Why would a presumably "tame" tiger suddenly attack?

I just want to point out that this wasn’t a tiger who had been doing the act hundreds of times. It was its first time on stage and if I read correctly, it was trying to leave when Roy kept urging it back onto stage. At one point it bit him on the arm and Roy started hitting it with a water bottle on the nose, then it lunged.

No, sorry. You’ve read the first reports on the situation. Go to Yahoo news or something, and you’ll find mentioned repeatedly that the hotel admits that S and R just said that to heighten tension. That tiger was a long way from its first performance.

At what age might a tiger become demented? The above explanations seem plausible, but I also wonder about neurological changes. The tiger was 7, right?

Exactly. There’s no such thing as a tame tiger…or tame any other type of wild animal.

The only animal I would consider tame are cows. Anything you can hunt with a hammer qualifies as tame in my book.

Heh . . . then I guess cockroaches must be tame :smiley:

Roy is gay?

I’m so embarrassed, but that thought never occurred before to me.

Probably because I can go months, even years, without thinking about Siegfried and Roy at all.

Roy was gay. This may have scared him straight :smiley:

Here’s the best link for the latest news on the affaire du tigre dingue: http://www.reviewjournal.com

"On Tuesday, Yuman reiterated that there are no plans to destroy the tiger, Montecore.

“‘His future is bright,’ Yuman said. ‘A tiger is a tiger. We understand.’”

His future is bright? What’s first on the agenda, Larry King? Maybe Dateline NBC next (take out Maria Shriver with a paw swipe.)

My loving fluffy kitty (back when he was still alive) was very affectionate. He loved me, he wanted cuddling all the time, he would lick my face (this is typical carnivore submissive behavior). But occasionally he’d swat my hand with his claws, or nip me. He didn’t want to kill me, I don’t know if he really even wanted to hurt me. He just reacted instinctively to some stimuli…maybe he got flea bite and thought it was my fault. Whatever the reason, he would sometimes give me scratches and occasionally break the skin. And this was a loving, tame animal, whose species had been domesticated for thousands of years.

Now imagine the exact same friendly kitty, but weighing 500 pounds. His little scratches and nips would be lethal to a puny human like me. One swat with his itty-bitty paws would take your head off. And all it takes is one incident, and you are kitty food. Even if the kitty loved you and didn’t really want to harm you.

If you are interested in the interplay between humans and tigers, and also would like to read a very good book (which won the Booker Prize last year), I highly recommend Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. A short set up: Young Pi, the son of a zoo-keeper, is shipwrecked and set adrift on a 26 foot life boat, together with a 450 pound bengal tiger. His only hope is to gain and maintain the “alpha male” position within the boat. An amazing book.

I was in a cage with a lion one time. She was still a cub, I suppose, but was still taller than me by about a foot when on her hind legs and she must have weighed a couple of hundred pounds.
At one point she had the muscle of my upper arm in her mouth and seemed to be ripping it off the bone (at least that’s how it felt). I told her owner and he told me to hit her on the nose. So I did. 'tap tap tap". “No”, he said, “hit her”. So he hauls off and clocks this lion. Lion lets me go and drops down on all fours. There seemed to be no other reaction from the lion and it didn’t seem to hurt her at all.
When I read about Roy it said that he tapped the tiger on the nose with a microphone. It may be that Roy, at that point, didn’t percieve any real danger and was unwilling to hit the tiger as hard as is necessary to let him know he meant business. I can understand that as it would probably freak out the audience seeing what, to them, would be a solid punch. The cat may have then either thought that it was playtime or time to assert dominance since Roy, in his eyes failed to act dominantly.
This is all just a guess on my part. I’m no zoologist. And maybe none too bright either getting into a cage with a lion.

“Since 1990, there have been at least 151 dangerous incidents involving big cats in 34 states. Two children have lost their lives, and more than 40 others have lost limbs or suffered other injuries. Eleven adults have been killed, and scores have been mauled.”


Celine Dion. Please please please please…

Siegfried Crumbaker IS on Larry King tonight (Oct. 8). Gotta catch that.

Celine shouldn’t be too difficult–she’s a couple of blocks up the Strip. Just hold a scrap of her clothing up to Montecore’s nose and whisper “You GO, boy!” He’ll run like the wind.

tonbo’s link has a story with Siegfried’s answer to the OP’s question, in fact …

As usual in a case of severe meltdown in a normally flawless process, it looks like there was a cascade of failures. Something in the environment or in the audience made the tiger nervous; Roy, trying to compensate and calm the animal down, left the standard routine and then stumbled, which turned ‘nervous’ into ‘panicky’.

An animal is an animal is an animal. Haven’t you ever been scratched or nipped by a “friendly” house cat/dog/rabbit?

Well, take that little scratch or nip and magnify it by *500. You’ll be lucky to make to the ER!

Anyway, doesn’t this attack on Roy even things up a little? You know, after those soldiers killing that Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad zoo?

IIRC, a swat on the nose is a normal feline “domination” signal - cats in the wild do it to each other (or the Big Cat does to anyone who acts up), housecats do it to each other, and it’s often used when training your pet cat - a very gentle tap of the fingertip on the nose when kitty starts chewing on your sleeve or whatever along with a verbal “No”. Scale “very gentle tap” up from 10 pound housecat to 300 pound lion and I can see where a punch would be necessary.

I spoke to a dog trainer who had worked with exotic animals for many years, including tigers. After elephants the tigers scared him the most - no matter how much they look like big cuddly cats and no matter that they’ve eaten treats from your hand, they are very large, dangerous, hard-wired predators. When he was walking around the outside of the enclosure a tiger would be constantly stalking him on the inside (he said that the sight of a 600 pound tiger “hiding” behind a few tall weeds would have been funny if it wasn’t an animal that could eat him). When he had to go in to leave food and treats (such as an entire horse’s head), even though Fluffy was in a seperate enclosure he got in, left the goodies and got out ASAP, looking all around him the entire time.

As far as Roy is concerned I ditto the other posts - there is no such thing as a tame tiger. There are simply tigers that haven’t decided to eat you yet. I love 'em and think that they’re majestic animals but no way am I getting that close to one.

One of the most disturbing dreams I have ever had was that there was a tiger in my apartment–in fact, in the room between me and the front door. This was your real, panicking, awaking-bolt-upright-with-sweat dream.

I have never been so scared in my life. A ten-foot moat is as close as I ever want to come to a tiger.

Note to self: re-read “Man-eaters of Kumaon” by Jim Corbett. Follow up with “Man-eating Leopards of Rudraprayag” by same.

The first is probably the finest book ever written about wild tigers. The second title (though it’s just “Leopard” - one was plenty in this case) gets my vote as the greatest hunting story of all time.

Some of Jim Corbett’s points about tigers:

Their speed, strength and skill at hunting are far greater than most people realize.

Their usual method of killing prey is to dislocate the neck.

They don’t eat people except when, due to injury or age, they are unable to kill normal prey. Healthy wild tigers are very little threat to humans (they are a threat to livestock, which probably look to tigers like fat, slow, stupid versions of their normal prey).
I’m not sure what this says about a caged tiger’s behavior. Such a life is obviously radically different from what a tiger experiences in the wild.