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Tiger
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Tiger Video
Sumatran Tiger Feeding and Siberian Tigers Resting


Tiger Range Map (South & East Asia)
Tiger Range Map (South & East Asia)


Tiger
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

Tiger
© www.pgoimages.com
Photographer: Per-Gunnar Ostby of www.pgoimages.com

Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger at South Lakes Wild Animal Park,
Dalton-in-Furness, UK © theanimalfiles.com

Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger
Photographer: Anant

Indochinese Tiger
Indochinese Tiger
Photographer: Kabir Bakie

Malayan Tiger
Malayan Tiger
Photographer: B_cool

Sumatran Tiger
Sumatran Tiger

Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger
Photographer: S Taheri

South China Tiger
South China Tiger
Photographer from Save China's Tigers

Javan Tiger
Javan Tiger

Caspian Tiger
Caspian Tiger

White Tigers
White Tigers

Latin Name Panthera tigris
Conservation Status Endangered
Location South & East Asia
Colour Orange with Black Markings
Length 1.4 - 2.8 m (4.5 - 9.25 ft)
Tail 60 - 110 cms (24 - 43 inches)
Weight 100 - 300 Kgs (220 - 660 lbs)
Life Expectancy

8 - 10 Yrs (wild)
Up to 26 Yrs (in captivity)

Main Characteristics

Tigers are the largest of the four big cats. They have a body length between 1.4 and 2.8 m (4.5 - 9.25 ft), a shoulder height between 80 and 110 cms (31 - 43 inches), a tail length between 60 and 110 cms (24 - 43 inches) and they weigh between 100 and 300 kgs (220 - 660 lbs).

The base colour of a Tiger's coat ranges from a dark rusty/orange to a lighter yellow/orange and they have dark vertical stripes that are unique to each individual. Their underside and parts of their face are cream/white in colour. The colour of each subspecies of Tiger differs depending on their location, the Siberian Tiger tends to be lighter in colour with less bold stripes while the bengal tiger has a strong orange colouration with bold, dark stripes.

The length of their fur also depends on their location. The Siberian Tiger has longer, more dense fur that enables it to stay warm in the cold climate of Siberia. Their fur length also varies with the different seasons, with it being longer during the winter months. Tigers that live in tropical locations, such as the Sumatran Tiger, tend to have shorter, less dense fur.

Male Tigers have a ruff of fur around the back of their head and this is particularly pronounced in Siberian Tigers. Tigers have numerous thick, white whiskers and these assist them in finding their way around in the dark. Their ears are small and rounded and their eyes are round and amber in colour. Like most cats, Tigers have excellent senses of sight and hearing. They have large canine teeth that are 5.5 - 6.5 cms (2.2 - 2.6 inches) in length and adult Tigers have 30 teeth in total.

Tigers have large feet with 5 toes on their fore feet and 4 on their hind. Their claws are long and retractable being up to 10 cms (3.9 inches) in length.

Tigers are mainly active at dawn and dusk, they are strong swimmers and enjoy spending time in the water. Despite their size they can reach speeds of 49 - 65 km/hr (35 - 40 mph) and they can leap 9 - 10 m (30 - 33 ft) in length and up to 5 m (16 ft) high. They are just behind mountain lions with regard to their jumping ability.

There is a well known mutation, known as chinchilla albinistic, that produces a White Tiger. These are rare in the wild but are widely bred in zoos. White Tigers are not a separate subspecies neither are they albinos, they are a colour variation of the Bengal Tiger. White tigers have a white base coat with brown stripes, a pink nose and blue eyes.

There have also been reports of Blue Tigers and Black Tigers (mellanistic), however, these reports are unconfirmed and there has been no physical evidence that suggests their existence.

Habitat

Tigers are found in a variety of habitats in south and east Asia. Their habitats include tropical forests, evergreen forests, woodlands, grasslands, rocky country, swamps and savannas. They prefer areas that have dense cover and access to a water source.

They are solitary animals and mark their territories with urine, secretions from their anal glands, faeces and scratch marks. Female Tigers have territories that are 25 - 1,600 sq. kms (10 - 618 sq. miles). Male Tigers have territories that are much larger and they will be connected to the smaller territories of several females.

The size of a Tiger's territory is dependent on the available resources and the largest territories belong to Siberian Tigers. Tigers defend their territory strongly and will fight any strange Tiger that strays within their range.

Diet

Tigers are carnivorous, they mainly feed on medium and large sized prey and their diet varies depending on their location. They prey upon chital, sika deer, roe deer, musk deer, rusa deer, elk, gaur, water buffalo, wild boar, and they sometimes take smaller prey such as birds, monkeys, reptiles and fish.

Occasionally they will kill more formidable predators such as dholes, leopards, pythons, bears and crocodiles although generally these predators will try to avoid each other.

They will readily eat carrion and sometimes young elephants and rhinos, but fully grown adults are too dangerous to attack. They will also sometimes kill domestic animals and these Tigers are termed cattle-lifters or cattle-killers in contrast to the typical game-killers.

Tigers hunt alone and they ambush their prey, overpowering them from any angle and using their body size and strength to knock large prey off balance. They bite the throat of large prey and using their forelimbs, they drag it to the ground. They will then hold onto the throat until the prey dies. In the case of smaller prey they will bite the back of the neck, often breaking the spinal cord, piercing the windpipe or severing the jugular vein or carotid artery. This results in instantaneous death for the prey.

Tigers will eat up to 40 kgs (88 lbs) of meat at a time and they will return to a large kill to feed for 3 - 6 days.

Tigers will rarely prey on humans but if they do there is usually a reason for it such as the Tiger is too old or perhaps injured to hunt for its natural prey. Tigers that prey on humans are known as man-eaters and they were a particular problem in India in the early part of the 20th century. A hunter called Jim Corbett tracked down and killed the Champawat Man-eating Tigress and there were also attacks from the Sunderbans Man-eaters and Tara of the Dudhwa National Park.

Breeding

After a gestation period of approximately 104 days, 2 - 4 Tiger cubs are born in a den. At birth the cubs weigh approximately 1 kg (2.2 lbs) and they have their eyes and ears closed.

When the cubs reach 8 weeks old they are ready to accompany their mother from the den and it is at this point that she starts to feed them meat. They become independent at around 18 months old but tend to stay with their mother until they are at least 2 years old.

When they leave their mother males will move away and find their own territory, females however will stay in the same area as their mother and secure a territory close to hers. Tigers reach sexual maturity at 3 - 4 years of age.

Predators

Tigers have no natural predators, only humans prey upon them

Subspecies

There are 9 recognized subspecies of Tiger, 3 of which are now extinct:

Bengal Tiger
(Panthera tigris tigris)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are also known as the Royal Bengal Tiger or Indian Tiger. They are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar. They live in a variety of habitats including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. They are the most numerous subspecies with population estimates being 3,000 - 4,500 individuals in the wild. This is the subspecies that is mainly associated with White Tigers.

Indochinese Tiger
(Panthera tigris corbetti)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They are also known as Corbett's Tiger. They are found in Cambodia, laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. They live in forests in mountainous or hilly regions and it is estimated that there are between 1,000 and 1,700 individuals left.

Malayan Tiger
(Panthera tigris malayensis)
Conservation Status: Endangered
They were only considered a subspecies in their own right in 2004. They are exclusively found in the southern part of the Malay Peninsula and there are 600 - 800 individuals in the wild making them the third largest Tiger population.

Sumatran Tiger
(Panthera tigris sumatrae)
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered.
They are found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and it is estimated that there are 400 - 500 individuals left in the wild. They are the smallest of all the living subspecies and their small size is an adaptation to the thick, dense forests in which they live and the smaller sized prey which they hunt.

Siberian Tiger
(Panthera tigris altaica)
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
They are also known as the Amur Tiger. They are found in the Amur region in far eastern Siberia and it is estimated that there are 450 - 500 individuals left. They are considered the largest subspecies and they are the largest and heaviest of all naturally occurring felines.

South China Tiger
(Panthera tigris amoyensis)
Conservation Status: Critically Endangered
They are also known as: South Chinese Tiger, Chinese Tiger, Amoy Tiger, Xiamen Tiger. They are found in the forests of south China and they are the most critically endangered of all the Tiger subspecies. They are the third smallest subspecies and it is estimated that there are less than 30 individuals left in the wild.

Balinese Tiger
(Panthera tigris balica)
Conservation Status: Extinct (1937)
They were also known as the Bali Tiger and they used to be found on the small indonesian island of Bali. They were the smallest subspecies of Tiger and they became extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. They were declared extinct on September 27th, 1937.

Javan Tiger
(Panthera tigris sondaica)
Conservation Status: Extinct (1980s?)
They used to be found on the indonesian island of Java. They became extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. The exact time of extinction remains unknown but it was probably sometime during the 1980s.

Caspian Tiger
(Panthera tigris virgata)
Conservation Status: Extinct (Late 1950s)
They were also known as the Persian Tiger and they were the western most subspecies of Tiger being found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. They were the third largest subspecies of Tiger and along with the Bengal Tiger, they were used in roman arenas to fight gladiators, aurochs and barbary lions.

Interesting Facts

The Tigers in the video at the top of this page are in captivity at South Lakes Wild Animal Park. The park is an active conservation park and it is involved with the Sumatran Tiger Trust.

A Siberian Tiger has given birth to 2 cubs in a Russian zoo. See Video>

The Tiger is the national animal of:
Bangladesh (Bengal Tiger)
India (Bengal Tiger)
Nepal (Bengal Tiger)
Malaysia (Malayan Tiger)
North Korea (Siberian Tiger)
South Korea (Siberian Tiger)

Tigers have killed more humans than any other wild cat.

The Indochinese Tiger, also known as Corbett's Tiger, was named after the hunter Jim Corbett.

Charities


The Sumatran Tiger Trust
Reg Charity No. 1082186
www.tigertrust.info

Save China's Tigers
www.savechinastigers.org



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