Tiger (Panthera tigris)
Fun Fact: The tiger is a symbol of sensuality, beauty and passion.
Body and Skeletal Structure:
Tigers are around 4.8 to 11 ft long (1.5-3.4 m), depending on gender and location. Tail length is about 2.3 to 3.6 ft (.7-1.1 m). As for their weight, they’re typically around 165 to 716 lbs (75-325 kg). Like most animals, the males are larger than the females.
Fun Fact: The tiger is the largest member of the cat (felidae) family.
Tigers typically have long, thick orange-brown coats with white underbellies. Their tails are usually white and black. Their heads, bodies, tails and limbs are covered in narrow, typically black, stripes. A tiger’s stripes are good for camouflaging into the long grass or wooded forests of its habitat. However, some tigers can be all black with tan stripes, white and tan, or even albino (all white).
Fun Fact: Just like snowflakes, no two tigers’ stripes are exactly the same.
Tigers are carnivorous animals, meaning they hunt other animals for their meat. They mainly prefer to go after amber deer, wild pigs, water buffalo and antelope. However, they are known to occasionally hunt sloth bears, leopards, dogs, pythons, monkeys, and hares.
Tigers typically live to be around 14 to 26 years old.
Mating Season: Tropical Regions: November-April | Temperate Regions: Winter Months
Gestation Period: About 103 days
Litter Size: 2-7 cubs (Average: 3-4 cubs)
Communication and Behavior:
Although not as social as lions, tigers frequently use a variety of vocalizations are used by tigers to communicate over long distances. Roars are used for many things, though they’re commonly used when taking down prey, signaling sexual receptivity, and, specifically for females, calling to their young. These roars can be heard from over 1.8 miles (3 km) away. Moaning sounds, often described as subdued roars, are sometimes used while simply walking calmly with their heads bowed in a downward position. Chuffing is a friendly vocalization usually used in greetings. As for visual communication, visual markings such as scrapes on the ground and trees usually display a meaning of having a claim on territory. Also, a loose hanging tail is a sign of relaxed tiger, while a tense or frequently twitching tail displays aggression. Meanwhile, scent-marking is usually used as another way to communicate claims on territory. Also, their scent glands release some scents that are usually used to allow a cub to follow its mother’s footsteps.
Tigers are generally solitary cats unless a female is caring for her cubs or if it’s breeding time. They typically maintain a home range that can be several square miles, depending on the habitat and prey availability. Though, the males do tend to have larger territories than the females. Most tigers can get pretty territorial and often defend their territory from other tigers, though there are some that share it. Female tigers tend to have territories that focus on vital resources needed for taking care of cubs and that are near, or overlapping over, their mother’s territory. Also, tigers are mostly nocturnal, meaning they’re more active at night, and ambush-predators that reply on their camouflage. These animals use their body weight to knock their prey onto the ground and then proceed to kill it. As for the cubs, they are usually seen practicing their hunting skills with each other by participating in games of “extreme tag” that contain lots of chasing, tackling, wrestling, and growling. They even practice their ambush skills on their resting mother!
Habitat and Range:
Tigers live in a variety of habitats. They can be found among flooded mangrove forests, arid forests, tropical forests, taigas, savannas, grasslands, rocky country, and some snowy habitats.
Tigers are currently known to be Endangered, though there are some subspecies, such as the Sumatran Tiger (Critically Endangered), that are more so. In fact, 3 tiger subspecies are actually extinct. Tigers are continually threatened by habitat loss and poachers who are after their fur and various body parts. These body parts are often used in traditional medicines to “cure” diseases, but this has actually been proven to be very ineffective. These body parts don’t actually provide a “cure” for any illnesses or diseases. Currently, there are no more than 5,000 tigers in the world.