Basic Facts About Tigers

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest of the four big cats, or the largest member of the felid (cat) family and one that is very fascinating to people all over the world. They sport long, thick reddish coats with white bellies and white and black tails. Their heads, bodies, tails and limbs have narrow black, brown or gray stripes.

Tigers are fierce predators with a calculated intelligence that makes them one of the leaders out there in their natural environment. They have been able to successfully evolve from ancient tigers for almost 2 million years and they have keep continually adapting well to their surroundings.

Most people easily recognize the tiger due to the stripes found on their bodies. These patterns of white and black stripes create very interesting and unique patterns. They give the tiger a coloring that helps them to camouflage amongst the shadow of the long grass.

The tiger is a carnivore which means that they are meat eaters. They tend to find both small and large prey to feed on in the wild. Tigers mainly eat ambar deer, wild pigs, water buffalo and antelope. Tigers are also known to hunt sloth bears, dogs, leopards, crocodiles and pythons as well as monkeys and hares. Old and injured tigers have been known to attack humans and domestic cattle.

Tigers occupy a variety of habitats from tropical forests, evergreen forests, woodlands and mangrove swamps to grasslands, savannah and rocky country. They are mostly nocturnal (more active at night) and are ambush predators that rely on the camouflage their stripes provide. Tigers use their body weight to knock prey to the ground and kills with a bite to the neck. They are also very good swimmers and have been known to kill prey while swimming.

It is known that the males are more dominate and that they are larger. However, there are also some extremely fierce females out there trying to protect their young. The tiger has a body design that allows it to move along gracefully. They are also extremely fast when it comes to hunting their prey and getting themselves out of the way of danger.

Tigers essentially live solitary lives, except during mating season and when females bear young. They are usually fiercely territorial and have and mark their large home ranges.

Reproduction. Tigers don’t have a set season for reproduction to take place. Instead they are able to engage in the activities throughout the year. In tropical climates, mating seasons occurs mostly from around November to April; during the winter months in temperate regions.

Gestation: 103 days.
Litter size: 3-4 cubs.

Cubs follow their mother out of the den at around 8 weeks and become independent at around 18 months of age. They leave their mothers at about 2 ½ years. Mothers guard their young from wandering males that may kill the cubs to make the female receptive to mating.

Tigers have a number of ways in which they communicate with each other. If you have a domestic cat then you are already familiar with several of them.

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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