Show Mobile Navigation
Animals |

Top 10 Times Animals Held Grudges Against Humans And Took Revenge

by Oliver Taylor
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Debate remains as to whether animals are capable of deep emotions like holding grudges. However, most scientists would agree that animals can have personality traits comparable to humans, so it’s possible that they can hold grudges. Of course, the question of just which species can hold grudges could open a whole new can of worms.

Lions have been observed apparently holding grudges against other lions, and cows have behaved similarly toward other cows.[1] Elephants have even appeared to take revenge against humans. Here are ten instances where animals apparently held grudges against humans and retaliated.

10 A Tiger Tracked Down And Killed The Poacher Who Shot It

The Siberian tiger (also called the Amur tiger) is generally considered the largest subspecies of tiger. They can easily weigh over 225 kilograms (500 lb) and measure over 3 meters (10 ft) when measured from nose to tail. They’re also excellent jumpers and can comfortably scale a height of 7.6 meters (25 ft) without breaking a sweat. Getting on the nerves of such an apex predator is a very bad idea and could have some seriously undesirable consequences.

Russian poacher Vladimir Markov found out the hard way after attacked one in the Russian Far East in 1997. Markov shot and wounded the tiger during a hunt, and to add insult to injury, he took part of its kill. The tiger didn’t forget, and between 12 and 48 hours later, it tracked Markov to the cabin where he lived.

But Markov wasn’t home, so the tiger destroyed anything in the cabin that had his scent and patiently waited for him to arrive. When Markov finally did, the tiger killed and ate him. To date, the incident remains the only time a tiger has been known to have deliberately tracked down a specific human and waited for him before killing and eating him[2]

9 A Pack Of Dogs Vandalized A Car Because The Owner Assaulted A Comrade

Photo credit: The Independent

In 2015, a man in Chongqing, China, drove to his home one evening to find a stray dog lying in his parking space. Instead of shooing the dog, he proceeded to kick it out of the way before parking his car and entering his home.

The canine didn’t take the kicking incident lying down. It left but returned with more dogs, and they all proceeded to vandalize the man’s car. They used their jaws to make dents in the car and bit the windshield wipers. The man was shocked when he awoke the next morning to find his car full of dents. He only realized what happened when a neighbor who saw the dogs attacking the car told him.[3]

8 Truman The Octopus Shot Streams Of Water At A Lady It Didn’t Like

Octopuses are intelligent animals with good vision and the ability to remember things. They are also capable of holding grudges and taking revenge whenever they get the chance. There was the case of Truman, an octopus that used to live at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts.

Truman took a particular dislike for a woman who was volunteering at the aquarium and would shoot a stream of water at her at every opportunity he got. The lady later left for college but returned for a visit few months later. Truman, who hadn’t been shooting water at anyone in the meantime, quickly shot a stream of water at her the moment he saw her.[4]

7 A Leopard Brutally Attacked A Park Ranger For Poking Her With A Stick

Untamed And Uncut Leopard Attack

In Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, a female leopard became a nuisance to some communities after she started feeding on their livestock. The people, fearing that the leopard might soon become a man-eater, called in park rangers to capture and relocate the animal. The leopard was captured and relocated but refused to leave her cage at the back of the pickup truck used to transport her. It was at this point that things got nasty.

One of the rangers, Alexander Rono, poked the leopard with a long stick from the cabin of the truck, hoping she would leave the cage and escape. The leopard did not appreciate the gesture and roared aggressively at the pokes. She even bit the stick at one point but still did not leave the cage. When she finally did, she didn’t immediately flee.

Rather, she turned toward the front of the vehicle and tried unsuccessfully to jump into the cabin where Alexander was seated. Alexander tried rolling up the windows but wasn’t fast enough. The leopard tried jumping in a second time and got half her body in. She engaged Alexander in a serious scuffle and repeatedly tore his face with her 8-centimeter (3 in) claws while attempting to deliver a fatal bite to his neck.

At one point, Alexander had his hand in her mouth. The attack continued, and the leopard almost got all the way into the truck until Alexander raised his feet and kicked her out the window, sending her running into the forest. Alexander suffered severe injuries and almost went blind. He required 21 stitches to close his wounds. In his words, Alexander said he “learned a very painful lesson he will never forget.” He sure did![5]

6 Crows Recognized And Attacked Some Researchers For Capturing Them

Photo credit: John Marzluff

Crows are good at recognizing people who trouble them and will often taunt and dive-bomb these people whenever they see them around. Some researchers—who had been capturing and attaching identification bands on some crows—discovered that the birds kept grudges when they noticed that the crows made noises and swooped at them whenever they entered their territory.

To prove their theory, the researchers started wearing masks when capturing and tagging the birds. With time, they realized that the crows made noises whenever they saw the masked person around. The crows didn’t forget the faces and still recognized the masks even after they didn’t see them for a whole year.

More interesting is the fact that the crows taught their children which faces were their enemies, so the baby crows will scold and dive-bomb at the perceived enemies even if they have never seen them capturing a crow before.[6]

5 An Angry Camel Bit Its Owner’s Head Off

If there is one animal that never forgives or forgets, it is the camel. They have good memories and can hold grudges against people who harm them. Harming a camel is likely to lead to a revenge attack that will most likely end in death.

One Indian man found this out the hard way in 2016 after he was killed by his own camel. The man, Urjaram, had been engrossed in hosting some guests in his home in Mangta village, Rajasthan, India, that he forgot about the camel he tied out in the scorching sun for the whole day.

When Urjaram tried untying the camel at night, the already angry camel caught him by the neck and lifted him up before throwing him back to the ground. Thereafter, it chewed on the neck until the head was separated from the body. It took 25 villagers about six hours to calm the angry camel down.[7]

4 A Tigress Attacked Three Men For Taunting Her

Photo credit: San Francisco Zoo/AP

On December 25, 2007, a tigress escaped from its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and attacked three men. Two of the men were brothers, Paul and Kulbir Dhailwal, and the third was their friend, Carlos Sousa. The tigress, which was called Tatiana, first attacked Kulbir. Sousa tried distracting her but only attracted calamity to himself, as she left Kulbir and fatally attacked him.

Tatiana wasn’t done. She followed Kulbir’s blood trail for over 274 meters (900 ft) before catching up with Paul, who had fled the scene with Kulbir. She attacked Paul but didn’t kill him before she was killed by the police.[8] The two surviving men initially denied taunting the tigress, but Paul later confessed that they did taunt her. He claimed that all three yelled and waved at Tatiana, although he denied that they threw anything into her enclosure.

3 Two Herds Of Elephants Attacked A Village Over The Death Of Another Elephant

In July 2016, members of several villages around the Champua forest range in Keonjhar, India, suffered a series of elephant invasions that lasted over two weeks. Over 15 days, 16 elephants from two different herds launched a number of night attacks on the villages and destroyed 54 homes.

Investigations revealed that the cause of the attacks was the killing of a male elephant on the night of July 11. Some poachers from a neighboring state were responsible for poisoning and killing the elephant before making off with its tusks. However, the rest of the herd directed their aggression at the village and launched simultaneous attacks that left the villagers living under trees or in makeshift sheds.[9]

2 Skuas Attacked Researchers Who Disturbed Their Nests

Photo credit: Discover

Skuas are one of the several birds that live in Antarctica. While they evolved without human interaction, we know today that they have the ability to remember human faces and will attack people they assume to be enemies.

Between 2014 and 2015, some Korean scientists based on King George Island started a study that involved them checking on the nests, eggs, and chicks of the skuas. The skuas weren’t comfortable with this, and with time, they started attacking the researchers whenever they got close to their nests.

To confirm whether the birds recognized them or just attacked any human, two researchers visited the nests together. One had previously visited the nest, while the other never had. The two researchers split up and went in two opposite directions whenever they got close to the nest.

They discovered that the birds attacked the researcher who had previously visited the nest while ignoring the one who had never been there before. In fact, with time, they didn’t even wait for the scientists they branded as enemies to come close to their nests before they launched their assault.[10]

1 A Tiger Killed A Poacher For Killing Its Mate And Cub

In Seethathodu, Kerala, India, a male tiger went on a rampage in 2016 after a poacher killed its tigress and cub. The poacher, who was called Baby, was among a party of brewers who illegally brewed alcohol in the forest. They came across the tigress and cub during one of their illegal brewing expeditions. Baby shot and killed the tigress and cub, and the men skinned her and shared her meat.

The brewers returned three days later to meet the angry partner of the tigress. The tiger pounced on Baby and mauled him badly before carrying him into the forest. Baby initially survived the attack, but the injuries soon proved fatal. The tiger did not stop at killing Baby. It continued patrolling the region for over two months, attacking any unfortunate human it came across.[11]

fact checked by Jamie Frater