IndexGeneral informationCaracteristicsColour variationsDistribution and habitatHunting and dietPopulation estimate
General information The tiger (panthera tigris) is the largest cat species in the whole world. The word tiger comes from the greek word ”tigris”, which is from a persian word that means arrow. Theoldest fossil remains of tigers are believed to be about 2 million years old and they were found in China. Tigers can speed up to 65 kph.
CaracteristicsTigers ground coloration of their fur varies between different types of orange, depending on where they live. The pattern of stripes is unique to each animal and is often used to identify individuals, just as fingerprints on people. The stripe pattern is also on the skin of the tiger. The ears are small, round and black and they have a white spot in the middle. These spots are called ocelli and they play a very important role in intraspecific communication.Tigers can be found in many different sizes. For example, the Bengal tiger males can weight up to 306 kg, while the Sumatran tiger weights from 75 to 140 kg. Tiger females are smaller than the males in each subspecies. In the large subspecies the males can weight 1,7 times more than the females.
Colour variations The white tiger is very rare in the wild, but widely bred in zoos. Breeding of white tigers often leads to inbreeding, such as crossed eyes and shorter life than their orange counterparts.Golden tabby is another colour variation. They have light golden fur, almost white legs and light orange stripes. Their fur is usually thicker, and both white and golden tabby tigers are larger than their orange relatives.More information about the colour variations
Hunting and dietTigers hunt larger and medium sized animals, such as sambar,wild boar, water buffalo, moose, musk deer and malayan tapir.But like many predators they also feed on smaller animals, likemonkeys, hares and fish. Some tigers also kill and eat human. This is normal for old tigers, or those who are wounded and incapable of catching any fast animals. Tigers hunt at night, and usually they do it alone. They canreach a speed up to 65 kph, but they cannot maintain that speed during long distances. This is why they usually have to get very close to the prey before they attack. Although tigers are such strong animals, only one in twenty hunts ends in a successful kill.
Distribution and habitat In the past, tigers could be found in Asia, from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Siberia and the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali and Sumatra. Nowadays they can be found from India, West Chinaand Southeast Asia and the only large island inhabited by tigers is Sumatra. Tigers live in many types of forests, and compared tothe lion, the tiger prefers denser vegetation, for which its camouflage colouring is ideally suited.
Population estimate (in the wild) Bangladesh 440 Bhutan 75 Cambodia 20 China 45 India 1,706 Indonesia 325 Laos 17 Malaysia 500 Myanmar 84 Nepal 155 Russia 360 Thailand 200 Vietnam 20 Total: 3,948 There are more tigers held privately as pets than there are in the wild. It is estimated that there are 12,000 tigers in captivity only in the US.