Diving Tiger

Status: Real
I came across this cool picture of a tiger diving into water. My first thought was that it had to be fake, but from what I can gather (via machine translation) from the comments below the image, the photographer, Sergey Bidun, says that it's real. And he links to other, less spectacular, pictures from the same series. One question that people seem to be asking is why the tiger's claws aren't out. My guess is that it's been declawed.

There's an exhibit like this in Las Vegas where you can see the tigers used in the Siegfried and Roy show. At least, there was the last time I was in Vegas. (I don't know if Siegfried is still doing that show alone, or was it cancelled after Roy's accident?) But I don't think this picture was taken at that exhibit.

Update: Sergey Bidun posts that he took this picture at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo.

Animals Photos

Posted on Fri Apr 21, 2006


Anytime I see a National Geographic special or something on Animal Planet about Tigers, it's always mentioned that Tigers actually like water. Even declawed that still looks like one bad cat.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Fri Apr 21, 2006  at  09:27 PM
...I dunno, it looks like a painting or something. Maybe it's just my screen...it just looks too "smooth". I dunno.
Posted by Maegan  on  Fri Apr 21, 2006  at  10:55 PM
Well with the other picture, with the girl in it, I guess it's real. Might be a bit photoshopped to enhance colors and sharpness etc, but the image is real, no?
Anyway, can you imagine that girl, walking past the "empty" pool window, looking in and asking "Mommy, what's in here?" *SPLOOSH!!* Some screaming that must have been...
Posted by robert.wood  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  12:25 AM
Why should the claws be out? If the tiger likes the water, sh/e's not being threatened by it, or manipulating things, so the paws may be velveted.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  11:52 AM
Tiger's love to play in water. A few years ago we went to "Out of Africa" in Arizona and watched a Tiger Spash performance. It really wasn't much of a performance as it was just the time of day when the tigers got to go in the area with the pool and play around. The only problem they had was the clorine in the pool was bleaching out the tiger's stripes.

There was also a habitat that had a lion and a tiger living together. The lion spent so much time with the tiger that he too also learned to play in huge tubs of water.
Posted by snarkychef  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  12:18 PM
Welcome to the world of aquatic cats. In addition to tigers, in Southeast Asia and Indonesia is another aquatic cat, the Fishing Cat.


Jaguar also are not adverse to being in water. Their habitat includes Central America and the Amazon rainforest.
Posted by martinelli  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  05:11 PM
Sorry kids. Take a second look at the picture. To me (comparing the two pictures, and the rest of the picture to its face) this is clearly at least two pictures together. Real swimming tiger, fake growly attacky swimming tiger. I've seen part underwater exibits like this for other swimming mammals (polar bears and hippos) so the tiger one doesn't surprise me. I don't think the San Diego or Henry Doorly zoos have tiger tank exibits, maybe the National Zoo?
Posted by Jen  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  09:18 PM
Hmm, I'd expect there to be more bubbles coming from the tiger's fur as it dived, but maybe there's a reason why there are none. As several people have menioned already, tigers swimming is not a rare event. One of the largest populations of wild tigers in the world is in a big swamp in Myanmar or somewhere like that, where they're notorious for dragging people out of boats (how often they actually do that, though, is questionable, but there have been a few officially documented cases of it happening). Tigers are quite happy to act like crocodiles.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sat Apr 22, 2006  at  11:14 PM
National Zoo (DC) does not have a tiger tank (at least not last time I was there... 1+ years ago.) They still had those crummy concrete bunker type exhibits where visitors are separated from the animals by a large concrete wall and a moat. Philadelphia zoo also has/had the same set up although they drained the water out of the moats after one of the cats drowned in it. (Its been even longer since I was there.. I went the last year of my college program to see their animal hospital 3+ years ago)

Polar bears at the Philly zoo do have a swim tank though I have never seen them using it. Not sure about National Zoo in DC.

Is it me or does the head on the tiger in pic look a little strange?
Posted by Emidawg  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  12:03 AM
I'm a russian linguist. Yes it's real. They even have a second thead you can go to for confirmation. Great pic, Alex, I'm impressed.
Posted by Angie  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  02:01 AM
No *way* that picture is real.
Posted by Smilespray  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  06:59 AM
The tiger does look real to me, maybe a little shocked by the temperature of the water or something like that, I think that the impact of the water might be pulling his face a bit or something, but I think it's real.
Posted by Dracul  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  08:20 AM
wouldn't it drown with its mouth open like that?
Posted by Nick D  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  08:28 AM
I think the big guy is just pissed because he's being dragged out of the tank by his tail. Most cats don't like that.
Posted by robert.wood  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  10:39 AM
To me it looks like this is a stuffed tiger. The posture looks wrong for an animal swimming and the snarly face and open mouth seem out of place. I also agree that there should be more bubbles if the tiger has just dived in.
Posted by Dax  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  12:19 PM
"wouldn't it drown with its mouth open like that?"
Nick D, I am guessing that you either don't swim much, or you never go underwater xD
As a native of California and one who owns a pool and frequently swims in the ocean (and has in the great lakes) and stuff... you can easily swim with your mouth open and you don't drown as long as you don't breath the water in xD
Posted by Mera  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  05:19 PM
And for those of you who are saying that there aren't enough bubbles... another fact of water... it throws off perspective. For all we know, he is pretty deep into the water and I am quite inclined to think that he is at least seven feet down in that image, and possibly deeper.
Tigers are about seven feet in length (with tail) and while you can't really see this guy's tail, it does not look like it's coming out of the water, as the camera is not right at the water's surface. I am guessing that the tail is behind the cat's behind, which is why you can't see it well. ALso, if it had just dived in (as opposed to just sort of lingering in the water in a sort of swim) the hind legs should be farther behind it, and in the direction of the surface unless the tiger just did a wonderous belly flop. Also, the bubbles do not HAVE to trail all the way down. Where they are is a realistic spot, I do believe.

I also do not think a growling tiger head was photoshoped onto the image... I mean... what would be the point? The artist would HAVE to edit the lighting (which matches, by the way) and they would have to chage the effect to the effect of fur so that it looks wet and wavy, when an underwater tiger shot would be just as impressive without the growl.

And the claws... I have no reason to suspect that the claws are out, as if the animal likes water, why should it extend its claws? I like the thought that someone presented that perhaps the temperature made it twist its face into a snarl.
And... I have a undeclawed cat who has *cough* suffered a few pool experiances, and he doesn't extend his claws when he's swimming as much as when he's trying to cling onto something to get out of the pool.

As to the painting of the tiger... I can easily rule that out as one who paints (albeit not at that skill) and one who looks at other's paintings. Even very realistic wildlife art I see still has that "oh, it's not real" flair going on. Example: http://www.deviantart.com/view/20553056/ http://www.deviantart.com/view/19990670/

Here are other underwater tigers, so you can actually believe that they DO swim (for those skeptics... I don't get how people automatically assume EVERYTHING is fake or real for that matter)

Aka, In your face skeptics :p
Posted by Mera  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  05:20 PM
Mera, I like the cut of your gib.
Posted by Sasquatch  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  04:28 AM
Well done Mera, there should be more people like you about.

I too get realy annoyed at people like Smilespray. I often feel like putting a tax on people who declare something fake because they've never seen something like it before.
A pity that it takes so much effort to convince people sometimes.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  06:50 AM
I have no problem believing that tigers swim. (I have seen the Discovery channel, after all. I also live nearby Busch Gardens, Tampa...and have seen their tigers playing in the water...)

What I have a hard time believing is that THIS picture is real. It looks much to perfect to me.
Posted by Maegan  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  12:44 PM
Hi, I just found so my picture is postet in this website.
I see people asking qustions if this real? yes this is real tiger.!
I shoot this tiger in Valejo Six Flag morine World... So if some want to see by own eyes go in to this place...
So if you have any qustion Send me in my Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by Sergey Bidun  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  02:14 PM
Of course big cats can swim. Some house cats are actually fond of water, as well. Friends of mine when I was a kid had a cat that would swim in the pool. In the natural feline habitat, water is part of their lives. They just dont like baths.
Posted by chyca  on  Mon Apr 24, 2006  at  07:13 PM
It has no doubt been cropped, balanced, sharpened, and digitally brushed. But you do (just occasionally) get good pictures like this if you're an ardent or professional photographer.

So no more fake that the cover of any lads' mag, Cosmo, Elle, etc. then.
Posted by David B.  on  Tue Apr 25, 2006  at  08:58 AM
I have also seen what I assume to be the same tiger at Marine World in Vallejo, California, so I can attest to the authenticity of the tiger, the small-but-deep swimming pool, and that the tiger jumps into it. I can't say whether that particular photo is real or not, but I have no reason to doubt it.
Posted by Taed  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  02:06 PM
I also recall the trainer pointing out specifically how the tiger folds back their ears to keep water out, which is exactly what the cat in that picture is doing.
Posted by Taed  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  02:08 PM
In regards to the comments regarding the tiger's face...

This is a "white tiger" that seems to display typical facial deformities that result from inbreeding.
Posted by Kerry  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  03:36 AM

1 There are no bubbles coming out of his coat.
2 Doesn't it just look "too glossy" to you?
3 Tigers love water. Why is he snarling?
4 I thought tigers had ears...
5 There are no teeth on his bottom lip, other than his fangs.
6 Where is his tail?
And last but not least...
7 Who in there right mind would swim with a tiger to get his picture!?
Posted by meerkat  on  Sun Jun 25, 2006  at  08:02 PM
I completely attest that it is real, and I saw it at Marine World in Vallejo, CA, just as the person who took the picture said they did.

There is a "wall" of glass/plastic/something along the side of the pool of water, so people sitting in the front row see exactly that view. You do not have to be in the water to take the picture.

Here is how the show is described on their web site (http://www.sixflags.com/parks/marineworld/ShowsAndEvents/index.html):
Tiger Island: Splash Attack!
Tiger Island
The Bengal and Siberian tiger will reign supreme at Six Flags Marine World's Tiger Island Splash Attack. Park guests will enjoy a fascinating encounter with the majestic Bengal tiger and our three spectacular Siberian tiger cubs. During designated times of the day, you'll have a chance to see our animal care staff conduct "hands-on" training sessions with these beautiful felines in showcasing the animal
Posted by Taed  on  Sun Jun 25, 2006  at  10:04 PM
see the mad cat in action here:


then try to convince me that its, what, fake too?
Posted by markoos  on  Tue Jun 05, 2007  at  03:48 PM
IT'S REAL!!! I used to work at Six Flags Marine World (now named Six Flags Discovery Kingdom), but not with the tigers. In answer to the post from Jun 25:
1 Yes there are. Click on the photo to see a larger image and you can see the bubbles.
2 No.
3 He's "snarling" because he's diving for a piece of meat. You think he dives to the bottom of the pool for kicks?
4 Tigers pin back their ears while diving to help keep the water out.
5 There are, you just can't see them in that pic.
6 His tail is above the water.
And last but not least...
7 The picture taker wasn't in the water. The pool has a plexiglass front so the public can view the tigers while swimming/diving.

You can e-mail me if you would like other photos sent to you.
Posted by Sean  on  Tue Jun 26, 2007  at  01:19 AM
well in research ive learned tigers do enjoy water! but the figures and looks on this tiger makes it hard to critisize if its real or fake. the chances in my book are 50/50 :wow:
Posted by jordann  on  Mon Sep 10, 2007  at  06:49 PM
Cats (tigers) are good swimmers that like the water. The retract their claws while swimming. The paws make better paddles when retracted.
Posted by Jim Orlando  on  Mon Aug 26, 2013  at  11:40 AM
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