by which it had been slain.

It has been considered that man-eating tigers, which generally belong to the female sex, were invariably animals unable to procure other food, from the effects of age. Although this is true in a very large number of instances, it appears that tigers may take to man-eating from a variety of other causes. Thus either wounds, excessive fat, or the fact of a tigress having had to bring up a family of cubs where food is scarce, may be the original cause of the adoption of this mode of life. According to Mr. Sanderson, all man-eaters were invariably at first cattle-stealers, which gradually became accustomed to the sight and presence of man, and thus lost their instinctive fear of the human race. When once a tiger has taken to man-eating, and has discovered how easily its victims are killed, it appears that it ever afterwards hunts the same kind of prey, although only some individuals confine themselves to this kind of food. Those tigers which are entirely or mainly man-eaters inflict fearful havoc on the unfortunate natives among whom they have taken up their quarters ; an average native of India, as Sir Samuel Baker remarks, forming by no means a hearty meal for a tiger. All who have had to do with them are unanimous as to the extreme wariness and caution of man-eaters, which from this cause are the most difficult to kill of all tigers. The slightest rustle or whisper on the part of the pursuer is, according to Mr. Sanderson, sufficient to put the man-eater on its guard ; and it is marvellous with what sagacity these animals distinguish between an armed sportsman and a helpless unarmed native.

"The man-eater," says Sir Samuel Baker, "will seize an unsuspecting native by the neck, and will then drag the body to some retreat in which it can devour its prey in undisturbed security. Having consumed the hindquarters, thighs, and more fleshy portions it will probably leave the body, and will never return again to the carcase, but will seek a fresh victim, perhaps at some miles distance, in the neighbourhood of another village."

Formerly, before European sportsmen armed with rifles had access to most parts of the country by means of railways, whole districts in India were either depopulated or deserted owing to the ravages of man-eaters; and the sites of hamlets abandoned from this cause are still visible in the jungles. Not unfrequently, however, the cunning and caution of the man-eater baffles, at least for a time, all the efforts of the European sportsman to encompass its destruction ; while there are districts where one of these pests may continue its depredations for a long period without coming under the notice of Europeans. The destruction of human life by tigers, most of which are probably habitual man-eaters, is, indeed, still deplorably large, especially in the more thinly-populated districts. According to the Government returns, it appears that within a period of six years no less than 4218 natives fell victims to tigers, while in the Central Provinces alone 285 were killed during the years 1868 and 1869. In regard to the ravages committed by individual man-eaters, a gentleman, writing from Nayadunka to Sir J. Fayrer, states that " one tiger in 1867, 1868, 1869, killed respectively twenty-seven, thirty-four, and forty-seven people. I have known it attack a party, and kill four or five at a time. Once it killed a father, mother, and three children ; and the week before it was shot it killed seven people. It wandered over a tract of twenty miles, never remaining in the same spot two consecutive days, and was at last killed by a bullet from a spring-gun when returning to feed on the body of one of its victims." It will be observed that the concluding sentence of this account does not bear out Sir Samuel Baker's statement that the man-eater never revisits its "kill." The account of the depredations of another man-eater, which infested the neighbourhood of the station of Naini-Tal in the Eastern Himalaya, states that the animal "prowled about within a circle, say of twenty miles, and that it killed on an average about eighty men per annum."

In order to rid themselves of these pests, the natives of India and other countries have had recourse to all kinds of traps and other devices. Among these, pitfalls used to be a favourite method. According to Mr. Wallace, in Sumatra these pits are made in the form of an iron-furnace, wider at the bottom than at the top, and from about fifteen to twenty feet in depth ; a sharpened stake being fixed at the bottom. The top of the pit is then covered over with branches and leaves, and so perfect is the concealment, that Mr. Wallace states that he has more than once had a narrow escape from falling into these pits. Indeed, one unfortunate traveller was killed by a fall on to the sharpened stake, after which that portion of the contrivance was forbidden. Large mouse-trap cages for catching tigers alive were formerly sometimes used in certain parts of India ; but Mr. Blanford states that these were more successful in catching leopards than tigers. Poisoning the "kill" of a tiger is also a method that has been more or less successful; while bows with poisoned arrows and spring-guns set in the tiger's path have also been called into requisition. In certain parts of the Mysore district Mr. Sanderson states that the villagers are in the habit of surrounding tigers with nets, and then spearing or shooting them ; this, except watching, being the only means by which they can be killed in covert which is too dense to admit of driving.

In Orissa, on the upper part of the Eastern Coast of India, and perhaps elsewhere,the natives, according to Mr. Blanford, construct a gigantic figure-4 trap loaded with a platform of heavy stones, that falls upon and crushes the tiger, after the manner of the brick or tile trap used by gardeners in this country to kill field-mice.

In some of the older works relating to the tiger there will be found circumstantial accounts of a method of capturing the animal by smearing leaves with bird-lime, which adheres to its face and paws, and thus renders it completely blind and helpless; but Sir J. Fayrer states that he is unaware of any authenticated instance where this method has been put in practice.

No account of the tiger would be complete without some reference to the modes of hunting or shooting adopted by Europeans and many of the native chiefs and shikaris, but as all these are fully described in works more especially devoted to sport, such reference will be of the briefest. One plan, especially favoured by the native shikari, who is less impatient of a solitary night watch than most Europeans, is to build a platform or machan in a tree near the "kill," from which the tiger may be shot on his return visit, a variation of this plan being to construct the machan in any likely spot, and to tie up a goat, cow, or buffalo as a bait. The uncertain light prevailing at the time of the tiger's visit renders shooting from these machans far from certain. Throughout a large portion of Bengal, the North-West Provinces, Central India, and the Terai-land at the foot of the Himalaya, where tigers are generally found in swamps and grass-jungle, the grass in the latter being often from eight to ten feet in height, the common, and indeed often the only practicable plan, is to beat the jungles with lines of elephants; the sportsmen either shooting from their howdahs, or from machans placed in trees in positions commanding the ways along which the tiger is likely to bolt. In other districts, and more especially in parts of Bombay and Madras, tiger-shooting is often undertaken on foot. And, as Sir J. Fayrer observes, it is in this dangerous sport that fatal and serious accidents are likely to happen, for no accuracy of aim or steadiness of nerve can always guard against or prevent the rush of even a mortally wounded tiger, that in its very death-throes may inflict a dangerous or fatal injury.

Stories of hair-breadth escapes from tigers, both when shooting on foot and from the howdah, might be collected almost by the hundred, but would be foreign to our purpose. We may, however, mention that in many parts of India the tiger is regarded by the natives with a superstitious awe, which prevents them from killing it, even when they have the power. As might be expected, this awe is more developed among the superstitious Hindus than among the Mohammedans. In all cases, however, it appears that the natives have no objection to the slaughter of the tiger by Europeans. Frequently the tiger is regarded as tenanted by a spirit rendering it immortal ; and in many districts the animal is never mentioned by its proper name, sher or bagh, but invariably by some euphemism. Closely connected with this superstition is the avidity with which the claws, whiskers, front teeth, and the imperfect collar-bones of the tiger are collected and preserved as charms by the natives of many districts; although, by others they are held as deadly poisons, and are destroyed as soon as possible. For these reasons a tiger-skin with the whiskers preserved is a rarity."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. 373 - 386. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Felis tigris. The Tiger.

Felis tigris, L. Syst. Nat. i, p. 61 (1760) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 54 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 92 ; D. G. Elliot, Mon. Fel pi. iii.

Pupil round. Hair of the cheeks from behind the ears round the sides of the neck considerably lengthened in adult males, so as to form a ruff. Hair of body short and close (but varying in length somewhat with the season). Tail about half the length of the head and body, tapering gradually, not tufted at the end. Tail vertebrae 22 to 26.

The skull is very massive and heavy, the zygomatic arches excessively wide and strong, and the crests for attachment of the muscles highly developed. On an average the skull is even larger, wider, and more massive than that of the lion. The facial surface is considerably more convex, the maxillary bones terminate posteriorly between the orbits in front of the nasals, and the lower surface of the presphenoid in the roof of the posterior nares is much broader than in the lion, and is generally raised into a ridge along the middle. The lower surface of the mandible is nearly straight to near the angle, then slightly concave. Consequently the skull of a tiger, with the lower jaw attached, rests firmly on a flat surface, whilst the posterior portion of the skull nowhere touches the surface. This is not the case with any other great feline, except perhaps the jaguar.

Colour. Ground-colour, above and on the sides, varying from pale rufous to brownish yellow, below white, striped transversely with black throughout the head and body. The tail is marked with black rings. Ears black outside, with a large white spot on each. The ground-colour is much more rufous in some animals than in others, and forest tigers are probably darker and redder than those inhabiting the thin jungles of Central and Southern India. Young animals, too, are more brightly coloured than old. The young are born striped. Both black and albino tigers have been met with, though both are very rare. Mr. C. T. Eucklaud tells me that he once saw a black tiger that had been shot near Chittagong ; whilst an albino tiger was exhibited in London, at Exeter Change, early in the century, and figured by Griffith.

Dimensions. Adult males measure 5½ to 6½ feet from nose to insertion of tail, the tail being about 3 feet long. In a male 9 feet 4 inches long, measured by Tickell, the head was 16 inches, neck 12, body 4 feet, tail 3 feet 2 inches. Females measure about 5 to 5½ feet from nose to rump. The height at the shoulder is about 3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches. The usual measurement of tigers by sportsmen is from the nose over the curves of the head and buck and along the tail to the tip. Thus measured full-grown tigers are generally 9 to 10 feet long, tigresses 8 to 9 ; but tigers have been killed 12 feet in length, and I myself shot an apparently full-grown tigress only 7 feet 6 inches long, and another specimen that had cubs with her measured only 7 feet 8 inches. The skull of a male tiger 9 feet 7 inches long measured 13 inches in extreme length, 12 in basal length, and 9 in breadth across the zygomatic arches ; that of a large Nepal tigress 10 inches in extreme length by 7.8 in zygomatic breadth. But an enormous skull from Purneah measures according to Sterndale 15.25 by 10.5. Sanderson found a bulky, well-fed male tiger to weigh 25 stone (350 lbs.), and Elliot gives the weight of two large male tigers as 360 and 380 lbs., and of a large tigress 240 lbs. Forsyth gives much higher weights, but it is not clear whether he actually weighed the animals.

Distribution. Throughout India, Burma, and other parts of South-eastern Asia, Java, and Sumatra, but not Ceylon, nor, it is said, Borneo. The tiger occurs in suitable localities throughout a great part of Central Asia, and is found in the Valley of the Amur, the Altai Mountains, around Lob Nor in Eastern Turkestan, about the Sea of Aral, on the Murghab near Herat, on the southern coast of the Caspian (Hyrcauia), and in the Caucasus, but not in Tibet, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, or Persia south of the Elburz Mountains on the Caspian.

In India tigers still occur wherever large tracts of forest or grass-jungle exist; but within the last 20 or 30 years the number of these destructive animals has been greatly reduced, and they have now become scarce, or have even in some cases disappeared entirely in parts of the country where they formerly were common. This has been the case especially throughout a large area of the Central Provinces, in many parts of Bengal, and several districts of the Bombay Presidency. In the forests at the base of the Himalayas tigers are common, and they ascend the hills occasionally to an elevation of 6000 or 7000 feet, but none are found in the interior of the mountains. The species is entirely wanting throughout Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and the other countries due west of  India, and is only found in a few places in Upper Sind and the western Punjab. It is wanting in Lower Sind and Cutch. To the eastward, in Assam and Burma, tigers are generally distributed.

The absence of tigers in Ceylon would seem to indicate that this animal has only recently migrated into Southern India, more recently than most of the other mammals, the majority of which are found on both sides of Palk Straits.

Habits. For a full account of the habits of tigers, on which more has been written than probably on any other wild animal, reference may be made to numerous works by Indian sportsmen. Foremost amongst these are Sir J. Fayrer's ' The Royal Tiger of Bengal,' Sterndale's 'Seonee' and 'Natural History of Indian Mammalia,' Forsyth's admirable 'Highlands of Central India,' Sanderson's equally accurate ' Thirteen Years among the Wild Beasts of India,' and McMaster's ' Notes on Jerdon's Mammals of India.' The first gives an account of the tiger in the grass-jungles and swamps of the Ganges valley, the second and third describe the animal haunting the forests of the Central Provinces, the fourth writer's experience was mainly gained in Mysore, and that of the fifth in the hills of Southern India.

Tigers are monogamous. The period of gestation is about 14 to 15 weeks, and from 2 to 5 young, and occasionally it is said even 6, are produced at one time. I have on more than one occasion known four cubs to be cut out from a tigress's body after death.

There is no particular season for breeding. Young cubs are found at all times of the year. The tigress is said to avoid the male when about to bring forth, and to hide her young from him ; but tigers are occasionally, though not often, seen accompanying tigresses and cubs. The young remain with the mother until nearly or quite full-grown ; and when more than two tigers are found consorting together, the party consists in general of a tigress and her full-grown offspring, the old tiger occasionally associating with his family also. Forsyth observes that a tigress cannot have young more frequently than once in three years, because the cubs take about that time to attain their full growth.

These animals are usually found solitary or in pairs, less frequently in parties of from three to six. They remain at rest during the day, and roam about at night in search of food. Their wanderings are considerable, and frequently extend to many miles in the course of the night, a preference being given to well-beaten tracks or sandy beds of streams. On these, in the early morning, every incident of the night's adventures may be traced by an experienced tracker. The tiger sometimes continues his stroll in the early morning, and his movements, as Forsyth remarks, "may often be traced up to eight or nine o'clock by the voices of monkeys and peafowl, the chatter of crows and small birds, and the bark of sambar and spotted deer." The alarm-cries of all these animals  are quite peculiar and different from their ordinary calls ; but it must be remembered that the cause of their alarm may be a leopard, a wild cat, a bear, a dog, or even in some cases a man, and not necessarily a tiger.

The tiger usually takes up his abode for the day in deep shade, especially in the hot season, and in general near water under a dense bush or tree, in high green grass, or in thick low cover such as green rushes, tamarisk, or some of the other plants that grow in the beds of streams. Not unfrequently a high bank affords him the cool shade he loves, and in rocky parts of the country caves are frequently resorted to ; where ruins exist in jungle they are often a favourite abode.

A well-known habit of all wild animals, but especially remarked in the case of the tiger, is the regularity with which particular haunts are selected in preference to others that appear equally well suited. Some one patch of high nul grass near the river-bank or on the edge of the swamp, one dense thicket of jhow (Tamarix) or jaman (Euyenia) amongst a dozen apparently similar in a stream-bed, one especial pile of rocks amongst hundreds along the hill-side, will be the resort year after year of a tiger, and when the occupant is shot, another, after a brief interval, takes his place.

Tigers, especially in the cold and wet seasons, when there is abundance of cover and water, are great wanderers, roaming from place to place, though probably keeping in general within an area of 15 or 20 miles in diameter. In the hot season from March to June their range is usually more restricted, as vegetation is dried up or burnt except near the few spots where water is still found.

As has already been remarked, tigers are very much less in the habit of roaring than lions are. Where the latter are common scarcely an evening passes without their being repeatedly heard. I have often been in places where tigers were equally abundant, but it is an exception for their roaring to attract attention.

Their usual call is very similar to that of the lion, a prolonged moaning, thrilling sound, repeated twice or thrice, becoming louder and quicker, and ending with three or four repetitions of the last portion of it. Besides this, there is a peculiar loud " woof produced when the animal is disturbed or surprised, a growl that it utters when provoked, and the well-known guttural sound of rage repeated two or three times when it charges. When hit by a bullet a tiger generally roars, but tigresses, at all events, very often do not ; I have on three occasions at least known a tigress receive a mortal wound and pass on without making a sound.

Tigers swim well and take readily to water, even crossing arms of the sea. They but rarely ascend trees, and appear quite incapable of climbing a vertical stem, large or small. It is true that they have been known to take men out of trees, from heights it is said of even 18 or 20 feet ; but such cases are always due to some peculiarity in the tree, a sloping trunk, or a fork 8 or 10 feet from the ground, from which the animal can get a fresh start. As a rule a tiger, like other mammals, pays no attention to men in a tree even a very few feet from the ground, if they do not move or speak.

In fact tigers are much less addicted to springing than is popularly supposed, and rarely move their hind legs off the ground except to clear an obstacle. Still they are capable of springing some distance. They have a habit, like cats, of scratching wood, and often show a predilection for the trunk of a particular tree, on which the marks of their claws may be seen up to a height of 30 or, it is said, 12 feet.

The ordinary game-eating tiger of the forest lives mainly on deer and pigs, and avoids the neighbourhood of human habitations.

Almost all tigers, however, occasionally kill cattle. The wild animals commonly eaten by tigers are pigs, deer of all kinds, nylgai, four-horned antelope, and porcupines. The last are evidently a common prey. I have repeatedly, in the Central Provinces, when skinning tigers, found fragments of porcupine-quill encysted beneath the skin. Peafowl may be slain at times, but more often, I think, by leopards than by tigers, and the same may be said of monkeys. Bears, though not often attacked, occasionally fall victims. I have more than once seen unmistakable remains of a bear that had been devoured ; and Sanderson relates an instance of a tiger that was said to have taken habitually to the slaughter of bears for food. Young gaur are occasionally killed, but the full-grown animal is more than a match for most tigers. Instances are said to have been known of even young elephants being attacked, one such is mentioned by McMaster. In fact a hungry tiger will probably kill any other animal he can for food. He is said to have been observed catching and eating frogs ; and Mr. Simson found tigers in Eastern Bengal, during inundations, feeding upon fish, tortoises, crocodiles, and large lizards, and he once killed a tiger the pouch of which was crammed with grasshoppers or locusts. It is not to be supposed that the tiger's prey is killed without a struggle, and the more powerful animals sometimes beat off their assailants, whilst instances have been recorded in which large boars have killed tigers that attacked them, the two having in some cases been found dead together.

Great numbers of domestic animals are killed by tigers annually, and many of the latter appear to live entirely upon cattle. Oxen are the ordinary prey of the cattle-eating tiger, who is often an older animal than the game-killer, having become by long experience more cunning and less afraid of man. Tigresses with cubs also often quarter themselves upon a village and subsist in luxury on the flocks and herds of the villagers. Sheep and goats are not so often attacked, tigers having a distinct preference for beef, but ponies, and even horses and camels, are occasionally killed. Buffaloes in a herd are fully able to defend themselves, and generally attack a tiger, many incidents being recorded in which they have rescued their herdsman ; but tigers often kill young buffaloes if they are found away from the herd.

There has been much discussion as to the manner in which the tiger kills its prey. The popular notion was, and probably still is, that the tiger springs upon its victim from a distance, and either kills the animal by one blow of its paw, or tears the throat with its teeth and sucks the blood. All this is certainly incorrect, so far, at all events, as cattle are concerned ; small animals may perhaps be killed by a blow of the paw. I have seen many oxen that had been killed by tigers, and in numerous cases (always, I think, when I ascertained the point) the neck had been broken, whilst in several instances, despite the marks of fangs upon the throat, the great blood-vessels of the neck were untouched, and claw-marks were confined to scratches on the forequarters. All these details agree with the description given by Sanderson from the accounts received from herdsmen. According to these, the tiger does not spring upon his prey : "clutching the bullock's forequarters with his paws, one being generally over the shoulder, he seizes the throat in his jaws from underneath and turns it upwards and over, sometimes springing to the far side in doing so, to throw the bullock over and give the wrench which dislocates its neck. This is frequently done so quickly that the tiger, if timid, is in retreat again before the herdsman can turn round." It is probable that. with smaller animals the tiger does not always take the trouble to break the neck, and in the case of large beasts such as buffaloes and gaur, which he is unable to overthrow, he occasionally hamstrings them, I think by a blow with his claws, but am not sure. I have twice known instances in which buffaloes were left hamstrung by tigers. Tigers sometimes undoubtedly kill or disable by the fearful blows they can give with their paws, but the above is, I believe, their usual plan of killing oxen.

Sterndale confirms Sanderson's account, and also points out that a tiger very rarely springs upon his prey ; he probably takes advantage of the momentary paralysis produced by his appearance to make a short rush and to seize the animal he intends to devour. He generally stalks as near as he can, but he has been seen to gallop after animals for some distance before seizing one of them.

I quite agree with Sanderson, who regards " the venerable belief in tigers sucking the blood of their victims" as one of the numerous myths that have collected around beasts of prey in the course of ages.

If an animal is struck down in the daytime, the body may be dragged some distance, but is usually left untouched till evening.  At or soon after nightfall, or occasionally in quiet places before sundown, the tiger returns to the kill (known as ghara or mara), and, if the spot is open or otherwise unsuited for his repast, drags the body to a more -convenient place. The enormous muscular power of the tiger is shown by the way in which he can transport large carcases of oxen or buffaloes over rough ground, up and down steep banks and through thick bushes. He sometimes lifts the body completely off the ground ; Sanderson mentions an instance in which a bullock, weighing about 400 Lbs., was thus carried for 300 yards. He almost always commences by eating the intestines and hindquarters. As a rule he remains near the kill, sometimes rushing out upon any intruder and driving away jackals, vultures, and other carrion-feeders ; but more often he hides the carcase under bushes or leaves, and retires to a neighbouring thicket beside water. If very hungry, a tiger will devour both hindquarters the first night. If undisturbed, he generally remains about three days near the carcase, feeding at intervals. In one case, so far as I could learn, a large ox was completely devoured in 48 hours, only a few fragments of bones and the contents of the stomach being left. Forsyth says that a tiger which lives entirely on cattle kills an ox about once in five days, and passes about two days after finishing his last victim without looking about for food, though he will strike down another quarry if it comes near him. Young tigers are more destructive than older animals, and when one gets amongst a herd of cattle, he frequently kills several, apparently in pure wantonness. A tigress with cubs, too, is frequently very destructive, partly, it is said, in order to teach the young tigers to kill their own prey. An animal that has been fired at, especially if he has been wounded, when returning to the kill, will frequently never again return to the body of his prey, but kill afresh when hungry.

It is well known that, although tigers as a rule kill their own food, they do not disdain carrion ; in numerous instances they have been known to eat animals killed by sportsmen and even bullocks that had died of disease. Cases are even on record in which a tiger that had been shot has been devoured by another of his own species.

The ordinary game- or cattle-eating tiger is the greatest of cowards in the presence of man, and often allows himself to be pelted off from the animal he has seized. Sterndale mentions a case in which a herdsman laid his heavy iron-bound staff with impunity across the back of a tiger who had seized one of his cows ; and I. once found two young children, the eldest not more than 8 or 9 years old, left in jungle to drive a tiger away from the body of a bullock he had killed, and to prevent his eating it or dragging it away.

The half-wild inhabitants of the Indian forests have but little fear of ordinary tigers ; and after some 20 years' wanderings in large part through tracts infested with tigers, I agree with Forsyth that, except in the haunts of a man-eater, there is little danger in traversing any part of the jungles. Bears are, I think, more to be feared than tigers. The only tigers not being man-eaters that are dangerous are tigresses with young cubs, and occasionally a hungry tiger who has just killed his prey. Of course this only refers to unwounded tigers ; a tiger that has been wounded will usually attack any one who approaches him, but even he will not charge home against a body of men, and one successful method of shooting tigers and following them when wounded is founded on this circumstance.

The man-eater is, to quote Forsyth, "a tiger who has got very fat and heavy, or very old, or who has been disabled by a wound, or a tigress who has had to bring up young cubs where other game is scarce. All these take naturally to man, who is the easiest animal of all to kill, as soon as failure with other prey brings on the pangs of hunger." A tiger that has once taken to man-eating will probably, having got over his innate fear of the human species, continue to live upon the same prey, though it is the exception for even man-eaters to confine themselves to human food. Still a few do so to a great extent, and a fearful scourge such a tiger becomes.

The destruction of human life by tigers is still considerable in India, and the whole takes place in comparatively thinly peopled portions of the country. Thus in Lower Bengal alone in six years 1860-66, 4218 persons were killed by these animals. In all probability nearly the whole destruction was caused by a very small percentage of the tigers inhabiting the country.

Forsyth says that great grazing districts, into which cattle come for a limited season only, are always the worst for producing man-eating tigers. There is much reason for believing that a tigress, who has taken to preying upon man, brings up her cubs to the same mode of life. A man-eater generally becomes cunning and suspicious beyond all ordinary tigers, and around this, the most terrible of all wild animals, myths and legends centre until it is difficult to know what is true and what is false.

Many of the wolf-legends of Europe may be found repeated and intensified in connection with the Indian tiger. Foremost among these tales is of course the wehr-wolf superstition a belief that certain men have the magical power to transmute themselves at will into wild beasts. But the most remarkable of all is the creed, universal in the Central Provinces and generally prevalent, I believe, throughout India, that the spirits of those men who have been killed by a tiger attend him and sit upon his head, and that they not only warn him against danger, but, entertaining malice against their fellowmen, aid him to destroy them. This superstition exists amongst many races.

Tigers or representations of tigers are actual objects of adoration, or, to speak more correctly, propitiation, amongst some of the wilder tribes of the Indian Peninsula ; and one form of oath in Courts of Justice is, or was formerly, administered on a tiger's skin.

Various parts of the animal, such as the front teeth, the claws, the whiskers, and the rudimentary clavicles (birnuJch), are preserved as amulets and charms. The whiskers, Jerdon says, in some parts of Southern India are considered to endow the fortunate possessor with unlimited power over the opposite sex. In other parts they are regarded as a deadly poison, and are destroyed as soon as a tiger is killed.

To one peculiar and wide-spread myth, the relations between tigers or lions and jackals, some reference will be found under the head of the latter.

The destruction of so dangerous an animal as the tiger is naturally one of the principal objects both of the native shikari, who kills for the reward given by Government, and varying from Es. 5 to Us. 50 in different districts, and of the European sportsman.

The common native plan, adopted occasionally by Europeans, is to build a platform, or machan, in a tree, either close to the carcase of an animal that has been killed by a tiger, or to a spot where a live animal, usually a bullock or young buffalo, is tied up as a bait, and to shoot the tiger when he comes to feed on the carcase or to seize the bullock. Another system, adopted by Europeans from Indian chiefs, is to drive the jungles with a line of elephants, the sportsmen shooting from howdahs. This is often almost the only practicable plan in the great plains of Bengal and Upper India, which are covered with grass from 8 to 20 feet high.

In the smaller jungle-patches of Central and Southern India, tiger-shooting is chiefly attempted in the hot season, and the tiger is either driven by beaters past a tree on which the sportsman sits, or followed up, either on an elephant or on foot. Baits, usually young buffaloes, are tied out in selected spots, in order to induce the tiger to kill, and remain during the heat of the day in places convenient for finding him ; and native trackers, many of whom could probably vie with the far-famed American Indians themselves, are employed to follow up the animal and ascertain where it is lying. A full account of this method is given by Forsyth in the 'Highlands of Central India.' Occasionally, especially when a tiger has been wounded, a herd of buffaloes are employed to drive him out of the cover, which they do very effectually, charging him in a body if he does not retreat.

In some parts of Southern India a plan is adopted of enclosing a small area of jungle, into which a tiger has been traced, by nets. The animal is then speared or shot when occasion offers. A full account of this method is given by Sanderson in the work already quoted. According to Jerdon, in the Wynaad tigers are driven into a net and speared by a particular class of natives.

It would be impossible to notice all the methods adopted for destroying tigers. In some parts of the country traps are used, but the cage-trap, though often successful in capturing panthers, is seldom so with tigers. Tigers are occasionally taken in pitfalls. A kind of figure-of-4 trap with a heavy platform loaded with stones, that falls upon the tiger and crushes him, is used in parts of Orissa and, I believe, elsewhere. In Burma a bow is set with a poisoned dart, and let off by a string across the path. Spring-guns have also been used. Poisoning the carcase of an animal killed by a tiger is also resorted to in some cases, strychnine being chiefly used for the purpose by Europeans, but it is not always effective.

The age to which tigers live is not clearly ascertained. Sanderson mentions an instance in which he killed a large cattle-eating tiger that had been known to haunt a particular group of villages for twenty years. This animal showed no signs of age except that his coat was becoming light-coloured.

Tigers captured young are easily tamed, and many of the adult animals in menageries are perfectly good-tempered, and fond of being noticed and caressed by those whom they know. They have repeatedly bred in confinement, though not so freely as lions, and the cubs more rarely survive."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 58 - 67. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]




THE late Capt. James Forsyth in his delightful book The Highlands of Central India, in which a most interesting account of tigers and tigershooting is given, has divided tigers into three classes, according to their habits viz., those which habitually prey upon cattle ; those which live upon game alone ; and the few dreaded individuals of their race that frequently prey upon human beings.

This classification correctly defines the ways of life of different tigers. I have had extended opportunities of acquainting myself with their everyday habits, as, in addition to constantly following them for sport's sake, I was tiger-slayer to the Mysore Government for some time, and have had around me the most experienced natives, to hunt out and follow up tigers that were destructive to cattle or dangerous to human beings. The following descriptions of their habits are therefore founded upon somewhat intimate experience of them.

The cattle-killing tiger frequents jungles close to villages, and seizes a victim amongst the cattle when driven thither to graze, or picks up stray animals about the villages at night. In India cattle are carefully herded into the villages before nightfall, so the cattle-lifter usually has to secure his victim in broad daylight. The ranges of these tigers where not disturbed are generally confined to a few villages ; but if they have been hunted and are shy, they extend their visiting circle considerably. The tigers in the vicinity of my camp at Morlay (the hunting of which will be described further on) had a range of about twenty miles in length by ten in breadth. To this tract there were eight tigers originally, all solitary except a tigress and her nearly full-grown cub.

The largest tigers are found amongst habitual cattle-killers. When a tiger becomes old and fat he usually settles down in some locality where beef and water are plentiful, and here he lives on amicable terms with the villagers, killing a cow or bullock about once in four or five days. Some tigers contract the habit, through being interfered with, of killing more than one animal in each attack. I have seen three, four, and five cattle on the ground together after attacks by single tigers, and on one occasion fourteen killed by one tiger, in a herd overtaken by a storm ; many of the cattle were benumbed and unable to escape. Cow-herds in the habit of meeting tigers often behave very boldly when their charge is attacked. Where three or four men are together they seldom think of leaving a tiger in undisturbed possession of his prey.

Capt. Forsyth estimates the value of cattle killed by tigers in the Central Provinces at from 5 to 10 apiece; and that a tiger will kill from sixty to seventy such animals, or between 325 and 650 worth per annum. These figures seem excessively high. The value of nine-tenths of Indian village-cattle is certainly under 1 each. I never found difficulty in getting old cattle for baits for four shillings per head. I have the returns of domestic animals killed in Mysore for the past five years at hand, but they are of little assistance in estimating the total value of the animals destroyed, as goats, sheep, donkeys, &c. (mostly killed by panthers and leopards, and a few by wolves), are included with cattle.

The individual value of these animals may be set down at an average of Rs. 7 (fourteen shillings), as goats, sheep, and donkeys are worth only a few shillings. Allowing each tiger even seventy horned cattle per annum at 1 each, the loss would amount to 70 per tiger, which I imagine is nearer the mark than 650.

It may be thought that even this loss is sufficiently serious to warrant the advocating of a war of extermination against tigers, but the tiger might, in turn, justly present his little account for services rendered in keeping down wild animals which destroy crops. His agency in this respect goes far, in the opinion of many sportsmen of experience, towards counterbalancing the bill against him for beef. It is pig and deer not the tiger and panther that attack the sources of subsistence ; and these are only to be kept in check by the animals appointed to prey upon them. Were the tiger and panther gone they would soon gain the upper hand. Many cases have come under my notice where the tiger has proved himself the ryot's friend in a particular manner, in addition to his general services. I was once talking with an old ryot about some new cultivation he had pushed ahead of the other ryots' holdings into the jungle, and asking after its welfare. He said, " As soon as the crop was above ground some village-cattle that had broken from their pen strayed into it at night, but a tiger killed a bullock there belonging to the headman, worth at least Rs. 20 (2), so the others took better care of their cattle. I could not have watched my field or gone to the expense of putting up a hedge the first year. The other ryots' holdings were all in a block, so a few hedges and watchmen sufficed for them, but I had to trust to the tigers. I put up scarecrows for deer and pig, but that did not keep them out long. However, the tiger and a panther killed two or three pigs, and they gave up visiting my field. I got a moderate crop, and am going to clear more ground this hot weather, and next year will be able to fence it." When it is considered that it is of such units that the vast total of Indian tillage is made up, the importance of the question of keeping destructive animals in check must be recognised. In many cases I have known of tigers pouncing upon a sow with young pigs and demolishing the whole family ; and the sportsman will have occasional instances of their vigilance in finding his wounded game retrieved during the night by a tiger or panther.

It may be urged that were the tigers disposed of, the pig and deer could be left for the ryots ; but this is mere theory, all practical sportsmen being agreed that deer and pig could never be kept within bounds except by the Felidae. In thick, thorny, and continuous jungles they cannot be got at, and they would multiply unrestrictedly, and force upon the ryots the arduous work of watching their fields at night in unhealthy localities where the tiger and panther now keep the game in check. Cultivation would recede in many parts of the country were there no tigers. The balance of nature  cannot be interfered with with impunity, and a general crusade against hawks, wild cats, et hoc genus omne, might be preached with as much reason on the ground of their abducting stray chickens, though keeping down destructive vermin at other times, as against the tiger for appropriating an occasional bullock. Of course all tigers are fair game to the sportsman ; they can never be unduly reduced by shooting. The most destructive cattlekillers the animals that it is desirable to get rid of are those which, from being most easily met with, are sure to fall first ; but for people who have only considered one side of the question to urge the pursuing of every tiger that can be heard of with poison, traps, and the incentive of high rewards to native shikaries, is advocating a measure which would lead to a deplorable state of things for the ryots.

As to the individual value of the cattle killed by the tiger, it is to be remembered that, it being against a Hindoo's tenets to take the life of the sacred cow, there is always about every village a large number of old, scraggy, and useless animals of no value to any one, in ridding the country of which the tiger does good to the community. When a ryot's bullock gets beyond ploughing, and his cow past milking, there is no sale for them, as they are as useless to every one else as to himself; so they are added to the other half-dozen or so of halt and blind in his fold, and sent with the two or three hundred of their kind owned by the village to the jungles to graze. A ryot is always careful of his really good cattle, taking them with him to his fields when working, and tying them there upon the divisions between the fields where there is good grass. The sight of the hordes of half-starved and mangy animals returning to Indian villages in the evening is a familiar one to residents in the country. These wretched beasts generate the cattle diseases from which few Indian villages are ever quite free, and their room is to be preferred to their company. Fortunately nature assists the tigers in effecting a clearance amongst these every year. At the time of the early rains the enfeebled animals eat ravenously of the young grass which then springs up, become distended, and die in a few hours.

The tiger is no unmitigated evil in the land. His pursuit affords excitement and recreation to many a hard-worked official whose life, except for an occasional day in the jungles, would be one of uninterrupted toil. Many officers see for themselves matters affecting the districts of which they have charge when visiting out-of-the-way localities for sport, which they would never learn otherwise. It is a pity to see the tiger proscribed and hunted to death by every unsportsmanlike method that can be devised, in response to popular outcries chiefly in England without foundation in fact, about his destructiveness. Trace out and slay every man-eater by all means possible, and at any expense ; but ordinary tigers are exceedingly inoffensive, and have their uses. May the day be far distant when the tiger shall become practically extinct !


The game-killer confines himself entirely to thick forests, chiefly in hill-tracts, where he keeps to the feeding-grounds and hot-weather resorts of game ; and though the sportsman has little cause to bless him, the wouldbe protectors of the ryots should rather give him their countenance than thirst for his blood, as he is most beneficial in keeping down the herds of deer and pig that would otherwise destroy much crop. The game-killer shuns the haunts of man, and wanders much in the cool forests at all hours. On one occasion in the Kakenkote' jungles I was following a deer-run one gloomy evening after a wet afternoon, when a slight movement behind attracted my attention, and I turned just in time to see some animal disappear silently into the jungle. I had not time for a shot. On examination we found a tiger's pugs in the moist earth where, crouched behind a bamboo-clump, he had been patiently watching for deer, and had cunningly allowed the tracker and myself to pass within a few yards of him before attempting a retreat.

Captain Forsyth states that the game-killer is usually a lighter and more active beast than the cattle-killer. This is, doubtless, the rule, as he has to travel farther for his food but there are exceptions. One of the largest tigers I have killed was a pure game-killer. I shot him upon the carcass of a young elephant he had seized and partially eaten in the Chittagong hills, as described in Chapter XIII. I recently saw the carcass of a cow-bison killed and partly eaten by a tiger in the Billiga-rungun hills. This was the work of a powerful tiger, though a game-killer, as the bison was a full - grown animal, and a terrible struggle had ensued upon its seizure.


This truly terrible scourge to the timid and unarmed inhabitants of an Indian village is now happily becoming very rare ; man-eaters of a bad type are seldom heard of, or if heard of, rarely survive long. Before there were so many European sportsmen as there now are in the country a maneater frequently caused the temporary abandonment of whole tracts ; and the sites of small hamlets abandoned by the terrified inhabitants, and which have never been reoccupied, are not uncommonly met with, by the sportsman in the jungles. The terror inspired by a man-eater throughout the district ranged by him is extreme. The helpless people are defenceless against his attacks. Their occupations of cattle-grazing or wood-cutting take them into the jungles, where they feel that they go with their lives in their hands. A rustling leaf, or a squirrel or bird moving in the undergrowth, sets their hearts beating with a dread sense of danger. The only security they feel is in numbers. Though the bloodthirsty monster is perhaps reposing with the remains of his last victim miles away, the terror he inspires is always present to every one throughout his domain. The rapidity and uncertainty of a man-eater's movements form the chief elements of the dread he causes. His name is in every one's mouth ; his daring, ferocity, and appalling appearance are represented with true Eastern exaggeration ; and until some European sportsman, perhaps after days or weeks of pursuit, lays him low, thousands live in fear day and night. Bold man-eaters have been known to enter a village and carry off a victim from the first open hut. Having lived in a tract so circumstanced until I shot the fiend that possessed it, and having myself felt something of the grim dread that had taken hold of the country-side, where ordinary rambling about the jungles, and even sitting outside the tent after dark except with a large fire, or moving from the encampment without an escort, were unsafe, I could realise the feelings of relief and thankfulness so earnestly expressed by the poor ryots when I shot the Jezebel that had held sway over them so long.

The man-eater is often an old tiger (more frequently a tigress), or an animal that, through having been wounded or otherwise hurt, has been unable to procure its usual food, and takes to this means of subsistence. It is invariably an ex-cattle-killer that, from constant intercourse with man, has become divested of its natural dread of our race, and interference with whose kills has caused collisions between itself and cow-herds which have finally led to its preying upon the hitherto dreaded man when other food fails. The man-eater is as cowardly as it is cunning, fleeing before an armed man, between whom and a possible victim it discriminates with wonderful sagacity. The slightest sound of any one in pursuit of it, even the whisper of a single sportsman with one or two trackers in its haunts, starts it at once ; it will then probably travel for miles, though even whilst fleeing it may pounce upon some unwary victim, as I have seen an ordinary tiger seize a bullock when itself the object of hot pursuit. This combination of cowardice and audacity constitutes the difficulty there always is in bringing a man-eater to bag.

Though the belief that some tigers confine themselves entirely to human flesh is undoubtedly erroneous, a man is so much more easily overcome than any other animal that man-eaters frequently seize cow-herds in preference to the cattle they are in charge of. It is this which has led to the belief that, after having once tasted human flesh the tiger prefers it to any other.

The reason why tigresses should be more frequent offenders than their lords is difficult to conjecture. Perhaps it is that when their cubs are young they are often put to great straits to obtain food for them, or urged to acts of boldness in their defence ; or the fact that tigresses are as a rule more vicious, sly, and enterprising, as also more ferocious when pushed to extremities than tigers, may partly account for it. This may seem an ungallant representation by a sportsman, (and who is more tender-hearted, more ready to overlook the sex's failings than the true sportsman?) but it is the truth.

How the belief arose that man-eaters are usually mangy animals it is difficult to understand. I do not remember to have read of a single instance of any sportsman finding this to be the case. Were tigers apt to lose their hair, or to become lean in old age, a foundation for the belief might exist ; though to say that this was the result of eating human flesh would be erroneous. But old animals merely become lighter in colour, the black stripes narrowing and becoming further apart, and very slightly mixed with grey hairs, whilst the yellow turns to a paler hue than in youth. As far as my own experience goes I have never seen a mangy or lean tiger.

Man-eaters are exceedingly rare in Mysore and the surrounding territories. In the past fifteen years there has only been one of great note the Benkipoor tiger. This tiger flourished some twelve years ago, and caused great loss of life in the country about Benkipoor in the Nugger Division of Mysore. A large reward was offered by Government for his destruction, but in the number of tigers shot and brought forward as the man-eater there was a difficulty of identification. And though it is believed that he was at last shot by a native shikarie, as all killing ceased from the time that a male tiger with one fore-foot injured was brought in, it was not known at the time that the real Simon Pure had been slain, and the enhanced reward was never paid.

Regarding the size of tigers, once a much-disputed point, all careful observers are, I believe, agreed in accepting Dr Jerdon's view (Mammals of India) as thoroughly correct. He says : " The average size of a full-grown male tiger is from 9 to 9½ feet, but I fancy that there is very little doubt that, occasion ally, tigers are killed 10 feet in length, and perhaps a few inches over that ; but the stories of tigers 11 feet and 12 feet in length, so often heard and repeated, certainly require confirmation, and I have not myself seen an authentic account of a tiger that measured more than 10 feet and 2 or 3 inches." I know two noted Bengal sportsmen who can each count the tigers slain by them by hundreds, whose opinions entirely corroborate Jerdon. My own experience can only produce a tiger of 9 feet 6 inches, and a tigress of 8 feet 4 inches, as my largest. It is not to be denied that tigers exceeding 10, 11, and even 12 feet in length are sometimes spoken of and have even been described. But it has invariably happened, in my experience, that whenever the narrator of such stories has been brought to book, he has been unable to appeal to any authority more satisfactory than his own memory, or the memory of his friends. Now, on such a point the memory is by no means an infallible guide. When a man has assured me that the length of a tiger a length greatly in excess of the ordinary size is indelibly impressed upon his memory, I have never failed to express my regret that it was not, at the time, indelibly impressed upon his note-book. A sportsman cannot be too careful in this particular. Perfect exactness in his description of the slaughtered animal is an aim he should always keep in view. For this purpose the memory is not a safe witness. It may be laid down as an axiom that the note-book carried by the sportsman is the only safe evidence ; and that all other whatever be its nature must be disregarded.

I have only weighed one tiger, a very bulky, well-fed male. He weighed, by two different scales, 349½ lb., or 25 stone all but half a pound. I should have imagined this was about the extreme weight of any tiger, but I have seen heavier recorded.

It is difficult to ascertain the probable age to which tigers live. A large male that I shot, and which was said to have been perfectly well known about Morlay for twenty years, showed no signs of great age : his teeth were good, and he seemed in the prime of vigour and strength ; his coat was, however, getting light-coloured. As cats not unfrequently live to upwards of twenty years, the tiger's span of life is probably longer than is usually supposed. A tiger has lived in the Regent's Park Zoological Society's gardens for ten years, but this is of course not a satisfactory test.

The natives have an idea that the age of tigers and panthers can be told by the number of lobes of the liver, being one lobe for each year of age; but this theory is not, I believe, accepted by anatomists. It is true, however, and is a peculiar fact, that the number of lobes does vary considerably in different animals, and is greatest where other indications of age exist. I have shot tigers and panthers with from nine to fifteen lobes. If this has nothing to do with their age, it would at least be interesting if anatomists could give some reason to account for it.

A strange example of a tiger's departing from the usual food of the Felidae, is that of a large male near Poonjoor some years ago, that is said to have killed and eaten several bears. The account of his doings in the Poons joor jungles was given me by old Bommay Gouda, whom I have already mentioned as having lived all his life amongst tigers, bears, and elephants . and as an authority whose interesting accounts of the habits and peculiarities of the occupants of the jungles could be relied on. It appears that this tiger killed several bears at different times whilst feeding, coming from behind and seizing them by the nape of the neck, and bearing them down (no pun intended), after a struggle, by his weight and strength. Towards corroborating this account some Sholagas at the other end of the hills, twenty miles away, and who knew nothing of what Bommay Gouda had told me, gave me a similar account ; adding that a bear had been thus killed and partially eaten in a clearing where they were watching their crops early one morning. This was doubtless the same tiger. My Morlay trackers also told me that some years ago they surrounded a bear and her three-parts grown cub with nets in a date-grove close to which my bungalow now stands at Morlay. The bears broke through the nets, the big she being severely speared in doing so, and both got clear away to a ravine a mile distant. Next morning they were found together, dead, and the large bear partially eaten by a tiger whose marks were all around. Whether she had died of her wounds or had been killed by the tiger the men had not taken sufficient notice at the time to be able to tell me, but the cub had been killed. This was also probably the work of the same tiger. The carcass of a bear which I once shot at Yerlsariga, and which was dragged to some distance from the tents after being skinned, was partially eaten by a leopard that night, which shows that the Felidae do not always confine themselves to cattle and game.

One of the strangest things I ever heard of in connection with tigers is an instance of three tigers devouring a fourth. This was also told me by Bommay Gouda and two Sholagas who were with him at the time of the occurrence. For my own part I believe the story. It was that a male tiger killed a buffalo late one evening; the carcass was found partially eaten next day ; and the following, or second morning, when some lowcaste men, under Bommay Gouda's guidance, went to take whatever might be left, they found the head and shoulders of a large tiger, and some bones of the buffalo. The ground around bore traces of a savage fight, and it was found that a party of three tigers had disturbed the original slayer of the buffalo at supper, and the struggle which ensued for possession ended in his death. There was probably then only a little meat remaining, which the victorious party finished, and forthwith set to at their defunct relative (a beef-sausage !). These tigers' blood being up, and their appetites excited, not appeased, with the remains of the buffalo, and the dead tiger lying ready to hand, perhaps somewhat mangled, their eating him can be imagined as a not wholly improbable contingency, and is different from their having killed him with the intention of making a meal of him. I observe that Mr Walter Elliot, quoted by Dr Jerdon, says : " Another instance was related in a letter by a celebrated sportsman in Khandeish, who, having killed a tigress on his return to his tents, sent a pad-elephant to bring it home. The messenger returned, reporting that on his arrival he found her alive. They went out next morning to the spot, and discovered that she had been dragged into a ravine by another tiger and half the carcass devoured."

It is universally believed by natives that the tiger is occasionally killed by packs of wild dogs (Cuon rutilans). These animals are not numerous ; their operations are of a character so destructive and harassing to game that no tract could support them in any considerable number. Their ranges extend over immense areas of country, whilst they seldom hunt in one neighbourhood for more than a few days, and that at considerable intervals, as the deer become so scared that they flee the locality. The wild dog is between a wolf and jackal in size, of a uniform deep rusty colour above, paler below, and with a blackish brush. They run both by sight and scent, and their perseverance and endurance are so great that they rarely fail to kill any animal on whose track they start. From what I have seen of their style of hunting, and of their power of tearing and lacerating, I think there can be no doubt of their ability to kill a tiger. I can call to mind two examples of their powers. One morning two dogs chased a spotted hind past my tent. One of them halted at sight of the encampment ; the other, which was within springing distance, made two snatches at the exhausted creature's abdomen, and then drew off. The bites were inflicted with lightning speed : the deer went but a few paces when she fell with her entrails protruding. On another occasion I heard the yapping of jungle-clogs, and a noble spotted stag came racing down an open glade, his branching antlers laid along his back, and three wild dogs at his flanks. They had only time to make a snap or two each when we interfered. The stag went but a few yards and fell, and was speared by one of my men. In the moment's biting it had been emasculated, and about four pounds of flesh torn from the inner part of its thighs.

Similar injury might easily be inflicted on a tiger. I have seen more than one flee from a pack of curs a very mangy one gallantly holding on to the royal beast's tail on one occasion and it is probable a tiger would turn from wild dogs. The latter's habit of hunting almost exclusively during the day would be in their favour in an encounter with a tiger. Their tactics are not to attack in front ; they never expose themselves to the horns or hoofs of powerful deer. They would bite a tiger, should he run from them, in parts that might speedily cause his death. A Sholaga told me that he once saw a tiger confronted by wild dogs, sitting on his haunches against a bamboo-clump. The dogs, ten or twelve in number, were making no active demonstrations, but walked close to him, in a most impertinent and unconcerned manner. The Sholaga having no personal interest a native's first consideration in all matters in the result of the meeting, left the rivals. It is possible that in such a case, if the tiger maintained his position, the dogs would withdraw, as they could do nothing against him in a front attack. Causes of hostility may occasionally arise between the tiger and wild dogs through attempted interference with each other's prey. Otherwise it is not clear why the dogs should molest the tiger.

Bison are occasionally killed by tigers. A tiger's method of attacking a solitary bull-bison has been described to me by jungle-men as consisting in showing himself in the grass and leading the bison to charge, avoiding each rush of the bull, following him on the instant, and striking him behind with the intention of emasculating him. The largest and oldest-looking solitary bison I ever shot had a half-healed mark of a tiger's stroke on the outside of his thigh, a long raking wound of about eighteen inches, which could scarcely have been got in any other way. I once saw the carcass of an old bullock which we had tied for a tiger, and which was killed by a small leopard somewhat in this way. The bullock had been beyond its strength, so it had seized it by the nose, and held on like a bull-dog till the bullock had fallen, when the leopard had bitten the inside of the hind-legs and torn the stomach, and thus killed the bullock without touching the throat. Wild dogs seize deer in this way, so it is possible that the tiger adopts the same plan with bison, whose strength is so much greater than his own. The largest tiger would, of course, have no chance in fair fight with a bull-bison. The latter's brawny throat, with its hide two inches thick, would afford him a difficult hold even could he attain it, and no wrench could dislocate the bison's powerful neck, whilst the tiger would be crushed out of all recognition if once caught between the ground and his antagonist's massive forehead or fore-legs.

As I have already mentioned, however, a tiger occasionally succeeds in killing cow-bison. A case occurred near Morlay where a tigress and her two nearly full-grown cubs attacked a cow-bison that had become separated from the herd. One of the cubs was killed before the bison was overcome, and was found by my men next morning. A few years ago a tiger and a bull of the Amrut Mahal Government breed of cattle at the Commissariat depot at Hoonsoor, near Mysore, had a desperate struggle in the jungles. The bull eventually beat off his antagonist, but was left in a woeful condition, and died in a few hours.

I have never witnessed a tiger actually seize its prey, but it has been described to me by men who have seen the occurrence scores of times within a few yards' distance whilst tending cattle. The general method is for the tiger to slink up under cover of bushes or long grass, ahead of the cattle in the direction they are feeding, and to make a rush at the first cow or bullock that comes within five or six yards. The tiger does not spring upon his prey in the manner usually represented. Clutching the bullock's fore-quarters with his paws, one being generally over the shoulder, he seizes the throat in his jaws from underneath, and turns it upwards and over, sometimes springing to the far side in doing so, to throw the bullock over, and give the wrench which dislocates its neck. This is frequently done so quickly that the tiger, if timid, is in retreat again almost before the herdsman can turn round. Bold animals often kill several head, unsophisticated cattle occasionally standing and staring at the tiger in stupid astonishment ; but herds that are accustomed to these raids only enter the jungle with extreme unwillingness, and frequently stampede back to the village at even the rustle of a bird in a thicket.

Captain Forsyth says : " The tiger's usual way is to seize with the teeth by the nape of the neck, and at the same time use the paws to hold the victim and give a purchase for the wrench that dislocates the neck."

Captain Baldwin, in his Large and Small Game of Bengal, says : " He launches himself upon his victim, and seizing it by the back of the neck (not the throat), brings it to the ground, and then gives that fatal wrench or twist which dislocates the neck. I have examined the carcasses of many scores of bullocks killed by tigers, and have, in the great majority of cases, found the neck broken, and the deep holes at the back of the neck caused by the tiger's fangs." Also :" A tiger, as I have before stated, almost invariably seizes his prey by the back of the neck ; leopards and panthers not unfrequently by the throat."

Now, with due respect for Captains Forsyth and Baldwin's opinions on sporting matters, I beg to differ with them entirely on this point. The tiger does occasionally seize by the nape of the neck, in the case of having to deal with very powerful cattle, but I am convinced this is not his usual method. Out of some hundreds of kills that I have seen, there were only two animals seized in this way. One was a boar, which had eventually beaten off a tigress, though we found him dead several days after, with deep fang-wounds at the back of his head ; and the other was a huge tame bull-buffalo, that might well have defied any tiger but such an one as he succumbed to. The bull was attacked when lying down, and had evidently been seized by the nape of the neck. His immense strength had enabled him to rise, the tiger probably at first maintaining his hold. The antagonists had then separated and closed several times. The ground was torn up, and the fallen leaves were red with blood from the buffalo ; branches eight feet from the ground were splashed with blood blown from his nostrils, or thrown up in his efforts to rid himself of the tiger. He had at last, after a gallant fight, stumbled into a trench, used for conveying water to the gardens wherein the struggle took place, and had been there killed by his ferocious assailant.

It is evident that in the case of beasts with horns a tiger would find them considerably in his way in seizing by the back of the neck. Moreover, the beast would be borne to the ground, where killing it would be a longer affair than by dislocating its neck in the manner described. Dislocation could not be effected on the ground as well as by turning the throat upwards, when the inertia of the beast's carcass before it is overthrown presents a sufficient purchase to effect the dislocation. That the tiger does not seize by the nape of the neck is also apparent from the fact that the gape of the largest is insufficient to take in the neck of big cattle so as to bring the fangs to the lower part of the throat where the fatal marks are always found. I imagine Captain Baldwin must be alone in his experience of finding wounds at the back of the neck.

Cattle are seized by tigers when grazing in the jungles at any hour of the day, but more frequently after three o'clock in the afternoon.

Should the tiger fail in his attempt to seize, he pursues the animal or others of the herd, striking savagely at their hind-legs to hamstring or upset them ; or he gallops round through the bushes, and attacks again from the side or front. The tiger's powers of springing seem inconsiderable. I observed that tigers always forded, never jumped, an irrigation channel not more than eighteen feet wide, that flowed through the jungles near Morlay, and which they frequently crossed during their night's prowls. I have frequently measured the bounds of tigers that have pursued deer, and have found fifteen feet to be about the utmost they usually spring. I have seen it surmised, upon a consideration of the respective size and power of a tiger and of a cat, that the tiger can cover a hundred feet at a bound. Were a flea or grasshopper adopted as the basis of calculation, a much more startling result might be obtained. The popular belief that a tiger slinks away should he fail in his attack is erroneous, as also the belief that he can kill his prey by a stroke of the paw. I have never seen anything to support this belief, nor is it held by natives. Of none of the sportsmen or natives of whom we read as coming under tigers' hands has it ever, as far as I know, been recorded that limbs were broken or death caused by a stroke of the paw only. I have known several cattle escape from tigers, severely lacerated, where, had a heavy blow accompanied the strokes of the paws, bones must have been broken.

There appears to be no foundation for the venerable belief in tigers sucking the blood of their victims. The jugular vein is never, as far as I have observed, injured. It is by fracturing the vertebrae, not by bloodletting, that the tiger's prey is deprived of life. I have known several cases of cattle getting away from tigers after having been seized by them, but escaping the fatal wrench, from the interference of the cow-herds. All but one died of lock-jaw, or from inflammation of the wounds in the throat, but there was no bleeding. The tiger frequently retains its hold on its victim's throat for some time, but probably only till assured that life is extinct. The physical difficulty of producing a vacuum sufficient to cause a flow of blood, whilst the tiger's mouth is opened so widely as to grasp a bullock's throat, would be considerable. A little after sunset, or sooner if the jungles are quiet, the tiger returns and drags the carcass to some retired spot where he commences his meal. In eating the tiger invariably commences at the hind-quarters. The exact spot where the first mouthful will be taken can be told with certainty. The flesh of one or both thighs, and sometimes the flanks, or about 70 Ib. of meat, is eaten the first night.

Tigers seldom lie up far from their " kill" if the cover be thick and quiet ; they eat whenever inclined either by day or night till the carcass is finished ; this is usually on the third day, but it, of course, depends upon the size of the animal killed. After or during a meal the tiger drinks largely, often walking belly-deep into the water. One morning before it was quite light three of my trackers were going to see about some elephants near Morlay, when they heard a tiger on the opposite bank coming towards the river they were going to cross. They got up a tree and saw the tiger march into the water and immerse his head to the eyes, blowing and spluttering as if to wash his jaws. Having lapped as much water as he required, he crossed to underneath the tree up which the men had climbed, and sat down at the foot. They had only cudgels and their cumblies (black blankets) with them. These they threw down altogether upon the unsuspecting tiger, which, to their amusement, dashed off into the jungle with a "wough," in a great state of fright. This was the "Don," a tiger to be mentioned further on, and on which my men were always playing practical jokes.

After a pretty lengthy experience of tigers, and finding that all I had seen had dragged, not carried, their kills, I was disposed to doubt the truth of their ever lifting a full-grown bullock clear off the ground ; but I subsequently saw where this feat had been performed on two occasions by two separate tigers. One of these, an immensely powerful beast, had taken up a bullock weighing probably 400 lb., and carried it through a very dense thicket for about three hundred yards. The other, a small tigress, carried an old bullock some distance through open jungle. These tigers' object in doing this was not apparent, except that their kills had been constantly meddled with, and they may possibly have had some idea of leaving no traces behind them, though it is doubtful if their intelligence were equal to such a flight as this. In both of the above cases the drag of one hind-leg of the bullock was observable here and there.

Tigers frequently astonish those most conversant with their ordinary habits by some erratic conduct, and it is unsafe to condemn as untrue almost anything that may be related of their doings (as long as it is nothing of which they are physically incapable) merely because it is unusual or unprecedented. An account given by two sportsmen a few years ago of a tigress climbing a tree in a wood on the Neilgherry hills was much criticised, and even laughed at, by many who had scarcely perhaps ever seen a tiger out of a menagerie, or at least had never happened to see one up a tree. Tigers are not physically incapable of climbing, and though their doing so is decidedly unusual, there is no reason why they should not occasionally use their powers. I have never seen a tiger in a tree myself, but their claw-marks are constantly to be found where they amuse themselves by springing and clutching the soft bark, sometimes at thirteen feet from the ground. The natives believe that this is done to sharpen their claws, or as a means of relieving irritation in the claws caused by putrid flesh ; and the marks may sometimes be made by juvenile tigers at play. There is one kind of tree called in Canarese "muttaga" (the bastard teak, Buttea frondosa), the bark of which is very soft, and the sap, which it gives forth at the slightest wound, of a blood-red colour. The tiger is particularly fond of clawing this tree, and the imaginative natives ascribe this to his supposed delight at the sight of what he believes to be blood!

The tiger's powers of enduring hunger and thirst are very great. In January 1870, a tiger, tigress, and panther were surrounded with nets by some villagers in a valley near which a friend and myself were encamped. We shot the panther on the first day, but the enclosed thicket was so dense that we could not get the tigers to show, and we had no elephants. On the fifth day, however, we wounded them both. After this, as nothing would make them break cover, we were obliged to send to Mysore for elephants, and we killed them, still full of vigour, on the tenth day. The weather was hot, the circle in which they were enclosed was only seventy yards in diameter, and the heat of the fires kept up day and night all round was considerable. Still they existed without a drop of water for ten days, suffering from wounds half the time. A tiger can go much longer than this without food without serious inconvenience.

The hunting-ranges of tigers are extensive, and are traversed with great expedition. A tiger that I was after on one occasion travelled from Hassanoor to Morlay, about twenty-three miles, within ten hours ; this was his own pace, as he did not know we were following him. Tigers are not often met with in the jungles when not the object of pursuit. During some years of wandering in tigerish localities I have only come upon them accidentally about half-a-dozen times.

Tigresses do not breed at any fixed season. I have taken cubs in March, May, and October. I have twice taken four cubs at a litter, but this is an unusual number two, occasionally three, being more common ; and male and female cubs appear to be in about equal proportions. How it is that amongst mature animals tigresses predominate so markedly, I am unable to say. The tigress probably does not breed oftener than once in two years. I have seen as many as three cubs about four months old with a tigress, but never more than two well-grown ones. The natives say that the tigress feeds her cubs when very young with gobbets of half-digested flesh, which she disgorges on her return from hunting. This is probable, as carrying meat to any distance would be an unnatural proceeding, and the half-digested flesh is probably better adapted to the requirements of young cubs.

When even six weeks old the cubs move from place to place with their mother, but are left at home whilst she hunts. They are led to the feast, if near, when she kills. Even at this tender age they are very cunning, and immediately take a line of their own if intruded upon during their mother's absence. Two cubs, born near Morlay in November 1875, first began to hunt for themselves in the following June, when seven months old. They still, however, remained with the tigress. I returned from Bengal at this time, and took much interest in noting their progress. They had considerable difficulty at this age in killing even old cattle singlehanded, and they scratched them greatly in their attempts. Nor did they attack loose cattle only such as we picketed for them. On one occasion there were evident marks of the mother having sat by whilst the one cub that was then with her killed a bullock. I shot both these young tigers upon their return to feed on animals they had killed : one, the female, on July 29, when she measured 6 feet 3 inches, and weighed 118 lb. ; the other the male, on November 25 ; he measured 6 feet 11 inches, but I was unable to weigh him.

Tiger-cubs are very handsome little beasts, and exceedingly goodtempered ; but it is essential that they should be taken very young, before they have any knowledge of jungle-life, or fear of man, or they cannot be tamed. A month is the outside age for taking them. They show much attachment to their master, following him everywhere, lying under his chair, and sniffing loudly with pleasure when noticed. As soon as meat is given, even to the youngest cubs, they turn up their noses at milk, and will take nothing but meat afterwards. The idea that uncooked flesh makes them savage is, I have satisfied myself, groundless. Cubs will only get on well on raw meat, and as long as they have enough of it, are the best-tempered little animals in the world. When four months old they become formidable in appearance and power, but they may safely be kept loose much longer.

A pair which I gave to his Highness the young Maharajah of Mysore were kept loose until eight months old, and used to play with each other or their keepers, and with a tame bear, very prettily. My experience of tame tigers is that they are neither treacherous nor likely to show any sudden savageness if well fed. I had one of considerable size that used to be loose in my room at night, and though I pillowed and thumped it when it would show its affection for me by jumping on to the bed as soon as I was asleep, it never showed any resentment. I sold a pair of cubs eight months old, as I was ordered to Bengal and could not keep them, for 100.

Having now given some notes on the nature and habits of the tiger, I shall endeavour to describe the usual methods of hunting him.


The pursuit of the tiger with a line of elephants is perhaps the most common method, the sportsman either shooting from the howdah, or from a post selected ahead, towards which the tiger is driven. This plan is chiefly adopted in Bengal in places where the grass is long, and where men on foot would be useless.

Beaters are employed instead of elephants in other parts of India, where the jungle admits of men getting through in line, and is perhaps too thorny or close at about the height of the howdah for shooting from an elephant. In some parts of India, particularly in Mysore, tigers are surrounded with nets and shot from outside, or from the backs of elephants, or even on foot, inside.

Watching for their return to a "kill" or at pouls where they are known to drink, is the method chiefly practised by native shikaries. Poison, spring-guns, pitfalls, and traps are also brought into play, generally where a man-eater is concerned.

I have had very little experience of beating in line with a large number of elephants ; this method is hardly applicable to Southern India, where there are few savannahs of long grass as in Bengal, and where elephants are not so easily obtained.

In shooting either with elephants or beaters, it is essential that the sportsman or some of his men should know the ground well, and the tiger's usual paths to and from the cover to be driven, and the adjacent covers. A tiger scarcely ever moves through very thick cover, preferring paths and comparatively open passages amongst the bushes ; and in driving along a ravine he almost invariably comes along the bank, very seldom down the bed. It is often of great assistance to have " dummies " of natives' clothes, hung here and there on conspicuous bushes, to guide the tiger, but these should be placed so that he may see them from some little distance and not come upon them suddenly, as in that case he may become alarmed and break away. In driving a ravine, a straight reach, and the point therein where the jungle is narrowest, should be selected by the sportsman for his post. In bends, or where the ravine is tortuous, the tiger is likely to cut across a corner. No beat should be begun too near a tiger for fear of alarming him, and causing him to pass the sportsman too quickly for a good shot. Some tigers show almost as soon as the first shout of the beaters is heard, others will not leave the cover till the last moment. It is a good rule never to be off guard until the last man has left the cover, as should the tiger whilst coming along have detected the sportsman, he may lie close, and let the beaters come very near before he breaks. Tigers and other animals display great intelligence in detecting the quarter from which real danger is to be apprehended, and will break back through a line of shouting beaters to avoid the silent sportsman they may have detected ahead.

I had particular facilities for enjoying the sport of tiger-shooting on foot, or from trees, at Morlay. My men were thoroughly up to the habits of the game, and we knew every inch of the covers. There is little danger in this sport if the tiger is not turned back by being fired at from in front. When alongside or past the sportsman he generally dashes ahead if wounded, but if fired at the instant he shows himself he may turn back. Beaters should be ordered to mass together as soon as a shot is fired, and to leave the cover in a body. I used an old bugle for signals, a blast from which meant danger. If it was not sounded when a shot was fired my men knew all was safe ahead, and came on with undiminished confidence. Beaters cannot be expected to drive out a piece of jungle boldly where there is a possibility of a wounded tiger being stumbled upon. I have been fortunate enough never to have had a single accident in tiger-shooting, though I am sure men would have been injured on some occasions had our arrangements not been good.

I generally managed to keep up communication with the men leading the beat by signals, and often found it of great advantage. I had a man posted at some distance from me in a tree, or open space, who could see the advancing beaters and myself. By a wave of a handkerchief, red or white, by the head of the beaters, which was telegraphed to me by the sentinel, I knew if the tiger had been found, had broken back, or was coming along ; and when I have sometimes had to stop a beat I have been able to do so by a signal without losing time. It is very inconvenient to be unable to communicate with beaters without shouting, or sending some one down one's tree with a message. All this training was excellent practice, moreover, for the Morlay people for the more important work of elephant-catching, in which signals with fires or flags upon hill -tops at a distance of some miles were sometimes used. Of course it is but few sportsmen who have opportunities for hunting tigers in this systematic way, but perhaps some of the above hints may be found applicable on most occasions.

There is perhaps no method of shooting tigers so seldom successful as watching for their return to feed on animals they have killed. Almost every sportsman has tried it again and again, and solemnly vowed upon each occasion that it should be his last, generally only to be found at his post on the next tempting opportunity. For my own part I confess to a great liking for the silent and solitary watch ; and as this description of shooting requires the exercise of the sportsman's utmost vigilance and patience, I have never felt any qualms as to its legitimacy. In a shady green median* in some fine tree, watching at the cool of evening that always bewitching hour in the Indian day, when jungle-sounds alone break the stillness, and birds and animals, seldom seen at other times, steal forth, and can be watched at leisure whilst intense excitement is kept alive by the possibility of the tiger's appearance at any moment, I have often wondered how any one can consider being perched upon a tree under a blazing sun whilst a tiger is being driven towards him sport, and use the term poaching in reference to this. How many men have killed their forty or fifty tigers who have never succeeded in bagging one by watching, the fair outwitting of the subtle beast on his own ground ! Give him who prefers the horn-and-tomtom system his diabolical appliances, his calorific post ; but the solitary watch in the hushed evening hours for the lover of nature, for him who can feel the true romance and poetry of solitude in the jungles.

It was not until I had made many unsuccessful attempts to shoot tigers by watching never even seeing one and had cheerfully put down my want of success on each occasion to sheer bad luck, that I began to consider in the ample hours I had aloft for reflection, whether there might not be some mistakes in the arrangements we made for their reception to account for tigers never putting in an appearance, especially as any carcass that was not watched was always revisited. I then saw some of the errors we made, and since rectifying them have been fairly successful. I will therefore venture upon some hints which may perhaps be of service to others.

The reasons why tigers fail to show again at their kills are, either that they have been disturbed in their mid-day retreat whilst the platform was being put up, or have winded or heard the sportsman upon returning to feed. As the tiger kills his prey with the intention of eating it, so he will surely return unless disturbed. To avoid alarming him, the best plan is to tie up a bullock (a natural kill will seldom do as well) in some quiet locality two or three hundred yards from any place where he can remain during the day, and where the line he will take in returning to the place is well defined. This is necessary, as the sportsman can thus have his platform prepared without fear of the tiger's being within hearing, and post himself so that his scent (it should be remembered that the prevailing breezes often change at sunset) may not be blown towards the tiger on his return. These essential points being seen to, it only remains to have the mechan comfortably prepared, and for the sportsman to keep absolutely quiet, and take up his post sufficiently early. The mechan should be about six feet long and three broad, with its length towards the kill, a hole about six inches square being left amongst the leafy branches with which it is to be screened, to see and shoot from. A mattress, pillows, rug, and water-bottle should not be forgotten, as without comfort much of the pleasure of the sport islost. A book should be taken to read till dusk. I never hesitated to smoke whilst upon the watch ; it can do no harm, as if the tiger is in a position to wind the smoke he will most certainly smell the smoker, and tobacco will then add no extra terrors to his flight. I need hardly say that the sportsman must make no audible movement, and can only remain perfectly still if lying down ; in sitting up the feet go asleep, and it then becomes impossible to avoid moving. The leaves for screening the platform should be of a kind that will not dry soon, nor rustle if touched. Some kinds shrivel up in a couple of hours, and crackle with the slightest movement. No one should be allowed on the platform with the sportsman ; a native is absolutely certain to cough at the critical moment. The platform should be placed about fifteen or twenty feet high, when possible, to lessen the chances of the tiger's scenting the sportsman. A tiger rarely looks up unless his attention is attracted by some sound ; but there is great danger of his winding the sportsman. There is no objection on the score of safety in having it lower, as tigers never attempt an escalade when suddenly startled. The cases in which they have injured sportsmen in trees have occurred when their ire has been roused by being driven about by beaters. As soon as the jungles are quiet the tiger may be expected, and the sportsman should seldom watch for him beyond half-past eight in the evening, as if he intend to come he will have put in an appearance before that time. Nor should he take up his post later than four o'clock, as a tiger often conies long before sundown. A tigress for which I was watching on one occasion returned to her kill at three in the afternoon of a very hot day. I expected her early and had taken up my post at two o'clock. On this occasion the position was a difficult one, as there was no choice between a bush too close to the "kill" and a tree too far away. I was obliged to take the former, and laying some poles across the bush I had an elephant's pad placed on them, and green boughs arranged round as a screen. I was only seven feet from the ground, and on a very unstable arrangement. I had been watching about an hour, when suddenly, without other notice of her approach, there was the cautious but firm tread that sound which there is no mistaking, and which once heard cannot be forgotten of the tigress in the dead leaves under me ! She had, unfortunately, approached from behind, and taking advantage of my bush as a last point of observation, had entered it ! I was within three feet of her ! I need not say she detected me in an instant, but drew back so stealthily that I did not hear her leave, and I remained in the pleasant position of imagining her within arm's-length for a quarter of an hour. At last the excitement overpowered my physical control, and I could not help moving, and looking I found she was gone. I left, so as not to risk frightening her further, and she returned after dark and dragged the bullock away. Mosquitoes never give much trouble in fine weather up till half-past eight at night. Three or four days before full moon, and about two days after, is the best time for watching. Nothing can be done in dark nights. The kill may be dragged a few yards to afford a better shot if necessary. Tigers do not mind this at all; but it should be left within easy sight of the place where it was left, so that when the tiger returns he can see it immediately as it lies. The idea that touching or interfering with a kill will prevent the tiger's devouring more of it is quite unfounded. Carcasses are constantly pulled about by vultures and jackals during the tiger's absence. Let any one move a carcass a few yards one that is not watched ; it will be seen that the tiger returns to it without hesitation. In tying a live bullock for a tiger, the rope should be put round the base of his horns or one fore-leg. I have had to secure some bullocks with a chain when I wanted the carcass left on the spot, to prevent tigers that had acquired the habit from biting the rope, which they will do if they want to drag their prey to cover, and cannot break the tie.


In some parts of Mysore the villagers are accustomed to surround tigers with nets, and then to shoot or spear them. This is the only method (except watching) by which they can be brought to bag where the cover is too continuous to be easily driven. It may seem unsportsmanlike to shoot a tiger through a net, but as far as danger goes there is perhaps as much as in shooting him from a tree.

The method of enclosing the tiger within the nets is as follows : The nets used are made of ½-inch rope with a 9 -inch mesh, and are 40 feet long by 12 deep. When a tiger is known to be in any particular cover, perhaps a densely-wooded ravine, a path is cleared across some distance from where he lies, and a line of nets is set up 8 or 10 feet high, the extra depth lying on the ground ; the nets are extended into the open on both sides.

A hundred or a hundred and fifty Torreas or Oopligas, the only castes who take part in this sport, are usually engaged. Men armed with spears conceal themselves behind the row of nets at different points, and a flanking line is posted on each side of the cover to prevent the tiger breaking out sideways. A few climb commanding trees to give notice of his movements, whilst the main body of beaters commence at the head of the ravine and drive him towards the nets. Under these circumstances tigers and panthers act very differently. Panthers frequently rush ahead and precipitate themselves into the nets, when they are speared on the spot, or effect their escape. But a tiger, however much he may be alarmed at the noise behind, keeps a careful look-out ahead. His passage onwards is signalled by the men in the trees, and when he appears near the nets the spearmen show themselves ; he then generally draws back, and as care is always taken to enclose a particularly thick piece of jungle within the nets, he conceals himself. The beaters close in from behind in a compact line, carrying spare nets. Should the tiger try to break back he is received with shouts, which generally drive him back. Having reduced the area to about a hundred yards in diameter, the nets are quickly run up all round. The main ropes (which pass through the bottom and top meshes all along the nets) are fastened to convenient trees ; the nets are supported at the height of ten feet by forked poles inside and out, inclining towards each other, and secured together at the top ; logs of trees and heavy stones are laid upon the foot all round, and pegs are driven in to prevent the logs being moved. The extra depth of two feet or so of nets is brought up round the logs, and wattled above with cross sticks, thus making the net double for about two feet from the ground. In this way a barrier of great strength is formed ; it cannot be easily pulled down by the tiger, and is too pliable to afford him an effective blow. It is a strange fact that tigers never attempt to jump over the nets, as they might easily do ; panthers occasionally do so. At night fires are lit all round, and spearmen drive the tiger back if he shows himself. A whole day is often taken up in rendering the enclosure secure.

Preparations for killing him are now commenced. Fifteen or twenty picked spearmen enter the enclosure with a few men provided with longhandled choppers ; the duty of the latter is to clear a path fifteen feet in width across the enclosure, thus dividing it into two parts, the spearmen acting as a guard the while. The object of the path is that the tiger may be shot when driven across it. This going inside an enclosure with a tiger that has been excited perhaps for two or three days, and has failed in all his attempts to escape, would appear, to those who do not know the true nature of the animal, to be inviting certain death ; but the men keep well together, and a tiger has never been known to charge home amongst them. His position seems to have the effect of cowing him. After he has been wounded the men seldom venture within the nets.

If, after being fired at, the tiger keeps in the thick cover, and everymeans fail to stir him, and elephants are not at, hand, the looking him up is a service of sufficient danger. The tiger may be dead, but he is perhaps only badly wounded ; in such cases the only thing is for the sportsman to go in with a strong body of men with spears (these would, of course, be of little use in meeting a charge, but the having some weapon in hand gives confidence), when the tiger can be shot as he lies, or in charging, or retreating.

I have on several occasions hunted up tigers in this way, and I must say I never yet saw one really charge home into a body of men. Fifteen or twenty men used to such work, and who will stand and not be intimidated, as many of the Oopligas and Torreas of Mysore will do, are, I am sure, quite safe. I do not believe that any tiger man-eater, wounded, or tigress with cubs, dares to charge home into a determined and close party of men.

Tiger-netting is generally carried out for the amusement of European officers by the headmen of villages, but the natives will occasionally, if a tiger becomes troublesome, hunt him in this way themselves. In such cases, as they seldom have firearms to shoot him, nets are set up in the cleared path across the enclosure, and arranged so as to collapse to his charge, and envelop the tiger when he is driven across. A dozen bold fellows station themselves behind a screen of bushes, and the rest go inside and drive the tiger towards them, when he is generally speared as he struggles in the nets. The spears used have blades a foot long and three inches broad, with bamboo handles six feet in length, and can be driven through a tiger. A few seconds thus suffice to make an end of him. Should he get free at the moment the men rush upon him one or two are often knocked over, but the nets generally hold him.

Strychnine is occasionally used for destroying tigers. As I have before said, I was for some time employed by orders of Government in killing the tigers in parts of Mysore ; and though I only poisoned three the others that I killed being by legitimate methods I turned my attention at the time to experiments with poisons.

There is no difficulty in making a tiger take a dose. I tried strychnine on several occasions until I found out the best way to apply it. The first time I gave four grains to a large tiger. He ate about half the quantity of meat he would otherwise have done, the poison affecting him before he completed his meal, and he then vomited and drank at a pool near, rolling at every few yards, evidently in great agony. This tiger was severely affected for some days, and my men brought me news of him, groaning and roaring in different parts of the jungle. I was too busy with elephant-catching at the time to look after him, and he recovered. In the second case I used nine grains ; a tiger, tigress, and large cub fed off the carcass, but the tigress alone took the poisoned portion. She threw up a good deal of flesh (and covered it over with dry leaves), and rolled about a good deal. Further on she threw up the strychnine upon some fine clean sand in the bed of a ravine, and the saliva sinking into the sand the grains of strychnine were left almost intact upon the surface. This tigress then went for miles without showing any further symptoms of being affected. In the third case I put nine grains into a bullock, after looking for the tiger that had killed it during the day. We had disturbed him, so he did not return that night. Next morning the bullock had swelled to an enormous size and the wound was dripping a gelatinous matter. I put a couple of men to watch during the day to keep off the vultures, and by evening fully a quart of fluid had dripped and coagulated below. The tiger returned at night and ate half the bullock, and finished it the next night, so he could not have felt the poison ; and I believe, from this and similar experiments, that strychnine is worked off from dead flesh in a few hours.

I subsequently hit upon a fatal method of applying poison. I do not intend to divulge the secret, as district officers with strongly-developed utilitarian views would be enabled to poison off all the tigers in their ranges by this means, which, judging from the operations in a single district in Madras, some who do not pause to consider the useful features of the tiger's presence might not hesitate to do. The success I attained in my first, and I hope last, experiment, as far as tigers are concerned, was painfully complete.

Two old bullocks that were yoked together were killed by a tiger close to my camp. The original slayer was joined at dinner by two tigresses, and the three ate the whole of one bullock, leaving the other untouched. In the morning I had the remaining carcass guarded from the vultures, and late in the afternoon I applied the poison in the way I had devised. Next morning we found the three tigers had dragged the bullock into some rocks and bushes about a hundred and fifty yards distant, with bare country all round, and no water in the rocks. Not knowing that they were dead, I sent to Captain C. of the Revenue Survey, who was in camp at a village four miles distant, and with another friend, who was staying with me, set out with five elephants about 11 A.M. We posted ourselves in trees across the line we expected the tigers to take, and sent the elephants with the trackers on them to beat them out of the rocks.

From my tree I could see the elephants clambering about the rocks, and the men keeping a sharp look-out ; presently I heard a shout that one tiger was dead, and soon afterwards another. The mahout of an elephant that was in advance now found the third. Shrieks of laughter and much merriment followed an inspection of the "bodies," and a tracker came running for us. I confess I had never expected such slaughter. I was not certain, having only seen tigers affected before, that my new plan would succeed, and I felt like a murderer when I viewed the unfortunate victims.

My men took a very different and exceedingly cheerful view of the case, exclaiming delightedly, "Oh, this is good ! here have our master and we been risking our throats" (clutching their necks with appropriate gesture, and giving the dislocating twist that they considered we had been placing ourselves in peril of) "in poking about after tigers for months, when one dose of this capital ' medicine ' would have done. This is the thing for the future." And when the tigers were padded they preceded the elephants, singing anything but a dirge. My own feelings as we followed the cortege may be imagined, nor did my companions spare me.

I should say that the male tiger had commenced to eat first, and the poison must have been almost instantly fatal, as he lay within four yards of the carcass. He had not struggled at all ; he must have felt the poison, turned away, and dropped dead. One tigress was on her back thirty yards distant, the other near her ; the latter had struggled slightly. As a proof of the almost instantaneous effect of the poison in this instance not more than an half-a-dozen pounds of flesh had been eaten. Upon being moved, a quantity of blood ran from the nostrils of all three tigers.

Traps are not now often used for tigers : a few used to be caught alive in ordinary mouse-trap-shaped cages in the time of the late Maharajah of Mysore ; and there was, when I was last there, one of these cages, mounted upon wheels, decaying in the Hoonsoor jungles. The bait used was a goat, partitioned off by iron bars at the far end of the cage, as a native is loath to give even a sprat to a whale if he can catch him without. How tigers can ever have been such simpletons as to enter these structures is incomprehensible.

I once saw a novel kind of trap in a hill where a tiger had been recently caught by propping up a flat slab, as in an ordinary bricktrap for birds, over a recess between two rocks, and baiting with a goat.

Tigers are occasionally caught in pitfalls. One fell into a sambur-pit that some Sholagas on the Billiga-rungun hills had dug near their cultivation whilst I was there shooting on one occasion, but though severely staked it got out : the pit was only four feet deep, but narrow at the bottom, and the tiger had had a long task to free himself. Old Bommay Gouda used to kill a good many tigers in his younger days by dead-fall traps, made of bamboos and loaded with stones ; the natives construct these very ingeniously. I once had a huge iron spring-trap like the ordinary scissors rat-trap. It was originally made by a sporting district officer for catching panthers, which did a good deal of damage amongst the game in his domain, but was found to be too slow for them, as they sprang away in time to avoid the jaws. It was twelve feet long, with two springs that required a man of ten stone weight standing on each to put down. The bait-plate was eighteen inches square, the jaws about three feet long, and closing at a foot and a half above the plate. I am convinced no tiger would ever have got out of it if he could only have been got in, unless he had left his leg behind ; but though it was sprung by a famous tiger the "Don," to be mentioned further on we never got hold of him. I used to set it by cutting a recess in a thorny bush, and tying a goat inside, with the trap, covered with a few twigs or grass, at the entrance ; the ends were thrust into adjoining bushes. How the Don found the snare out the first time we could never tell, but he forced his way through the bush from behind and took away our goat. He did this again at a second place. The third time we fenced the goat in, except on the side of the trap, with such horrible thorns that even the Don could not get through them. This time he sprang the trap, and must have jumped back at the same instant : he then secured the goat. We tried the trap at different places ; but he took the goats away, springing the trap each time, and then carrying them off at his leisure, so frequently, that we had to bring back our inglorious trap after the loss of a small flock of goats, and I never tried it again. This showed astonishing intelligence in this tiger a point in which the animal is entitled to rank high in the brute creation. The shrewdness displayed by them on occasions shrewdness removed from mere instinct is very marked. The most unsophisticated tigers, after being hunted unsuccessfully once or twice, become so alive to danger from any source that it is most difficult to circumvent them."

[Quelle: Sanderson, G. P. (George P.):  Thirteen years among the wild beasts of India: their haunts and habits from personal observations; with an account of the modes and capturing and taming elephants.  -- 5th ed.  --  London, W. H. Allen, 1893.  -- xviii, 387 S. : Ill. ;  23 cm. -- S. 266 - 292. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-14. -- Dort auch weitere lesenswerte Kapitel über den Tiger. ]