opinion is that the modern male lion has
no equal in the cat world when it comes to his
evolved as fighters. Among the pride, their
primary job is to protect their females from
marauding males who would assume control of
the pride and kill any cubs. As a result,
the male lion spends the great majority of his
time in combat situations. Nature has supported
the lion in this, with the evolution of a thick
heavy mane for added protection and to intimidate.
in any fight with a tiger, the lion would have
the backing of the entire pride, though it should
be noted that pride defence is almost entirely
the job of the male lion, and not often assisted
by the lionesses.
Dave Hoover once commented: "Lions are the troublemakers, the most dangerous. When the public sees the cats,
they always think the tiger is the worst, because a tiger looks bad. He looks
sneaky. But, the male lion of the big cats is the worst. The male lion has a
pride. He's in charge of a group of females until another male lion runs him
off. It could be its own son. But the female lion is under domination. She may
make the kill. The male lion comes down to eat, and then the females can eat. It
doesn't work that way in humans, but it does work that way in animals."
historically, are extremely wary of the male lion and this
has created problems for some zoos and circuses.
*Famous tamer Clyde Beatty made his name for working
alone in a cage surrounded by forty wild lions and tigers. He
is quoted as saying:
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. The lion
seems to have no fear of the tiger.
next to a tiger, the lion is composed. The tiger,
on the other hand, is usually nervous and apprehensive.
The tiger does not seem to have the lion's capacity
for calm analysis and appraisal. This
puts him at a disadvantage in a fight with a
recalled his experience with a lion named "Sultan the
First" who once took on every tiger in
his act and defeated them one after another.
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."
well-known Clyde Beatty film, "The Big
Cage", documents a circus on the verge
of bankruptcy. Beatty's attempted performance erupted
into a shocking fight which was recorded on
the story, Beatty tames the cats and continues
in the tradition of 'the show must go on'. Privately
Beatty admitted even he had no possible hope
of separating the big cats and the lion
went on to maul the tiger to death.
over 50 years the scene was thought by viewers
to be a well-staged dramatic scene, but is now
recognised as a documentary showing an actual
tiger has no rival as a pure predator, but hates the idea of
a fight. As a lone predator,
fighting for the tiger is an extremely bad idea and injury from a fight could
Predation for food should not be confused with
ability in battle. It is a common misapprehension that
being the better solitary hunter automatically means the tiger
will also be the better fighter. This is incorrect
as the techniques used and experiences involved are quite different.
the case of a lion killing another maned male
many have learnt to attack beyond the mane,
usually at the back of the front leg.
particularly in southern areas where the lions
have very thick manes. It is a purely learnt behaviour
and the tiger would not know this technique,
having never needed to use it.