Tiger is scientifically known as Panthera tigris. It
is a member of the Felidae family and the largest
of the four ‘big cats’ of the Panthera genus. The
Panthera tigris is a native of the eastern and
southern Asia. Known as Lord of Jungles due to
its grace, agility, power and endurance, Tiger is
also the national animal of India.
The Tiger as the National Animal of India
symbolizes the power, strength, elegance,
alertness, intelligence and endurance of the
nation. In India, out of the eight known races of
the Panthera Tigris species, the Royal Bengal
Tiger, is found throughout the country except in
the north-western region.
Tigers are the biggest cats in the world. They live in steamy hot jungles as
well as icy cold forests. There are five different kinds or subspecies of tiger
alive in the world today. These tigers are called Siberian, South China,
Indochinese, Bengal, and Sumatran. Tigers are an endangered species; only
about 5,000 to 7,400 tigers are left in the wild. Three tiger subspecies, the
Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers have become extinct in the past 70 years.
Most tigers have more than 100 stripes. No one knows exactly why tigers are
striped, but scientists think that the stripes act as camouflage, and help tigers hide
from their prey. The Sumatran tiger has the most stripes of all the tiger subspecies,
and the Siberian tiger has the fewest stripes. Tiger stripes are like human
fingerprints; no two tigers have identical stripes. Sources: Wikipedia and National
Tigers have round pupils and yellow irises (except for the blue eyes of white
tigers). Due to a retinal adaptation that reflects light back to the retina, the night
vision of tigers is six times better than that of humans.
Tiger cubs are born blind and weigh only
about 2 to 3 pounds (1 kg), depending on
the subspecies. They live on milk for 6-8
weeks before the female begins taking them
to kills to feed. Tigers have fully developed
canines by 16 months of age, but they do
not begin making their own kills until about
18 months of age.
The word for a group of tigers is streak. Tigers are packed with muscle so they
can leap 10 yards (9 meters) or jump 15 ft. in the air (4.5 meters) to catch prey.
Siberian tigers are the heaviest subspecies at 500 or more pounds (225 kg), with males
heavier than females. The lightest subspecies is the Sumatran; males weigh about
250 pounds (110 kg) and females around 200 pounds (90 kg).
The heaviest tiger recorded in the
Guinness Book of World Records is a
1,025-pound male Siberian tiger.
The life span of tigers in the wild is
thought to be about 10 years. Tigers
in zoos live twice as long.
The tiger was the symbol of the Olympic Games on Seoul, South Korea, in 1988.