Examples of foreshadowing can be found from the opening paragraphs of the story. There is the immediate description of the ominous-sounding "Ship-Trap Island," where "Sailors have a curious dread of the place." There is the feeling of evil that hangs about the area, the gunshots that are heard on the supposedly uninhabited island, and the unrecognizable animal sounds heard by Rainsford as he swims to shore. Resting after his long swim, Rainsford notes the cliff and the jungle found on the island, but
What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then.
After meeting Zaroff, Rainsford is presented with clues about the nature of the Cossack's new prey: The Russian disagrees about the Cape buffalo being the world's most difficult prey; instead, he tells Rainsford that "I hunt more dangerous game." Zaroff's talk of being bored with regular big game is another clue that it is not animals that he now hunts. And when Zaroff explains that his new prey can "reason," Rainsford finally understands that it is man that provides Zaroff with his new thrill. Although Rainsford is shocked when he discovers he is to be Zaroff's new prey, the reader should have recognized that the lavish meals and drink and Rainsford's long sleep was meant to put him in a fresh and healthy state in order to make Zaroff's game as challenging as possible.