Tigers are ferocious predators whose sheer size often allows them to dominate their enemies. But an intense battle between this Bengal tiger and sloth bear ended in a surprising victory for the bear, proving that fearless defiance can get you far in the animal world.

IMAGE: Mritunjay Tiwary / Caters News

The bear and her cub had approached a watering hole in India’s Tadoba National Park when they caught the attention of a highly territorial male tiger who was standing guard. When the tiger began pursuing the cub, the mother immediately stepped in and challenged the big cat.

As one of the largest cat species, with males capable of reaching nearly 700 pounds in body weight, tigers can usually overpower these smaller bears. In fact, they’ve been known to hunt sloth bears occasionally in ambush-style attacks.

But sloth bears can also hold their own against large predators like the tiger, and even rhinos and elephants, when necessary. When threatened, the bear becomes highly aggressive and will actually charge at their attackers. While they mostly feed on termites and rarely prey on other mammals, their sharp claws, large canine teeth and assertive attitude make them formidable opponents for any predator who choose to engage them head-on — even a fully-grown tiger.

In the dramatic video, both animals exchange swipes, with the cat sinking its teeth into the back of the bear’s neck several times. After a lengthy battle, the tiger appears to have gotten the upper hand, but, out of nowhere, the bear seems to summon new strength and frees itself from the tiger’s clutches.

Utilizing a typical bear strategy, the badly injured sloth bear stands on its hind legs to make itself larger and show dominance, before finally chasing the tiger back into the water.

Filmed by Mritunjay Tiwary / Caters News. India on February 28th 2018