Tigers, Lions and Bears Oh My

Hello Everyone,

I’ve seen a bunch of videos of people playing with baby Lions, tigers and such. As these animals grow older can the people that raised then still do things like cuddle with them and play with them? Or will they get mailed?

It’s often both. Remember Siegfried or Roy? (I don’t know which one was mauled) People in close contact with dangerous animals often get injured, or killed.

Nah, they don’t know about stamps.
As for mauled, well, there’s a reason they’re called wild animals. The next time it happens won’t be the first.

Christian the Lion


[quote=“Duckster, post:4, topic:755721”]

Christian the Lion


Wonderful story.

BTW: Read the story of Boy the lion mentioned in your wiki link.

Lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, apes, wolves, and more. Even if raised among humans completely in a friendly environment from birth, there is always a chance they will attack and maul/kill a human. Doesn’t matter if they’ve had a long history of gentle behavior. And what triggers these domesticated wild animals to attack is not always apparent. (I guess domesticated is the wrong word to use).

Our normally domestic animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, etc have had many generations of the wildness bred out of them. These animals can be raised to be completely safe to be around (unless provoked).

Perfectly docile, tame, domesticated humans occasionally go berserk and maul other humans. Are there any comparative statistics to compare the danger of “tame” wild animals with the danger of “tame” humans?

I think I’d feel a bit safer with a “tame” lion than a tiger. Lions, unlike most big cats, are somewhat social critters. I suspect that a lion would be more likely to recognize humans as “family” if it grew up with them. Like that story about Christian the Lion. I would not expect a tiger or most other big cats to behave like that. (ETA: There’s another big cat that, I’ve read, is relatively benign towards humans – but I don’t remember which one. Jaguar? Anybody know?)

Remember Travis the Chimp, the domesticated chimp who went berserk and chewed someone’s face and fingers off? That’s not “supposed” to happen, but now everyone is really worried about people keeping chimps. The fact was, as I recall, Travis had been fed Xanax, and was very possibly (I speculate) having Xanax withdrawal trouble at the time. Based on my personal experience with the similar drug Klonopin, I’d have chewed someone’s face off too.

You’re most likely thinking of cheetahs.


The article you site says, “Most animals, including big cats, can be trained to some extent, but cheetahs tend to have a comparatively tamer temperament than the others”

Okay, that sounds good, but then later in the same article it says, “You can never assume that because a wild animal has received training, even extensive training, it is somehow now “safe” for humans to engage with”

Did it really sound so good? Watch out for words like some extent, and comparatively.

In the bear department, we have Mark Dumas, who has been a companion to a polar bear since it was six weeks old.

This is the dictionary definition of trust.

I once saw a documentary about a tiger keeper who continued to play with his tigers even when they were adult. That said, his “play” was purposeful in that he put great effort into maintaining a position of superiority and control over the animal. It is NOT without risk and NOT something to be done by amateurs.

I recall another anecdote from a woman who kept wolves. She treated them much like we would treat dogs. One day she tripped in the kitchen and fell down. She immediately got to her feet and started beating the shit out of the wolves. Even though she had raised them, she could not afford to let them see her as “weak” or they might attack her and attempt to claim superiority. This is the kind of mentality you are dealing with when you try to raise dangerous animals.

I wouldn’t know, but perhaps it’s the kind of mentality you are dealing with with batshit crazy animal trainers.

Read about Travis the chimpanzee who attacked a woman, ripping off her face and damaging her hands.

And Daine Whipple mauled to death by a dog, and then the batshit crazy owners blamed HER.

Don’t try this at home, folks …

Speaking of blaming the victim…

Right. Thing is, you have to be a bit goofy in the first place to own a dangerous wild animal as a pet. A really sane well-adjusted person would get a dog or a cat or a horse. So there’s already something guaranteed to be wrong with you if you think having a tiger for a pet is a good idea.

Wild animals can be “tamed”. Domesticated animals are just generally more tractable and responsive to training; they are born “tamer”. Compare zebra and horses.

Any animal (including humans, as noted upthread) can be capable of injuring humans. Larger ones more so than smaller, just because.

From my reading about horses when my daughter started riding (much of it on SDMB), people who work with large animal livestock (ya know, the domesticated ones) pretty much accept that they will be physically hurt by their animals from time to time (“not so much if, but when”).

I’m guessing that the addition of pointy teeth and predatory instincts don’t make animals safer to be around.

Now for my anecdote, relayed to me by a keeper at a zoo I used to hang out at when I was young. A male tiger kept there had been raised from cubhood by a bigwig at the zoo. Although he would no longer play with the adult male, he would reach through the bars from time to time to stroke his head, and this was received affectionately. One time he did this after an adult female had been enclosed with him (for a mating opportunity). He supposed it was safe, as she was on the other side of the enclosure, but she jumped clear across the enclosure (which was rather small by modern standards, but still a fair distance) and grabbed his arm, severely mauling it.

Well, the Whipple death is different. The dogs, although nominally considered domesticated animals, were probably more dangerous than simple wild animals.

Note that news articles at the time estimated Bane’s weight at 123 pounds. Dogs typically get larger as the news cycle matures.

In addition to chaining the dogs away from human company (which no doubt had the effect of further alienating them from humans), Coumbs completely lost control of the dogs:

Source: SFGate.com article

So these dogs were purchased by the Aryan Brotherhood to fight, brutalized and ignored by an incompetent caretaker, and then taken in by lawyers who admired the imprisoned murderer who organized the dogfighting ring. Talk about a scenario set up for failure.

Let’s not forget that Diane Whipple was a lesbian, which the dog’s owners argued contributed to her death.