Every once in a while, we get reminded that we aren’t the apex predator on this planet. A pair of bikers riding in Pambra, Wayanad, India, near the Nagarhole National Park and Tiger Reserve, received a reminder of this fact. As they were riding down the road, out of the corner of their eyes they caught sight of a tiger stalking them, keeping pace until it broke from the forest and onto the road. The bikers narrowly outpaced the predator.
Whether the great cat was simply playing, or if it was actually coming in for the kill is anyone’s guess, but it would be enough to scare anyone.
Tigers are the largest species of the Felidae family—a grouping of mammals that are most commonly referred to as cats and include all felines from your house cat to the great cats like lions and tigers. Tigers usually prey on deer and wild boar, though they have been known to take down other prey as well.
Tigers can be very territorial and tend to be solitary, though they can be social hunters as well. The Siberian Tiger can weigh up to 675 pounds, and it has the strength to kill animals twice its size. With a bite force of around 1,000 psi, the tiger hunts by snapping a prey’s neck after springing a carefully laid ambush (as in the video). They are also fast–at full sprint speed, a tiger can run 49 to 65 kilometres per hour.
These riders were in actual danger. Though tiger attacks are rare, they do happen. Each year, up to 50 people are killed in India and Bangladesh by tiger attacks. An estimated 1 million people have been eaten by tigers over the last century, and reports tally the deaths of 373,000 people due to tiger attacks between 1800 and 2009. Authorities warn against riding bikes or running through areas known to have tigers as doing so may trigger a chase from the otherwise solitary predators.
These bikers are lucky that they were moving as fast as they were, otherwise they might just have received an invitation to dinner that they didn’t want to accept.