Originally Posted by MCCCXXXIII
How many Tigers have you ever seen fight lions? Because that is simply untrue.
This is a post I made on the subject a while back I think its relevant to this thread and maybe it can help put some misconceptions to sleep.
Regarding the debate about lions vs. Tigers I found this interesting article by Clyde Beatty a guy who spent most of his life working with both lions and tigers I think he qualifies as an expert on the matter. He supports my personal opinion and what I believe through my own limited research and that is that the lion would win.
If what i have witnessed in the arena applies to an encounter in the open, the tiger would try to get away. the lion would pursue him and try to engage him. in an enclosure-and this is based on forty years of observation-the lion is almost invariably the aggressor and the tiger habitually tries to avoid him.
i can cite a few instances of male tigers whipping male lions, but i can`t think of one such case where the tiger didn`t have a distinct advantage. i also recall a case where a tiger had a marked advantage and lost the fight. i`m thinking of a big powerful tiger, normally fearful of lions, who saw an opportunity to grab one from behind. the tiger sank his teeth in the lion`s shoulder, and the lion, the victim of shock, slumped to the arena floor. i`ve often wondered whether this was pure shock or whether there wasn`t an element of strategy-a kind of buffing-involved in the lion`s winding up on his stomach, stretched out full length and looking as if he were submitting to his attacker.
the tiger, with all the force behind his tremendously powerful jaws, seemed to be clamping his teeth down even harder; then, seemingly thinking he had won the fight, he relaxed his jaws a little. so quickly i could hardly follow it, the lion shook himself loose, scrambled to his feet and wielding his right forepaw as though it were a club, struck the tiger with great force and sent him banging against the bars of the arena. if the blow from that huge, powerful paw had hit the tiger on the neck, which was what the lion was aiming for, it might have snapped it. the fight was over. the tiger never again wanted to tangle with that lion-in fact, did everything he could thereafter to avoid the maned cat short of hiding behind a pedestal.
the lion seems to have no fear of the tiger. seated next to a tiger, the lion is composed. the tiger, on the other hand, is usually nervous and apprehensive.
the tiger, lashing out furiously with his great paws and snarlingly baring his teeth, suggests the last words in destructive power; yet there are times when he reminds me of a boxer who fills the air with gloves, striking countless blows yet incapable of scoring a knockout.....of course the tiger knows hot to score a knockout-but not against the lion.
if it were possible to walk into a stadium and witness a fight between these two most powerful of the big cats, first placing a pari-mutual bet on the outcome, i would put my money on the lion. i would be backing a belief that he would win through a combination of superior power and tactics designed to get the tiger to wear himself out. the lion would fight calculatingly, and one of his objectives would be to conserve his strength. one of several ways of accomplishing this would be to avoid becoming paw-weary, a condition that would handicap him as much as arm-wearing depletes a boxer.
paw-clouting is one of the favourite methods of attack of the big cats. it is their form of boxing. sometimes, as shown in illustration number twenty-seven in the photo section, they raise up on their hind legs when they deliver these blows, which can be shattering when they connect. a miss can be shattering too-to the animal that misses. a series of such misses can bring on the paw-weariness referred to. from my own observations, the tiger misses much oftener than the lion and therefore is likely to tire faster. by the same token, the tiger leaves himself "wide open" more frequently than the lion.
on one of my movie-making excursions to Hollywood, one of my toughest lions (sultan the first) was in a scrappy mood-perhaps disliking the role of motion-picture actor-and one by one took on and whipped every tiger in my act. it was an amazing performance since my entire entourage consisted of big, young, powerful animals. so these were not pushovers that sultan defeated. this remarkable lion, feinting like a clever boxer and making his opponents miss, would then send the off-balance enemy sprawling across the arena with a tremendous clout..........occasionally i am told that i am prejudiced on the subject. if i am, it is a prejudice born of experience. the sum total of what i have witnessed in the arena tells me over and over again that the lion is the "king of beasts". or at least the mightiest of the big cats. "
Here are a few more expert opinions.
louis roth, another wild lion/tiger tamer, and one who has witnessed many a battle between the lion and tiger, stated that sometimes the lion wins, sometimes the tiger.
jam sahib of nawanager, indian ruler, stated to have witnessed 4 battles between lions and tigers, and on all of which the lion won.
also, craig packer stated, in response to emails which he had received, that he may change his statement that the tiger is the more combative. he thought, previously, that lions and tigers fought in a similar manner, and, while this is basically true, they often imploy different tactics and techniques when confronted with challengers, and really tigers are not quite as practiced at fighting.
In conclusion LION is king!