The Breathtaking Story of a Tiger Attacking a Man Riding an Elephant


If someone started talking to you about a story involving a man, a tiger, and an elephant, you’d probably think they were about to tell you a joke. However, when a tiger decided to attack a man riding an elephant, it was certainly no laughing matter!

It all went down in an area that most people have likely never heard of: Bandhavgarh National Park. There, a Bengal tiger decided to do something most tigers never do: decide to attack an elephant, with its hapless rider caught in the middle of sudden and explosive violence.

What happened to the elephant and the man after this vicious tiger attack? And how can you keep yourself safe from this kind of unexpected attack? Keep reading to find out!

Where in the world is Bandhavgarh National Park?

As we said before, most people have never heard of Bandhavgarh National Park. That’s because it is located deep within Tala, India. And while this park may be more than a bit off the beaten path, it’s definitely worth visiting for anyone who enjoys exploring exotic wildlife.

That’s because this park is home to leopards, striped hyenas, Bengal foxes, Asiatic jackals, and many more. In other words, the park has more exotic wildlife in one place than many people would naturally see in years (or perhaps even in a lifetime).

The park is also home to elephants and Bengal tigers. And as the man riding the elephant in the video below demonstrates, the tigers are proof that this park might not be as safe as the average visitor would hope!

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Understanding why this attack was so shocking

It’s already pretty crazy to see the Bengal tiger trying to attack an elephant considering the huge size difference between them. But this leads to the natural question: do Bengal tigers normally attack elephants like this?

In a word, “no.” While it’s obviously not unheard of for tigers to make such an attack, they normally hold off on doing so because of the practical difficulties of trying to take down an animal so much bigger than themselves. Additionally, elephants and Bengal tigers typically manage to coexist peacefully in places like this national park. Of course, it’s fair to say there was nothing “typical” about the sudden attack.

Why was the man riding an elephant?

If you’ve only ever seen elephants inside the occasional zoo, you probably have another question right about now. Specifically, why was the man riding the elephant in the first place?

In places where elephants naturally roam, it’s not unheard of for people to ride elephants to get from one destination to another. Over long distances, it may seem like a better alternative than traveling on your own worn-out feet. But more commonly, elephant riding is offered to tourists at parks and other places where visitors want to experience something truly exotic.

We don’t know exactly why this particular man was riding the elephant, but we do know that you should really avoid doing so. Despite their large size, elephant spines are not designed to bear the weight of human riders, and having to bear frequent human passengers will inevitably cause major damage to the elephant’s health.

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The tiger prepares to make his move

Why, then, did the tiger decide to make its attack on this particular elephant? While we’ll never know the exact reasoning, the video makes this look more like an attack of opportunity than anything else.

Ask yourself: if you had to take down someone much larger and stronger than yourself, what would be your best ally? The answer: the element of surprise. Look carefully in the video and you will see the tiger has found very good cover deep within the bush. It could easily go unseen by the elephant and the rider…until, of course, the moment it decided to strike.

A man left holding on for dear life

When the tiger does decide to make its move, the attack is as swift as it is surprising. Letting out a primal growl, the tiger suddenly lunges at the elephant, giving the larger creature a very menacing stare. The elephant is taken aback, quite literally: at the surprising lunge, we can see the elephant take a few healthy steps backward to assess the situation.

 At this point, it’s very hard not to sympathize with the man on top of the elephant. As all of this violent drama is unfolding, we can clearly see him trying to hold on for dear life, keenly aware that if he falls off the elephant, the tiger may very well decide to go for an easier snack.

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The elephant establishes its dominance over the tiger for good

Watch the video closely and you will see that the showdown between these animals is psychological as much as it is physical. After that initial lunge, the tiger seems to start reconsidering whether it can really take down its oversized prey. As for the elephant, it continues eyeballing the tiger, seemingly knowing that the threat isn’t over just because the attacker seems to be backing down.

And the elephant was right. Getting its nerve up, the tiger growls and begins running at the elephant once more. But once the elephant lets out a loud trumpet blast from its snout, the tiger runs away for good.

Meanwhile, the man recording this blurts out “oh, my goodness!” He certainly speaks for all of us after we witnessed an ambitious Bengal tiger very nearly kill an elephant and its human rider before the elephant established its dominance once and for all.