When Man Becomes Prey

Throughout history, man-eating animals have taken a liking to human flesh and wreaked havoc.

Although human beings can be attacked by many kinds of animals, man-eaters are those that have incorporated human flesh into their usual diet and actively hunt and kill humans. Below are the top 5 most notorious animals that have hunted and killed humans. 

1. Champawat tiger
(Nepal/India)

The Champawat Tiger was a female Bengal tiger responsible for an estimated 436 deaths in Nepal and the Kumaon division of India, during the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century

The majority of her victims were young women and children, who were often attacked in the forest while gathering supplies for feeding animals, collecting firewood, and crafting. All of her killings took place during the day.

A postmortem examination revealed that the tigress's upper and lower canine teeth on the right side of her jaw were fractured, the upper one in half and the lower one all the way down to the bone. It is suspected that this likely stopped her from pursuing her normal prey, therefore she began to hunt humans.

Champawat Tiger

2. Leopard of Panar
Northern India

The Leopard of Panar was a male leopard responsible for at least 400 fatal attacks on humans in the Panar region of Northern India in the early 20th century.

The big cat first began to consume human flesh from human remains in the jungle as a result of a Cholera plague. When the pandemic ended, and the corpses ceased, he began to hunt humans.

Leopard of Panar

Jim Corbett

3. Gustave (crocodile)
Burundi

Gustave weighs over a ton and is about six meters long and is alleged to have killed over 300 people. It is believed that he is still alive and around 60 years old due to his intact dental arch.

Gustave the Crocodile

National Geographic

4. Leopard of the Central Provinces
India

A man-eating male Indian leopard, which over the course of a couple of years, killed over 150 people, all women and children, in the Central Provinces of British India in the early 20th century.

Leopard of Central Province

5. Tsavo Lions
Kenya

Between March and December 1898, the Tsavo Man-Eaters were a pair of man-eating male lions in the Tsavo region that were blamed for the deaths of hundreds of construction workers building the Kenya-Uganda Railway.

According to research, lions ate humans as a supplement to other foods, not as a last option. Eating humans was most likely an alternative to hunting or scavenging due to tooth problems and/or a scarcity of prey.

Dr. Bruce Patterson discovered in a 2017 study that one of the lions had an infection at the root of his canine tooth, making it difficult for the lion to hunt.

Tsavo Lions

By Superx308 Jeffrey Jung

References

Huckelbridge, D. . (2019). No Beast So Fierce. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 157–194. ISBN 9780062678843..
Patterson, J. H. . (1908). The Man-eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures. MacMillan and Co.
Patterson, B. D. . (2004). The Lions of Tsavo: Exploring the Legacy of Africa's Notorious Man-Eaters. McGraw-Hill. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-07-136333-4..
DeSantis, L.; Patterson, B.. (2017). Dietary behavior of man-eating lions as revealed by dental microwear textures. Scientific Reports. 7 (1): 904.

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