Historically, tigers roamed throughout much of Asia from the eastern Anatolia Region to the foothills of the Himalayas to Bali, but like many apex predators, their range has been decimated by humans over the past few centuries.
Now living in just 7% of their former range, tigers can still be found in Siberia, subtropical and tropical forests in India, Indochina, and the island of Sumatra, which is both incredible and bone-chilling at the same time. It’s easy for me to sit here in the US and say the world needs to do a better job of protecting these felines, but I don’t have to deal with the reality of one sitting outside my front door on any given morning, which would most likely change my opinion on how many of these cats should still be roaming free.
Regardless, I’ve always had a fascination with tigers, who are the largest living cat species, growing up to 10 feet long and weighing up to 660 pounds, and this vintage video shows why.
While us Americans are much more familiar with alligators, there are around 1,000 crocodiles that call Florida home. Crocs are much more territorial and aggressive than their gator cousins and are pretty much the top predator of whatever region they live in, especially when it comes to the water.
Well, it turns out there’s a certain creature that can take out crocodiles if it wants to, and you guessed it, it’s the tiger.
Most of the tiger versus crocodile battles are that of legend at this point, as their ranges don’t cross over each other much these days, but a video shot back in 2003 captured just what it looks like when these two apex predators square up.
I previously alluded to a tiger that got a reputation for being particularly impressive, so let’s move to her.
Machali was a Bengal tigress born in 1997 and quickly became known throughout India for a number of reasons, but undoubtedly what first drew attention to her was her unbelievable hunting ability.
Given nicknames like “Queen Mother of Tigers”, “Tigress Queen of Ranthambore”, “Lady of the Lakes”, and “Crocodile Hunter”, Machali is remembered as India’s most famous tigress and before her death became the oldest living tigress in the world, but that wasn’t due to a sedentary lifestyle and non-confrontational way of feeding herself and her cubs.
Speaking of cubs, Machali had a ton. Usually tigress’ have 2 or 3 litters, but she had 5 and gave birth to eleven cubs. Her offspring were responsible for increasing the area’s population by over 233% and eventually more than half of the tigers in Ranthambore National Park were of her lineage.
When you have that many children, you’re going to need to provide a lot of food and Machali was forced to become an incredible hunter, and as you may have guessed from one of her nicknames, that included targeting crocodiles.
One of these encounters was captured on video and it shows her squaring up with a 12 footer and putting on a show of absolute dominance, although she did lose 2 canine teeth in the battle, according to Roaring Earth.
Although the fighting exchange is short, we can see Machli out maneuvering the croc and jumping on its back, where she then sinks her claws and fangs into the croc’s neck and begins slowly draining the life from the reptile.
Truly, this is one of the most impressive interspecies predator battles you’ll ever see and we’re all beyond lucky it was captured on video, regardless of the quality.
Machali lived to be 19 years old, 7 years beyond the typical twelve year lifespan of wild tigers, and upon her death was given a traditional Hindu burial with a public ceremony, showing just how important she was to the country of India.
While this doesn’t prove that all tigers can beat all alligators, it certainly does a lot to show that tigers truly might be the most impressive predator on the face of the planet.
Here’s a short clip of the fight.
And here’s a video that provides more details about what exactly lead up to the fight.