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Taste for Human Blood
“When an animal (shark, alligator, bear, dog, etc etc ...) bites a human being and is subsequently being hunted down to be killed for the reason "Now he has a taste for human blood", is that just an excuse or is there some scientific basis for that?
My reason for asking is I can't help but wonder "If the animal only just now, after biting the human, got a taste for human blood, why did he bite him in the first place?"
Isn't that the nature of the animal to begin with? If so, couldn't you say that about all like species?
Sounds like ridiculous excuse for revenge to me. Anybody have reason to believe otherwise?”
“The taste for blood is a poor excuse. I'm of the notion that once an animal bites/attacks a human it begins to "realize" that maybe humans aren't the dominant species and are in reality fragile. No more being afraid/skittish of the big bad human that is until a bullet rips through it's brain.
“Stephen Herrera's work on bears suggests that the problem is bears associating humans with food, whether it be garbage or feeding on humans.”
“I have heard that saying, but then I have also heard it's not true.
I think the reasoning is more like if a shark eats a person, they are too close to shore so they are then hunted. Then for bears, they are going after humans because hikers don't hang their food. Dogs with deer, elk etc., they are just running after an animal for fun. I don't think they really want to eat the animal if they were to catch up with it. Most cases, the animal would hoof them to death or with a bear, claw them to death.
Bears do eat squirrels, but I believe they tend to be herbivores.”
“I think the ease of the kill (talking manEATERS here, not mankillers or manbiters) is what makes them do it rather than a "taste" per se. A bite alone could be a reaction (anger, fear) rather than a perceived dining experience. So are you talking killing and eating or just biting?”
“So are you talking killing and eating or just biting?
All of the above. Anytime the excuse it used.”
I think "taste for human blood" is nothing more than an excuse/term that really describes a lack of fear of humans and in the case of a maneater, the acquired "knowledge" that we can be easy meals.”
“Untrue. If it were my dog would have tried to eat me when she was a teething puppy.”
“Teething is another issue...unless I'm missing something. 'Splain please.
Never mind LZ, I think you were responding to the original question, sorry.
last edited: 7/20/05 10:31:43 PM”
“When my dog was teething, one of her favorite chew toys was me. There was a few times when she drew blood. She has never tried to kill me, unless you count trying to smother me by standing on my chest to wake me up in the morning.
last edited: 7/20/05 10:32:53 PM”
“Damn I'm slow---ya beat me to it, LOL.
I better go to bed.
last edited: 7/20/05 10:34:00 PM”
“i do know that most sharks are not into the longpig, a couple of exceptions are, i believe, mako and tiger shark.
great whites, for example only bite out of curiosity or they think youre a seal or something. but thats a hella nibble”
“It's just my personal opinion that most wild animals have a natural fear of humans. After all, we're the most voracious predators on the planet. These animals become dangerous when they lose that fear. Many often times by easy pickens or being fed by humans.”
“We eat more sugar so we taste better.”
“I can't find the dang thing, but I read an interesting article on why humans aren't eaten more often by predators; we don't taste good. I think it was in Discover magazine about 10 years ago.”
“the taste for blood thing is bs...not sure about sharks but every other animal that kills a human doesn't do it for food...it's usually for defense or guarding territory...if you study the stories about humans being killed by wild animals a lot of them involve the human doing something stupid
i think another thing is that in our "safety conscience" world people are too afraid to even find out if the animal will kill again
what i never understood is when they go on these "hunts" are they ever for sure that the animal they destroyed is the culprit”
“There have been cases of old predators hunting humans because they are much easier to catch. Then there have been young predators that are lazy. The two Tsavo lions killed over 130 people in 9 months. I think once a predator realizes a certain type of prey is easier to catch, they go after the easy meal. It takes alot of work for predators to live in the wild, the easier they can get food, the better off they will be. As for sharks "mistaking" humans for prey I think that is a bunch of baloney. A shark sees flailing in the water, he attacks it cause he might be able to eat it. Plain and simple. By saying the shark didn't mean to attack the human is silly.”
“Oh and to answer Lipstick's thoughts on the culinary habits of bears... They love meat. They are omnivores but prefer meat. Animals like that need lots of protein. Grizzlies in Alaska eat lots of fish, so do blacks for that matter. Bears here in Wisconsin love ants, small animals, and roadkill. Bears are like pigs, they will basically eat anything that doesn't eat them first and if it's easy to catch and eat that is their diet.”
“just saw a neat thing on the discovery channels "shark week" this week that said there is new evidence that some great white attacks might be territorial and not actually for food...they've seen a lot of attacks where the shark didn't actually bit the person but "punched" them with their nose”
“It depends to some degree on the animal in question. Generally, the "taste for blood" argument is a load of bull#&%!$.
Sharks, as has been mentioned, will bite for numerous reasons...territory, curiosity (hey, what is that? does it taste good?), or confusion (hey, that guy on a surfboard looks like a sea turtle). I don't think I know of an occasion where a human was actually hunted by a shark.
When speaking of land animals, however, you run into a different issue. Many land animals are known to occasionally hunt and eat humans...mt lions, grizzlies, tigers, lions, and others, I'm sure. They don't do it often, though, b/c we humans aren't too easy to bring down. We oftentimes travel in groups, and our groupmates will fight to save us, unlike deer and antelope who may only just watch...unless it's a mother protecting her young. Wolves have been known to attack, also...but only when food is EXTREMELY scarce and they're starving and desperate and will try anything for a bite to eat. They're smart enough to know that we fight back.
When talking about dogs, we run into different issues again. Dogs that have a tendency to bite people aren't in it for the taste of blood...they do it because it generates a desired response. Those dogs have learned that if they bite someone, that person will leave them alone. Dogs that behave this way have generally not been socialized very well, and are not very accepting of the things people tend to do to dogs (petting on the head, pulling tails, getting close to the face, etc). Puppies don't realize that our skin is more delecate than theirs, so they need to be taught to be gentle.
The rationale for killing wild animals who have developed a tendency to attack or kill humans makes sense, though. If we don't go after that animal who has realized that people are easily killed, we are making ourselves easy prey. If that animal continues to live and breed, it will be more likely to show its young that people are easy prey. By killing an animal that has been known to attack or kill humans, individuals in that population who are wary of people will breed more, so in that way, we are minimizing future encounters.
It sounds harsh, but it makes sense. It will never completely eliminate animals who attack people...because they are thinking, intelligent creatures who size up every animal as to whether they are prey or not. Some animals are more bold than others, and will be more likely to try taking a person.
In regards to dogs, euthanizing the problematic dog is a question of public safety. If the dog isn't euthanized, its chances of attacking another person are high, and it becomes a legal liability.
For sharks, people probably use the "taste for blood" argument there more often. If it's a territorial shark attacking people on a beach, then killing it eliminates the risk of other people being attacked in territorial behaviors. However, if it's a case of mistaken identity or curiosity, then killing the shark won't do much good. I think we'd probably be better off taking other measures to protect beachgoers than hunting down the shark.”
“i agree with most of what you say maps but i don't think killing ALL animals that kill humans is the answer
maybe the ones that actually "hunt" a human but what about the one that kills a jogger that is jogging someplace they shouldn't be jogging, all by her/himself, and with no protection...or the lone backpacker who doesn't handle their food right...not that these people deserve what they get but they did cause the situation...these animals aren't "hunting" these humans, they think they're just protecting themselves”
“I'm not saying the people who get attacked deserve it by any means. What I am saying, though, is that some animals will develop a habit of killing people if we don't stop it from happening again. One reason people have survived so long is our sense of community...where the community sets out to protect an individual. If we stop doing that when it comes to wild animal attacks, the animals capable of hunting and killing us will do just that more and more often b/c we have suddenly made ourselves easy targets.
A single person walking through the woods has no natural defenses. If we have a knife or a gun or other weapons or defenses, that changes. But...IMO, it's no different if the attackee kills or maims his/her attacker or if the community does so later. The end result is the same...the animal in question either gets maimed and realizes that people are a tough catch and thinks twice later (if it lives long enough for that), or it gets killed and it just can't attack anymore. I would argue that maiming the animal to teach a lesson is less humane than just outright killing it.”
“Moral of the story... never go hiking sandwiched between two huge graham crackers while carrying giant marshmallows coated with slightly melted Hershey's Bars. It's just not worth the risk, folks.”
“Damn Buck, now I have to replan my whole trip. Where were ya yesterday?”
“watch out for kissyduck, sarge. dont let him get a taste!”
“Buck - Despite all we've studied about animal and human behavior, the best prediction of future behavior is usually based on past behavior. An animal who has already done an unusual behavior (for the species) is more likely to do it again, than an animal that has never done it.
Whether it involves overcoming the fear and avoidance of humans, or the satisfactions of successful predation, may depend on the specific animal. I think the "taste for human blood" theory is unlikely to hold any credibility unless the animal had a satisfactory feed on its victim.”
“Well it's like in the movie Team America. Gary's brother jumped in the gorilla pen to save him, but he forgot about the blueberries in his pocket. They ripped him to shreds going after those damn blueberries. And then harkening back to the old Carol Burnett Show. Tim Conway played a shark hunter who hated sharks. The reason he hated them was because sharks had killed the love of his life. He said when their boat was going down she jumped off the boat to swim to shore. She would have made it if she hadn't have been wearing her lucky ham.”
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