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Today while visiting the tiger exhibit at my local zoo, I read that in areas where tiger attacks on humans are common, people will often wear a mask on the back of their head to ward of tiger attacks, as tigers only ever attack from behind.

Wikipedia makes the unreferenced claim that this strategy used to work, but no longer does because tigers are too clever.

Is there any evidence to show that wearing a mask on the back of one's head is, or ever has been, effective in warding off tiger attacks?

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This worked for a short time, but the tigers quickly realized it was a hoax Well, we need more tigers on Skeptics! –  Yannis May 3 '12 at 6:49

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I have been trying to find that same answer. Results are totally mixed. A report I have that went from 1986-1989 showed nearly 100% effectiveness among those wearing the masks. That said the locals have never liked the idea (especially honey collectors who claimed the mask affected their ability to work) so there may be a bias against it. They said it was only effective for six months which counters the official reports. The reports below are the only official sources on this matter and until I find evidence elsewhere I would believe them first. Using this technique against other big cats has never been studied. I myself live in mountain lion country and made a DIY eyespot mask to make me feel safer. I have never uncovered a official document showing that the technique lost effectiveness. http://vinodrishi.blogspot.com/2011/05/man-mask-and-maneater.html http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/05/science/face-masks-fool-the-bengal-tigers.html http://tier15.deviantart.com/art/Cougar-Panther-Attack-Deterrent-Mask-485414441 http://www.fatcyclist.com/2008/11/24/how-not-to-get-eaten-by-a-mountain-lion/

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