tiger is on average, the largest of the big cats. A mature Siberian
tiger can top out at 11 feet long and close to 700 pounds. Tigers once
inhabited most of Asia, from the tropical islands to Siberia. Today
they are restricted to small patches of territory and very limited
populations of each of the 6 living subspecies. The
largest of the tigers, the Siberian or Amur tiger lives in the
coniferous forests of Russia where its thick fur and full neck ruff
keep it warm in deep snow. In contrast, the much smaller Sumatran tiger
lives in thick southern jungles and regularly bathes in ponds or
streams to keep cool. The Bengal tiger is the most common of the
sub-species. They are almost as large as Siberians with top weights in
the 500 pound range. Bengal tigers live in India, Bangladesh and Nepal
in semi-tropical jungles. The
stalk and ambush style hunter, and it's familiar stripes
provide camouflage in thick underbrush as it waits for prey as large as
water buffalo. They have the largest fangs in the animal world and are
very swift killers. The tiger is basically a
solitary animal with a typical feline
lifestyle. They roam wide and have
very large overlapping territories but
and aggression between individuals is rare, and amazingly, wild tigers
have been known to share their kill with other individuals, not always
family members, who may happen upon them feeding. This
behavior, so different from the highly food-aggressive African lion,
been well documented. The tiger, (and particularly the Bengal due to
its proximity to civilization) is responsible for more human deaths
then any other cat, hence the common term "man-eating tiger". A symbol
of conservation efforts, the tiger is critically endangered throughout
much of its range, but many of its small, pocket populations
have remained stable for years due to government crackdowns on poaching.
.The tiger is the third largest
carnivore on land smaller only than the polar bear and the brown bear.
But Bengal tigers in particular eat some of the largest prey, including
gaur antelope, sambar deer, and massive water buffalo over
1200 pounds, Tigers have been known to kill and eat sloth bears and
Asian black bears, baby rhinos and even leopards. There have been
isolated incidents reported of Bengal tigers taking down young
elephants and even full grown infirmed adults. Siberian tigers
actually prey on smaller game with deer and mountain goats being their
most common fare. The Bengal is also the most likely to kill human
beings because its range has been impacted by advancing development.
Most wild tiger subspecies do not intermingle because their
populations are separated by wide swaths of civilization,
but captive individuals in zoos, preserves and private
possession are not usually pure representatives of one species. More
often than not they are of mixed heritage out crossed between the
subspecies for so many generations of captivity that they are
effectively "mutts". .
Tiger Facts and Tiger Information Featuring the
Making More Tigers
Tigers will pair up for several days when the
female is in
estrus. Her pregnancy takes 3 1/2
months. In the last few days of pregnancy the female will secure a safe
nesting place because when she delivers her 3 to 5 cubs they will be
completely dependent on her. The newborn tiger cubs weigh only about 2
pounds, are blind and completely helpless.The mother only stays in the
same nest for a day or two and moves her cubs from hiding
hiding place one at a time for the first few months of their lives.
This is a very dangerous time for the cubs as she must leave them alone
while she hunts.
Often entire litters are lost when they are discovered by bears,
leopards or snakes. Fathers do not take part in the rearing of the
cubs, although they may on rare occasions return to
visit and rest nearby. Mother tigers begin to take their cubs on hunts
when they are about 6 months old, but they won't be able to
successfully hunt for themselves until they are about 2 years old. Once
they are fairly efficient hunters they begin to branch off from
developing their own territory which they will mark by clawing trees,
spraying urine and leaving strategic droppings. Young females with
their new litters will occasional visit with their mothers to show off
the grandkids. Alliances of adult females occur briefly from time to
time, but food of the size and quantity that tigers must have
is scarce and requires that tigers spread out in order to survive. The
depletion of large game animals is the single factor in the endangered
status of the tiger. Most of their habitat is compromised by human
expansion and the undisturbed acres they need are hard to come by.
Popular to a Fault
a recent poll, the
tiger was voted
favorite animal in the world, beating out the humble domestic dog by
percentage point. The Siberian tiger and the Bengal tiger with their
impressive size, spectacular coloring and breathtaking beauty have
captured peoples imaginations for thousands of years. Unfortunately,
capturing some of the tigers magic is a human obsession, and potions,
remedies and good luck charms made from almost every tiger body part
are big business. Tiger blood, crushed bones, and entire paws
skulls are highly prized to this day, and even as every sub-species of
tiger is endangered in the wild, illegal poaching still goes on to
supply the trade. Fortunately for the survival of the species, many
people still like their tigers alive, and while less than 5,000 tigers
survive in the wild, there are at least 60,000 in captivity, with over
10,000 kept as personal pets in the United States alone.
This Cat Loves Water
other cats, tigers do not shun water, in fact, they regularly play,
lounge and otherwise recreate in the ponds, lakes and rivers of hot
Asian jungles, swimming not just to cool off but just for the
have the largest fangs in the animal kingdom, in fact, the
longest Siberian tiger teeth on record were close to 5 inches. That's nothing to snarl about! Another
well equipped creature was the long
Saber-tooth tiger. The saber-tooth had fangs as long as 10 inches,
pierce the tough hides of woolly mammoths! The saber-tooth was not
actually a tiger though, it was a bear-like creature called a smilodon.
There is no evidence that the smilodon was striped, but we do know it
had only a 9 inch tail.
A Few More Tiger Facts
- The Siberian tiger is also known as the Amur tiger.
- The tiger is the largest of the four "Big Cats"
- Tigers love water! Playing, swimming and snoozing in it!
- There are 3 times as many tigers kept as personal pets in
the U.S. than exist in the wild.
- Tigers can eat 60 pounds of meat at one time.
- A group of tigers is called a "streak"
- Tigers can be found both on tropical islands and
in the snow covered wilderness of Siberia.