Feline ballistics


Here’s a straightforward question in ballistics:

What velocity do you need to launch a 350 pound object over a 12.5 foot barrier that is 33 feet away?

The answer, thanks to Raza Syed, a physicist at Northeastern University in Boston, and a pal is: 26.7 miles per hour at an angle of about 55 degrees.

Now let’s make a few substitutions. Replace 350 pound object with a female Siberian Tiger called Tatiana. And for 12.5 foot barrier 33 feet away substitute the dimensions of the tiger enclosure at San Francisco zoo.

Is this kind of speed possible for a tiger? Apparently yes. Syed says tigers can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour with a run up of only a few feet so this enclosure was clearly no barrier to Tatiana.

After her leap for freedom, Tatiana killed 17-year old Carlos Souza and was shot dead after mauling two other victims.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0801.4407: Tiger Tales: A Critical Examination of the Tiger’s Enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo

104 Responses to “Feline ballistics”

  1. Rob says:

    The Vietnam war was an outgrowth of conflict begun by France in defense of their colonial interests in Southeast Asia. By the time the US became involved, France had bungled the affair badly already. Remember Dien Bien Phu in the 1950’s? A French Foreign Legion operation.

  2. Dr. Johnson says:

    For all who said “Tiger should have killed the other two”

    I’s wish the same if they were your spouse and your child. Now wait, what are the chances of a people lover like you ever having a spouse and a kid. Maybe it should have killed your parents and then we would never have another you on planet.

  3. A says:

    Even if those guys were acting like dumbasses, they didn’t “deserve” to get killed by the tiger. I can’t believe some posters here wish MORE people had gotten hurt.