Can an animal develop an affinity for manflesh? Would a tiger like human meat so strongly that it goes after humans?

  • I remember seeing a TV story about man-eating lions or tigers which stated that they usually don't hunt or attack humans because there aren't their usual pray. However, once they killed one human due to some event, they usually figure that it is an easier pray and sometimes switch there hunting behavior to humans. This would explain the stories about man-eaters and also why there is no permanent thread from all great cats. Dec 31, 2011 at 12:50
  • Somewhat tangentially related I saw a documentary about how once elephants realize they can kill a human they become aggressive towards them. This is even though they are vegetarians. The point the movie attempted to make was that people were putting elephants in danger but all i really took away was that any animal will assert its dominance once it knows it can.
    – Chad
    Jan 3, 2012 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


Yes; The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson tells the (amazing) story of two lions that may have killed and (at least partially) eaten as many as 135 (!!! But perhaps "just" 35) railroad workers in Kenya at the turn of the 20th century. Whether they had developed an "affinity for manflesh" or were driven to hunting humans due to a lack of other prey is, apparently, still a matter of debate. You can see the hides of the original Tsavo lions in the Field Museum in Chicago.


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