Tiger Predators: These 5 Animals Can Kill and Eat Tigers

Written by Chanel Coetzee
Updated: September 25, 2023
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Tigers are the biggest wild cat in the world, outcompeting the lion in many ways. They are apex predators that rule the jungle. But, because these cats are solitary, they are more susceptible to an attack than a lion who lives in a pride. Of the five species of tigers remaining, the Bengal tiger has the highest population, although they are still endangered. Their biggest threat is humans, who hunt them for their meat, fur, bones,  teeth, and genitalia (used in medicine). But what else eats tigers?

This is a list of 5 animals that can actually take down a tiger!

What Eats Tigers?

While there are several animals that kill tigers, few actually eat them, except for humans, dholes, and maybe crocodiles. The animals with the strength or tools to kill these big cats mainly do so in defense. But tigers do have to worry about their cubs as there are many animals that can do them harm. So, without further ado, here are the five predators that can kill tigers:

  • Dholes
  • Elephant
  • Crocodile
  • Bear
  • Humans

Tigers weigh around 400 pounds, depending on the specie and gender; they can also hit with a force of 10,000 pounds. So, it’s easy to see why they don’t have many natural enemies. However, let’s take a look at the animals that can take on a tiger.

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Tiger Predators: Dholes

Wild Dog Breeds: Dhole

The dhole is a wild dog native to Asia.

©Nimit Virdi/Shutterstock.com

It might be hard to see how dholes can take down a tiger. But they work as a pack; if they find an injured female tiger or her cubs, they can outnumber her during an attack. Dholes are wild dogs that occur in Asia. They are about the same size as a German shepherd, and there are between five to 20 members in a pack. In addition, they are incredibly athletic, making them excellent swimmers, jumpers, and runners. These skills are essential for their hunting style and defense mechanisms.

Tiger Predators: Elephant

Asian elephants eating together

Asian elephants can stomp, and crush a tiger.

©CherylRamalho/Shutterstock.com

Some tigers are brave enough to hunt elephant calves and sometimes adult elephants. But do elephants kill tigers? The answer is yes! While tigers will avoid an angry adult elephant at all costs, sometimes they are not so lucky. Elephants live in herds and are very emotional animals that understand and grieve death. So, if a tiger tries to kill one of their babies, they will fight back by using their trunks to push the tiger away or try to stomp on the big cat. In 2021, rangers discovered a dead female tiger in Wayanad, India. After a postmortem, doctors explained that the tiger was crushed by a herd of elephants.

Tiger Predators: Crocodile

Crocodile exposing its teeth

Crocodiles have enough jaw power to kill a tiger with one bite.

©iTENG/Shutterstock.com

A crocodile can eat a tiger if given the opportunity. While big cats aren’t usually part of a croc’s diet, they will eat anything if they are hungry enough. But can they actually take a tiger? If this battle occurs in the water, there is a chance the crocodile can come out on top. However, tigers are excellent swimmers, so if the croc doesn’t have the element of surprise, the attack will be unsuccessful. The crocodile only has one chance to get the tiger in its jaws, and if it fails, the tiger will take control of the fight and kill the croc; not even their thick skin will be able to save them.

Tiger Predator: Bear

Brown Bear Showing Teeth

A

brown bear

is twice the size of a male tiger.

©PhotoBarmaley/Shutterstock.com

Tigers are known to kill bears because they have to fight over the same resources, but it goes a step further. Bears will actually follow tigers when they are hunting and steal their kill. But, while tigers often kill bears, can bears defeat tigers? Brown bears can weigh up to 800 pounds, twice the size of a male tiger, so their attacks can be fatal. But their size is not the only reason they can overpower this big cat; they also have long, sharp claws, strong jaws, and big, sharp teeth. So, while the tiger will definitely put up a fight if the bear has the element of surprise, the tiger doesn’t stand a chance.

Tiger Predators: Humans

Hunter Aiming Rifle Gun

Humans are the biggest threat to tigers.

©timotheos/Shutterstock.com

To many people’s surprise, some humans eat tigers. In Asia, tiger meat is an expensive delicacy. However, natives have more uses for several tiger body parts. They are also hunted for their fur, bones, teeth, and genitals. Asian healers use tiger bones in their medicines, and people eat their genitals because they think it’s an aphrodisiac. Because these big cats are endangered, it’s illegal to kill them, but many poachers still do because they are worth a lot of money on the black market.

Summary of Tiger Predators: These 5 Animals Can Kill and Eat Tigers

RankAnimalMethod
1DholePack tactics
2ElephantTusk and gore
3CrocodileBite
4BearClaws and bite
5HumanRifle

Can a Tiger Kill a Gorilla?

Adult alpha male gorilla yawns irritably, showing dangerous fangs and teeth. Dominant male gorilla yawns with his mouth open.

A

gorilla

would be a formidable foe for a tiger.

©Okyela/Shutterstock.com

It is interesting to imagine fights between some of the great beasts of the world. The tiger and gorilla are two of the strongest animals in the world. Pitting them against each other surely would be a great battle!

Like other big cats, tigers rely on stealth to hunt and stalk their prey. They also are smart enough to look for weak, young, lame, and aging individuals rather than taking on healthy, fully-grown adults. They will, however, go outside this framework if they are starving. An adult silverback gorilla would not be a tiger’s first choice for dinner, but let’s just think about the altercation.

In a stealth strike situation, a tiger would have the upper hand. With a pounce attack, tigers are able to deploy their long-toothed bites and slashing claws, which can be paired with a raking back claw attack once they’ve established a grip. In most cases, this would spell victory for the tiger.

On even ground and without surprise, the gorilla would fare much better and be able to use its strong arms to help it get close for a bite attack. If it could close distance and move into a grabbling match, the gorilla could do real damage. Yet, the ape still probably weighs two hundred or so pounds less than the tiger. As long as the tiger has enough room to jockey for position, it could maneuver around to find the best angle for a leaping attack upon the great ape and ultimately dealing a killing blow.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Henris94


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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

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