Oct
20
2008

Swim with the tigers: you can do it!

Swimming with a tiger: I think it looks like it would really be a spiritual experience.
Swimming with a tiger: I think it looks like it would really be a spiritual experience.Courtesy o205billege
J/K! You can’t! You totally can’t! No swimming with the tigers for you!

Unless, maybe, you’re a young person, and you haven’t yet entered that clammy pipe that empties out into your grave—that is to say a career. Perhaps you could study zoology, or become an animal handler and trainer, maybe then you could swim with those noble man-eaters.

Because some people are swimming with tigers. There might even be a person swimming with a tiger in a warm Florida pool right now, as you read this in your bleak computer lab or parents’ basement.

It turns out that being a huge tank of water with a five hundred pound tiger, the best swimmer of all the large cats, is somehow way easier and less frightening than being on solid ground with a five hundred pound tiger (obviously), and so “The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species” (TIGERS, if you will), near Miami, Florida, has created a special pool for tigers and their handlers to swim in together.

The tigers at TIGERS would usually only go swimming to retrieve chunks of meat thrown by the trainers. The obvious next step, decided the center’s director, was to put the trainers themselves in the pool. Swimming around together should allow the animals to bond better with the handlers (that’s the hope, anyway), and will give the tigers some exercise. A tiger in the water, the TIGERS director points out, is unable to rear up on its hind legs (behavior that can make training difficult). Humans in the water, I’ve noticed, are also unable to rear up on their hind legs. That seems like it could spell trouble.

One side of the 100,000 gallon tiger/human swimming pool is made of glass, so if anything unfortunate does happen, at least the public will be able to see it.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Here is a link to more photos of baby tigers who like a daily dip in a swimming pool with their female trainers.

posted on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 8:17am
zouapha's picture
zouapha says:

haha. that's funny "if anything unfortunate does happen, at least the public will be able to see it."

i enjoyed reading about this article and seeing the cool photos.

posted on Tue, 10/21/2008 - 6:06pm
tis-chick-s0-fly's picture
tis-chick-s0-fly says:

That would be scary to swim with a tiger. They would so eat you just like a shark. This is really crazy how a tiger can be swimming oh my gosh I can't believe this. lol

posted on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 12:02pm
Rainbow's picture
Rainbow says:

I think when a tiger is in a swimming pool, he is not thinking about hunting for prey because he is not in his usual surroundings. He is probably just enjoying swimming as it is. But the 'unfortunate' thing - should it happen - will sure be spectacular for viewers.

posted on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 3:47pm

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