The tiger pounced on Tambun Gediu while he was hunting squirrels Saturday near his home in a jungle settlement of the Jahai tribe, a police official in Malaysia's Perak state said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
Tambun's 55-year-old wife, Han Besau, rushed out when she heard his screams and struck the tiger on its head with a kitchen ladle, causing it to flee immediately, the official said.
Tambun was receiving treatment at a hospital for lacerations on his face and legs. He told Malaysian media that he first tried to escape by climbing a tree, but the tiger dragged him down.
"I was terrified and I used all my strength to punch the animal in the face, but it would not budge," the New Straits Times newspaper quoted him as saying. "I had to wrestle with it to keep its jaws away from me, and it would have clawed me to death if my wife had not arrived."
Shabrina Shariff, the state's wildlife department director, told The Star daily that wildlife rangers planned to track down the tiger and chase it deeper into the jungle, where there were no human inhabitants.