It is never a good idea for an untrained person to try to feed wild animals, especially if that person has been drinking. Tigers are not house cats, and they don’t eat tins of cat food or take snacks from people’s fingers. A 65-year-old man learned that the hard way last week, when he tried to feed a caged tiger with his bare hands, and wound up losing two of his fingers.
According to the South China Morning Post, the man had been out drinking for some time before he decided to visit a traveling circus that had stopped in Jingziguan in Henan province last week. The alcohol may have had something to do with the 65-year-old man’s sudden desire to feed some very large, wild animals.
The circus had an array of animals including monkeys, lions, and tigers on display.
The man reportedly fed the lion first, and somehow that did not end badly for him, even though circus employees say security footage shows the man was feeding the lion some paper money instead of meat. The lion just picked up the bank notes and chewed them a little bit.
Then the man went over to the tiger cage and put his whole right arm between the bars. He waved his arm right in the tiger’s face, trying to get it to eat from his hand. The tiger immediately bit him.
Circus employees and other visitors rushed to the man’s aid, and somehow the man was lucky to have only lost two fingers. He could easily have bled to death or lost his whole forearm, but doctors say he only lost his middle finger, and the top half of his ring finger. Doctors say he’s out of danger, and other than the lost fingers, he’s expected to recover.
The man’s granddaughter told reporters the circus should have had warning tape around the cage to tell people not to stick their arms inside. The animals were caged, but caged tigers are still wild animals. Visitors are absolutely not supposed to feed the animals, especially not with their bare hands. Wild animals have very specialized diets, check out some of the world’s longest-lived animals and what they eat.