Your Stomach Will Sink Watching This Tiger Lunge At An Elephant Carrying A Rider On Its Back

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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: November 9, 2023

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Continue reading for our analysis... Bengal Tiger in Karnataka, India
© Paul Mannix / CC BY 2.0, Flickr

Although national parks are open for visitors, those who show up are still partaking in an environment filled with the unpredictability of wildlife. In this video, a Bengal tiger pops up out of nowhere, displaying aggression toward an elephant (rider atop it) minding its own business.

Where Is Bandhavgarh National Park?

Bandhavgarh National Park is situated in Tala, India. It’s well known for its Bengal tiger population but there are many species that call this national park home. They include striped hyenas, Asiatic jackals, Bengal foxes, wild pigs, jungle cats, leopards, spotted deer, palm squirrels, lesser bandicoot rats, common langurs, sloth bears, and more!

Can Bengal Tigers And Elephants Coexist?

Elephant vs Tiger
Elephants are highly intelligent and will protect their young


©Wildberry India/

Bengal tigers and elephants can and do coexist, especially when they are squeezed into the same environment. It’s not common for a tiger to hunt and try to take down an elephant. They are significantly larger than tigers, and tigers, unlike lions, hunt alone. Their social interactions are brief and primarily for mating purposes. Although they’re the biggest of all the big cats, they do not possess the strength or size required to take down an adult elephant. There have been cases, however, of tigers hunting elephant calves.

Bengal Tiger Lunges At Elephant Carrying A Rider

Elephants are very large animals and would win a fight with a tiger.


When the video below starts, white words on a black screen read “Unusual stuffs: Because everything in this world is not usual.” Immediately after, you’re in Bandhavgarh National Park, there’s a man seated atop an elephant as it walks just ahead of the man holding the camera. In the very first second of the clip, you only see dry brush around the elephant with some green trees in the backdrop. The Bengal tiger has found good cover in the brush and startles everyone present when it moves in.

It growls loudly and moves swiftly, lunging toward the elephant, looking up at it threateningly. The man on top of the elephant holds on for dear life as the elephant abruptly stops and starts taking a few steps backward. The tiger is ferocious but the sheer difference in size seems enough to deter it. The elephant retreats a bit as the tiger continues displaying its aggression before turning its back and running back into the dry brush.

The elephant keeps it in its sight for a few more moments, seemingly aware that the tiger isn’t done trying to establish dominance. You can hear a car turn on in the background as if to say, “We’re out of here!” The tiger comes running back toward the elephant, growling when suddenly the elephant trumpets, letting the tiger know it’s not going to be intimidated. The tiger runs off as the man holding the camera expresses his amazement, saying “Wow, my goodness!”

Is This Normal Behavior?

Growl Tiger

Tigers are fierce hunters, but seldom do they attack fully grown elephants.

©next143/iStock via Getty Images

Because tigers are such formidable beasts, it is hard to imagine them not being able to take down any animal. That is not the case when it comes to hunting elephants. Moreover, the presence of a human with the elephant normally would cause even the hungriest tiger to shy away. This is why this video depicts a very rare occurrence.

Elephants are too strong and powerful for a solo tiger to take down. Even if they managed a surprise attack, it is hard to believe that a tiger would escape the confrontation without severe injuries.

Generally, tigers will find smaller, weaker prey than elephants to stalk. But as environments are shrinking and the appearance of humans in their hunting territories becomes more common, maybe these types of tiger attacks will become less and less rare.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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