In a forest in Rajasthan in India, a curious encounter between a tiger and monkey was filmed by a tourist. Whilst we would probably have expected the tiger to take a bite out of the primate, that wasn't at all what happened.
One of the largest carnivores on Earth, the tiger has a reputation for being a terrifying predator. It has many different types of prey, ranging from small mammals to bigger species such as buffalo, meaning it has a lot of choice when looking to eat many tens of kilograms of meat in a single sitting.
Due to such a reputation, the tiger’s behaviour that was filmed in the National Park of Ranthambore in Rajasthan in India was rather unexpected. While exploring the park, the group of tourists crossed paths with a tigress and a small langur monkey.
Thick as thieves!
Instead of trying to eat the primate for dinner like we would have expected, the tigress, known by locals as T84 or Arrowhead, preferred to play with him like they were good friends. Clearly not scared of the beast, the black-headed monkey also seemed to want to play with the animal instead of fleeing for his life.
'The incident left the visitors speechless as they watched on,' explained Dhirendra Godha who was there with the maker of the video. The tigress didn’t show typical hunting behaviour, such as hiding and stalking her prey before pouncing. And the small langur monkey was the same and did not hesitate to hit the tigress’ snout on multiple occasions.
A satiated tigress
Even though the scene is surprising, it is not so difficult to explain. It is very likely that the tigress behaved like this because she had just had a big meal and wasn’t hungry enough to consider the monkey prey.
A tiger of this size normally hunts bigger prey every 8 or 9 days on average. If they have a successful hunt, they can then spend many days without needing to hunt again.
'It was a really unique experience that is hardly ever witnessed,' said Dhirendra.