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Tsavo Maneaters

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These two male lions killed 135 railroad workers in Kenya in the year 1898.

Any ideas on what caused these lions to act this way?

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Hungry.

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I think there was a movie about them.

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Wait, in your title you said they killed for sport, now you say you need ideas as to why they'd do it?

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Posted (edited)

I think there was a movie about them.

1996, The Ghost and the Darkness. Val Kilmer. Fine flick.

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0116409/

Gee, last time I mentioned this, I was grilled by a 14-year old poster, but this was posted in the wrong forum. Should be Natural World.

There's not a thing "cryptid" about this.

Edited by Incorrigible1
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Reasons why, as in, what would cause them to kill for sport?

and I will set a new one in natural world.

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Good movie.

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Reasons why, as in, what would cause them to kill for sport?

and I will set a new one in natural world.

Hunger.

Again, wth is cryptid about this? You've been around long enough to know how this works. Let me guess: You're 14, too?

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Hunger.

Again, wth is cryptid about this? You've been around long enough to know how this works. Let me guess: You're 14, too?

Ooooooooooooo!!! Fight, fight, fight, fight!!!

(Sarcasm mods, please don't cut off my ear)

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Ooooooooooooo!!! Fight, fight, fight, fight!!!

(Sarcasm mods, please don't cut off my ear)

I don't mean you, UDS, but when, again, does school start? How many more "vampire, werewolf, I am "this" threads do we suffer through?"

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The lions of Tsavo is a well documented case. They preyed on railroad workers, the film is OK but theres an excellent book I have at home, I'll find the ISBN number when I'm at home.

This website is from the museum where the stuffed lions are now kept and explains some of the reasons why they may have killed so many people...

ROAR!

"In March 1898 the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo (SAH-vo) River in East Africa. Over the next nine months, two large male lions killed and ate nearly 140 railway workers. Crews tried to scare off the lions and built campfires and thorn fences for protection, but to no avail. Hundreds of workers fled Tsavo, halting construction on the bridge.

Before work could resume, chief engineer Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson (1865-1947) had to eliminate the lions and their threat. After many near misses, he finally shot the first lion on December 9, 1898, and three weeks later brought down the second. The first lion killed measured nine feet, eight inches (3 m) from nose to tip of tail. It took eight men to carry the carcass back to camp. The construction crew returned and completed the bridge in February 1899.

(The 1996 movie "The Ghost and the Darkness" was based on Patterson's adventures in Tsavo.)

We will never know why the Tsavo lions became man-eaters, but two factors may have contributed to their unusual diet. In the 1890s, an outbreak of rinderpest disease killed millions of zebras, gazelles and other African wildlife. Lions had to look elsewhere for food, and attacks on humans increased across the continent.

Poor burial practices may have also contributed to the Tsavo tragedy. Railroad workers who died of injury or disease were often poorly buried, or not buried at all. A scavenging lion coming across this easy meal might start going after live humans.

Although both of these lions are male, neither has much of a mane.

Lion manes vary from place to place in color and thickness; Tsavo-area lions are often maneless. This may be a "family trait" common in the area--although we don't know if these two lions were closely related."

Wiki page on the lions:ROAR!

They were completely normal lions and not cryptids.

Edited by Schnaffler

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Cats like to play too and lions are just big cats.

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Cats like to play too and lions are just big cats.

i agree with you, just watch a doco about lions and you will see how they interact with each other and their surroundings. same as your average house cat.......exept the house cat wont rip your face of when you pat him :rofl:

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The Tsavo Lions can maybe be cryptid because they were supposedly demons sent to kill the workers for driving a railroad line through the land.

But I heard the reason for the lions preying on humans was because one of the lions had a painful tooth problem that would be exacerbated by struggling prey, making humans a softer and easier target.

Edited by Pol_Pot_will_killyou

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The Tsavo Lions can maybe be cryptid because they were supposedly demons sent to kill the workers for driving a railroad line through the land.

But I heard the reason for the lions preying on humans was because one of the lions had a tooth problem, with humans being a softer and easier target.

ooooo sounds spooky and hey demons can posses anything so why not :o

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ooooo sounds spooky and hey demons can posses anything so why not :o

NO.

Lets not make things silly.

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I LOVE this story. It's one of my favorites of all time. It is undoubtedly weird, the last lion to be killed was shot at several times before it could be brought down, and both were undoubtedly much larger than average (and maneless). Many suspected that the two were of relation to an ancient species, were genetically mutated, or were even demons cast upon the railroad workers to keep them from continuing.

However, they were not "normal" lions--in the sense that they were like your average, run of the mill King of the Jungle. I agree that this doesn't belong in this particular forum, but I can understand why the story seems like it should. Maneless male lions are an extreme rarity, let alone maneless males the size of the Tsavo man-eaters. It is also rare for two males to prowl together, as there is generally one male per pride, and they are fiercely territorial. They may have been brothers, which would explain their bond (and similar appearances).

Though I would love to think that they were more than normal (or even genetically mutated by birth) I think that is the logical answer. They are undoubtedly one of my favorites to hear about, and I just can't get enough--sometimes I go on small Tasvo sprees where I flood my friends with links about them simply out of the blue. I think they're fascinating, cryptid or not, and a good discussion can be born from them if you sought to say more than, "They were hungry."

Alas, I have little to say, because I would love to hear that they were some supernatural creature sent to kill the workers at the hand of Mother Nature. It's dreadful, what people do, and I would half like to think that nature can stick up for herself sometimes. But you rarely hear stories like that anymore. :(

Edited by Ebonykrow

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I love Ghost and the Darkness....it was like, one of my favorite movies....ever!

Wouldn't it be for the same reason as all animals after developing a taste for human flesh continue killing people? Its just that in this case there was such an abundance of people in the area because of the bridge building that there was no reason for the lions to kill anything else but their now preferred prey, people

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It's dreadful, what people do, and I would half like to think that nature can stick up for herself sometimes. But you rarely hear stories like that anymore. :(

Unless u were able to sit through "The Happening"...

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Either they were really hungry or they were rabid.

It's also possible that they killed a human when they were starving, then discovered that we taste good and so humans became their primary food source.

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However, they were not "normal" lions--in the sense that they were like your average, run of the mill King of the Jungle. I agree that this doesn't belong in this particular forum, but I can understand why the story seems like it should. Maneless male lions are an extreme rarity, let alone maneless males the size of the Tsavo man-eaters. It is also rare for two males to prowl together, as there is generally one male per pride, and they are fiercely territorial.

Hmm, perhaps their consumption of human meat on such a large scale altered their body to be different than that of a normal lion? Maybe as a side effect of eating human meat they lost their manes as well as growing to a huge size.

I wonder, if they had lived on to breed, would we be seeing a new 'super' lion as it were?

Edited by ShadowsAndDust

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I love this story! And The Ghost and the Darkness was a badass movie (this topic makes me wish I had the DVD, an error in my collection that just might be corrected very soon!)

Personally, like said before, I think that the lions (definitely brothers) happened upon a corpse or 2 of the workers who died on the build site, and got a taste for human flesh via the bodies. And since the workers were so plentiful in that particular spot, they had no reason to search anywhere else for their usual prey, and became man eaters.

This is the 1st time I heard that they were maneless, which could always be contributed to a small evolutionary step that made some of the males maneless (it was already said before that maneless male lions is VERY rare) due to the hot temperature in Tsavo.

Very cool topic! :tu: Even though it’s not technically a cryptid, I think this does fit into this forum very well if only for the fact that something like this just doesn’t usually happen.

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Hmm, perhaps their consumption of human meat on such a large scale altered their body to be different than that of a normal lion? Maybe as a side effect of eating human meat they lost their manes as well as growing to a huge size.

I wonder, if they had lived on to breed, would we be seeing a new 'super' lion as it were?

Actually, a male lion without a mane can "naturally" occur in the wild--and like someone said earlier--Tsavo lions were known to occasionally not have them. I think, by that reasoning, we can say that being maneless is a genetic trait that can be passed from lion to lion, and that may be the reason why Tsavo lions don't have them. But! I think your explaination for why these lions were much larger could work. They did have a very different diet compared to other lions, and over time (nine months is plenty of time) having acquired a taste for human flesh could alter their size. I imagine that a human is a tad bit healthier than a sick little zebra, any day, rofl.

I think that, yes, if they had bred we might have gotten a strange combination--and a lot of them. If the brothers were to actually have separated to form prides, that might have gotten dangerous. They would have had to hunt MUCH more, and their lionesses too would have acquired a taste for easy humans to feed their cubs.

I wonder why that didn't happen though? Why did the males stay together instead of breeding?

I love this story! And The Ghost and the Darkness was a badass movie (this topic makes me wish I had the DVD, an error in my collection that just might be corrected very soon!)

Personally, like said before, I think that the lions (definitely brothers) happened upon a corpse or 2 of the workers who died on the build site, and got a taste for human flesh via the bodies. And since the workers were so plentiful in that particular spot, they had no reason to search anywhere else for their usual prey, and became man eaters.

This is the 1st time I heard that they were maneless, which could always be contributed to a small evolutionary step that made some of the males maneless (it was already said before that maneless male lions is VERY rare) due to the hot temperature in Tsavo.

Very cool topic! :tu: Even though it’s not technically a cryptid, I think this does fit into this forum very well if only for the fact that something like this just doesn’t usually happen.

Ack! That makes me want to see the movie taht much more. :( Never seen it, drat.

That's good reasoning, and I think it works out grand. Why look anywhere else when you basically have a healthy meal set in front of you? Someone (was it you...? I can't keep track of posts) said that the lions were said to have tooth problems--which I've heard before--and that may have made them that much more interested in human flesh. But yes, maneless males are quite rare, but if it is a genetic deformitity that can be bred into litters, then it is an upperhand.

Oh! Wait, sudden thought, maybe, it was because these two males were lacking manes that they didn't breed? Manes are used for attracting mates, I saw in a study conducted on the thickness and color of lion manes, and maybe it was because these two didn't have them that they were required to stay together as a pair, hunt together, and didn't start prides of their own? Or am I totally going out on a massive limb here? :lol:

(And I appologize for typos/misspellings, I'm in IE and it SUCKS for not having an automatic spell checker.)

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I thought lions in the Tsavo area evolved to be maneless due in part to the thick and heavily thorned underbrush in the area. That's what someone said in a documentary on tv so it must be true! lol. But it does make sense. Wouldn't want that hair to be snagged on a thorn!

Great movie, and stays fairly close to the true happenings. Last time I saw it available for purchase was in wallyworld's 5.00 bin. But I already had a copy.

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That does make sense, Haviata. :) It could easily be a combination of many things though. The intense heat, the environment, etc, but it also hinders the survival of the species(considering manes are used as chick magnets). So it's a win/lose situation, I guess? Poor lions, can't have it the easy way.

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