Tiger

tiger

Size

Tigers are the largest of all naturally occurring cat species. On average an adult male Bengal Tiger will reach weights of up to 500 pounds and have a length (from head to tip of tail) of 122 inches, while standing 40 inches at the shoulder. Many Tigers in captivity have been hybridised slightly between sub species, and the majority will reach similar sizes to the Bengal.

Habitat and Distribution

Tigers live in small pockets within their range, and can be found in some parts of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Nepal, Vietnam and Thailand. Through its range it can be found mainly in woodland habitat, even being found in areas around human habitation.

Age

In the wild these Tigers generally live for 10 to 15 years but in zoos they can be expected to live for up to 20 years or more.

Diet

This is a carnivore taking a large variety of prey, with the majority of its diet being made up of medium sized ungulates such as Chital, Sambar and Gaur, however when given the opportunity they may also take larger prey such as Water Buffalo. During times when such larger prey is not plentiful they are known to also hunt animals such as Wild Boar or in some areas domestic livestock.

Groups and Breeding

Tigers are generally fairly solitary animals, with the young staying with their mother until they are 2 to 3 years old, during which time the mother plays a vital role in not only feeding but also protecting their vulnerable offspring (especially from other predators such as Leopards and other Tigers – especially males). As a result Tigers all live in set territories (while males will always have their own, several females may share a territory), and these are marked by urine sprayed on markers such as trees and bushes.

Each female can give birth to between 1 and 4 cubs at a time, after a gestation period of around 105 days, which will all suckle from their mother until they are anywhere between 3 and 6 months old. A female will only have 1 litter of cubs at any one time, so she may only breed once every 3 years once she reaches maturity at around 3 years old.

Threats

Out of the Tiger subspecies the Bengal Tiger is the most numerous in the wild, and is classified as being endangered by the IUCN red list due to a decrease in numbers and habitat size However it is incredibly sad that the Tiger subspecies with the most wild numbers only has around 1,850 individuals left in the wild. When adding up all subspecies, there were estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 left in the wild (this estimate was made in 2006, at which point numbers were still decreasing).

There are many reasons for this decrease in numbers and sadly each one of these is a direct result of humans and ranges from hunting for various body parts, encroachment in to their territory and hunting of their prey items.

Interesting facts

In 1967 the largest Tiger ever recorded was hunted in Northern India by David Hasinger, and to everyones surprise the largest recorded Tiger was not a Siberian Tiger but am 857 pound Bengal Tiger.