Chinese media said the victim – named only as Zhang – scaled the fence of the tiger enclosure to avoid paying the £15 fee.
But when he jumped into the pit, the tigers pounced as his wife and kids watched on in horror.
Desperate zoo keepers scrambled to save the tourist after he climbed into the pen at Ningbo Younger Zoo in China during feeding time.
Shocking video shows the man writhing around in pain on the floor as the beasts – believed to be Bengals – sink their razor sharp jaws and claws into his flesh.
In a bid to spook the animals away, zoo keepers used firecrackers and water canons.
But their efforts were in vain and one of the big cats had to be shot dead.