Natalie Bell (vega) says:
They think now the Tsavo "man eaters" were actually doing it for the blood, not the meat. One of the things people found uncanny about these killings was that almost none of the bodies were eaten, but all were drained of blood. It turns out that Tsavo lions have an adaptive behavior during severe droughts- they kill more than they could possibly eat, and lick the carcasses clean of blood. The moisture they get from the blood is enough to keep them from dying of dehydration. It's been observed in the wild since then- the vicitms for the most part were fortunately not human. They looked into this, and it turns out that it was a drought year when those lions were most active. Most likely, the lions chose the railroad workers for reasons of convenience, rather than having developed a "taste" for human flesh.
Tsavo lions are actually rather unique in some ways. For instance, the fact that most male Tsavo lions are maneless is another adaptation to the extreme heat found there.
This moment of edutainment brought to you by an episode of National Geographic Sundays I saw like 3 years ago. Yays!
Adrian Schlick (shinigami) says:
umm from what i know, these lions, also hunted for pleasure, and had been doing so for several years. there is a movie called "the ghost in the Darkness" that is a retelling of the story of these two lions.
Natalie Bell (vega) says:
Yeah, I saw the movie. The Ghost and the Darkness. It was OK, I liked it. They gave the lions manes, though.
The postulation that the lions were hunting for pleasure was based on the fact that they weren't eating the victims. They did, however, drain all the victims of blood. The blood-drinking behavior wasn't observed in the wild until something like 50 years after the lions were killed. ... dammit, I'm gonna hafta Wiki this...
Doesn't mention the blood-drinking...
ah, found Patterson's journal, he mentions it:
Pools of blood marked these halting-places, where
that can be found here: http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/etext03/tsavo10.htm
Looks like there was another explaination proposed by people who have examined the skulls of the Tsavo maneaters, as to why they would have switched to humans... both appear to have been afflicted with severe abcesses in their gums. Applying any sort of pressure to the teeth would have caused tremendous pain; and humans are much easier to kill than zebra or giraffes.
I've yet to find a reference to the blood-drinking as drought adaptation on Google. Damn and blast.
The postulation that the lions killed humans for pleasure isn't something that we would have any way of confirming or denying. We can't ask the lions, after all. They're dead. And in any case, they probably didn't speak English.
I do know that most reported cases of maneaters have turned out to be old and/or infirm individuals who would have been less able to hunt their usual prey; it seems to be generally understood by wild predators that while we may be pansey in one-on-one combat, it's not worth the rocks, fire, and dogs that tend to get thrown at them after.
Seriously, I asked, they said it was true!
Natalie Bell (vega) says: (Oh, and the usual timeframe given for the Tsavo maneaters' "reign of terror" seems to be around 9 months rather than several years.)
Ed Paradis (zudarkness) says: Out of the whole series this page was one of my favorites overall I also like Kate in Genernal No secert on that one Log In or Register to post a comment! It's free!
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Original Paradigm Shift art and story Copyright 2001-2005 Dirk I. Tiede