Do tigers eat zebras?

No, tigers don't eat zebras under natural circumstances as there are no zebras where the tiger lives which is in Asia (Bengal tiger and other subspecies) and the far east of Siberia (Siberian tiger). Zebras live in Africa where the lion predominantly lives (the Asiatic lion lives in north-east India (Gir Forest). So, there is no opportunity for a tiger living in wild to attack a zebra. However, sometimes zookeepers feed their tigers zebras which are surplus to requirements (see below).

Zebra
Do tigers eat zebras? No unless they are fed to a tiger. Image: Pixabay (know loon).

If the zebra did live in India, the tiger would attack it because tigers eat almost anything they can catch from frogs to elephant calves in the words of Fiona Sunquist (Wild Cats of the World).

The zebra is a nice-sized prey animal for the tiger. Perfect as it would be relatively easy to attack and kill and large enough to provide food for a good time. Tigers need large prey animals because they eat so much.

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Tigers even eat locusts! And fish. And there is no unwritten agreement between predators that they should not attack each other as the tiger will attack a leopard or a bear but these are relatively rare occurrences.

In the first line I referred to 'natural circumstances'. I mean there may be occasions when a tiger meets a zebra in a private zoo perhaps which leads to the tiger attacking a zebra. This would be a human made artificial situation.

There is a grisly story on the Internet about a zoo in Norway where they had too many zebras. They killed one zebra and beheaded it and then gave the carcass to a tiger to eat. That's what I mean by unnatural circumstances. It exposes how shamefully the administrators of zoos can behave. 

The animals are simply assets to be utilised and the idea that zoos are good for conservation is, in my view, highly dubious. Some zoos might be good for conservation but very many of them are not. In fact, they might be detrimental to conservation.

Conclusion: in practice, because they don't meet, tigers do not eat zebras. There is no more to say. The post ends here.


I am going to add some more words to pad the post out a bit if you don't mind. My reference book on the tiger informs me that the most common prey items for this magnificent predator is the chital, hog deer, sambar, barking deer and wild pig are also common prey animals for the tiger. They have a huge range of prey animals. But it must depend upon where they live and most tigers in India live on reserves.

Tigers kill any animal that is in a vulnerable position. Sometimes tigers attack an adult rhinoceros and elephant but they are rarely killed. I've seen a video of a quite small elephant being attacked by a whole bunch of lions and they failed when the elephant walked into a lake. Lions don't like water whereas tigers do.

Large prey animals such as water buffalo can be formidable for a tiger and there are records of tigers being killed by these large animals. Although it would not have been without a struggle. One zoologist states that they saw a marathon battle between a lion and a bison. The bison killed the lion by goring it several times. The whole area had been torn up and trodden down by the combatants.

On another occasion, another scientist witnessed an encounter between a tiger and a water buffalo cow. She bowled the tiger over like a nine pin and then rammed him against the trunk of a tree. The cow gored the tiger over and over again and then lifted up the mangled body of the tiger and threw the cat some distance. The king of the jungle is sometimes reduced to a mangled carcass which tells us how wonderfully courageous the tiger is to take on large prey animals that they know can kill them.

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