Friday 30 June 2017


Here's one I made earlier - a green tiger created by me via computerised photo-manipulation (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Quoting from a previous ShukerNature blog article of mine (click here to read it):

In various of my books, articles, and ShukerNature posts concerning cryptozoological and mythological big cats, I have documented lions of many different hues and shades, including black lions (click here, here, and here), white lions (click here), grey lions, red lions, golden lions, and even an alleged green lion (click here) – but never a blue lion. Blue tigers, yes (click here) – blue lions, no. Until now, that is.

I then went on to reveal that I had recently discovered some African and Asian legends relating to blue lions that I had never known about before, and I devoted the rest of that blog article to them.

But why am I reiterating all of this here? The reason is that I now find myself in a comparable situation with tigers. Over the years, I have documented tigers in virtually every conceivable shade and stripe version – blue tigers as already noted, plus black tigers (click here), white tigers (here), golden tigers (here), snow tigers (here), red tigers, brown tigers, double-striped tigers, and even stripeless tigers (all of which are also collectively documented in my books Mystery Cats of the World and Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery) – except for one. I had never encountered a report or sighting of a green tiger – until now, that is.

In an earlier ShukerNature article, I mentioned how correspondent James Nicholls from Perth, Australia, had sent me a fascinating email on 27 June 2017 referring to a hitherto-obscure published account from 1821 concerning giant oil-drinking spiders reputedly inhabiting two of Europe's very notable edifices of worship, an account that almost certainly inspired Bram Stoker to insert a short, comparable account in his classic Gothic novel Dracula (1897). Click here to read on ShukerNature my investigation of this fascinating subject. However, that wasn't the only remarkable piece of information contained in James's email to me.

It also included a link to a thoroughly extraordinary account on the website Reddit, which had been posted on Christmas Day 2016 by someone with the username AnathemaMaranatha and seemingly of American nationality (judging from their style of grammar and spelling, and various other Reddit posts by them), and consisted of their supposed first-hand eyewitness description of a truly unique mystery cat. It reads as follows: (Or click here to view it in its original format on Reddit.)

Okay. I saw a green tiger. I wasn't alone.

We were out towards the Cambodian border in summer of 1969, an American light infantry company of about 100 or so guys. We were operating in flatlands, thick jungle, along a river. (Saigon River? Not sure.) Bright, sunny day.

We were proceeding single file when point platoon came to a stop, there was some yelling (we were stealthy - yelling is bad) from the point, then point platoon radioed for the Command Post (CP - the company commander and his people) to come up to point.

When we got there, we found the point team glaring at each other - some kind of tussle. Point and drag were standing in the machine gunner's line of fire glaring at him. The machine gunner had wanted to shoot. Point and drag stopped him. He didn't like that.

The object of discussion was across a jungle opening maybe 15 meters away, just peeking at us over the elephant grass. It was a big tiger - biggest I've ever seen, Frank Frazetta-style big, but without the lady.

Here's the insane part. The tiger was white where a tiger is white and black where a tiger is black, but all the orange parts were a pale green. We all saw it, maybe twenty grunts and me. The machine gunner was arguing that we have to shoot it, because otherwise no one would believe it. He had a point.

But the rest of us were just awestruck. I mean, it might as well have been an archangel, wings halo and all. I felt an impulse to kneel. I don't think I was alone.

The tiger stood there checking us out for maybe 15 minutes, not worried, not angry, just a curious cat. Then he turned and disappeared.

Don't believe me? That's okay. I don't believe it myself. I mean WTF was that? Hallucinogenic elephant grass? Some trick of the light? The tiger walked through some kind of green pollen just before we saw it? No freakin' idea.

There it is, OP. I don't believe it, and I saw it. Or hallucinated it. Me and all my blues. Make of it what you will. I'm done.

In fact, this person did make a few additional, minor comments in reply to various responses from other Reddit readers, of which the following one is well worth recording here:

I apologize for not making clear that the tiger was scaring the shit out of all us. He did NOT look sick or malnourished. He looked like he could be right in the middle of all of us in no time flat. He thought so, too. Didn't seem the least bit scared of us.

And I guess he wasn't hungry.

Another of my computer-generated green tigers (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Not surprisingly, faced with an account from someone claiming to have encountered a green tiger, my initial reaction was to assume that it was just a spoof, a joke, not to be taken seriously. But then I decided to investigate the credentials of the person who had posted it, especially as their account did sound as if it had been written by someone familiar with military action in Vietnam, and I was very intrigued to discover that they had written a number of other, much more mainstream and very detailed accounts on Reddit concerning their alleged time and military service there during the Vietnam War that all seemed entirely authentic (e.g. click here), and had been well-received by Vietnam veterans who would surely spot and soon expose any imposter. Consequently, it seems both reasonable and parsimonious to assume that this person's Vietnam-related testimony is indeed genuine.

But a green tiger? Really? I noticed that the green tiger account had attracted an interesting response (by someone with the unfortunate username eggshitter):

It was a bright sunny day right? Is there any chance that there was some murky green pool that reflected the light on to the tiger? Maybe he had just been rolling around in the grass?

Other, later posters made similar comments. They reminded me of a suggestion that has been put forward in the past concerning the blue tigers of Fujian, China – namely, that perhaps their distinctive fur colouration was simply due to their having rolled in bluish-coloured mud. However, as I have pointed out when responding to this suggestion, if that were true the entire tiger would look blue, whereas eyewitnesses have specifically mentioned seeing their black stripes and pale underparts, which of course would have been obscured if they had rolled in mud. The same logic, therefore, can be applied to the green tiger had it merely been rolling around in grass, or even, perhaps, in an alga-choked jungle pool.

Conversely, an optical illusion induced by reflected light is certainly possible. Yet bearing in mind the substantial length of time of the observation (15 minutes), and which was made by several different people simultaneously rather than just a single observer, this might initially seem somewhat improbable too.

On 19 November 2012, however, after having blogged about an alleged green lion seen in Uganda, East Africa (click here), I had received a fascinating response from John Valentini Jr (a Cryptomundo website reader who had seen a link to my article posted there by fellow cryptozoologist Nick Redfern), and which is also directly relevant to this present green tiger conundrum. So here is the summary of John's response that I added as a comment below my green lion blog article:

One day, while visiting a local zoo, John photographed a lioness, of totally normal colouration, but when he received his negatives and prints back from the developers (i.e. back in the days before digital photography), he was very surprised to discover that in them the lioness was green! She had been walking through an expanse of grass with her body held low when he had photographed her, and at the precise angle that John was photographing her the green light reflecting from the grass had made her look green. (Some grass, noted John, can be around 18-26% reflective.) Having to concentrate keeping his camera focused upon her through only a small viewfinder and thick glass, however, John hadn't noticed this optical effect himself - not until the negatives and prints had subsequently revealed it. Consequently, John speculates that perhaps, if viewed at precisely the correct angle, a similar effect could occur with a lion observed in the wild in decent light conditions but with plenty of green foliage around it, and that this may explain the Ugandan prospector's claimed sighting of a green lion.

Needless to say, I am delighted that John documented his extraordinary photographic experience on Cryptomundo in response to the link to this ShukerNature article of mine, as it may indeed offer a very plausible, rational explanation for the alleged green lion of Uganda - but one so remarkable that I would never even have thought of it, had John not posted it - so many thanks, John, once again!

Yes indeed, and it may also offer an equally plausible, rational explanation for the alleged green tiger of Vietnam – always assuming, of course, that the report is genuine. And there, at least for now, is where this most intriguing case rests, currently unproven but undeniably curious.

Of course, despite having bewailed the fact that I had never previously encountered anything about green tigers, there is one undoubted exception…of sorts. And that exception, as cartoon and super-hero fans everywhere are no doubt only too ready and waiting to remind me, is of course a certain golden-striped green tiger named Cringer – the very large but also very cowardly feline companion of Prince Adam, aka He-Man, in the very popular Masters of the Universe cartoon TV series (1983-1985) produced by Filmation (and also in the later movie starring Dolph Lundgren). Of course, when He-Man points his sword towards Cringer and fires an energy beam at him, Cringer redeems himself by transforming (albeit reluctantly) into his even bigger and now totally fearless, ferocious alter-ego felid called Battle Cat.

Two views of my original 1983 model of Cringer/Battle Cat (© Dr Karl Shuker)

As far as I am aware, however, neither as Cringer nor as Battle Cat has this green-furred tigerine celebrity ever paid a visit to Vietnam…

Finally: just in case anyone is confused by this ShukerNature article's main title, it is a play on the title of a traditional English folk song, 'Green Grow The Rushes, O', which was also often used with children as a counting song (and should not be confused, incidentally, with the similarly-titled song 'Green Grow The Rushes' by Robert Burns).

I am extremely grateful to James Nicholls for very kindly bringing this apparent eyewitness report of a green tiger to my attention.

My two books on mystery cats (© Dr Karl Shuker)


  1. Cleary the tiger wasn't ripe enough yet.

    All jokes aside, the Cat of a Different Color phenomenon is quite an interesting addition to the cryptozoological menagerie. Too bad it isn't as widely covered as some of the more famous cryptids.

  2. this should interest you.