Tigers are the biggest cat, and, unfortunately, are close to extinction due to shrinking habitat. Tigers live in Asia where many forests have been cut down. This eliminates their prey, too. Their population has also been reduced by poaching. Tigers are killed for their skins, body parts, or for sport.
Tiger subspecies include Bengal (Indian), Amur (Siberian, also includes Manchurian, Ussurian, and Northeast China tiger), Indochina, South China (Amoy and Chinese), Malayan, and Sumatran.
Amur tigers aren’t as tall as lions, but are usually longer and heavier. A male can weigh up to 660 lbs, while females only reach 370 pounds. In length males are from 8 feet 8 inches to 10 feet 9 inches long; females are smaller in the 8 to 9 foot range. This length includes tail. Amurs live in cold climates, often where it snows, so have extra fur on their paws to keep them warm.
Sumatran tigers only weigh up to 264 pounds (males) and 200 pounds (females). Their length is still impressive at 7 to 9 feet.
Tigers prefer to eat ungulates (hoofed animals) such as deer, buffalo, pigs, and cattle, though will also eat monkeys, birds, rabbits, and fish.
Tigers like water and will cool off in a river. They are also good swimmers.
Extinct tiger species are: Bali, Caspian, and Javan.
A group of tigers is called a streak, although they are usually solitary animals, except for raising cubs. A female tiger is “grown up” at age 3. Males aren’t usually completely grown until age 4.
Fun Tiger Facts
- A tiger can eat 60 pounds of meat in a single night.
- The Amur tiger is the largest of the species. They have more white in their coat than other tigers, with the exception below.
- White tigers are a color variation of the Bengal tiger. They are pretty rare in nature, but have been deliberately bred in zoos. White tigers have blue eyes and a pink nose.
- South China tigers are the ones at biggest risk of endangerment. They have stripes that are more widely spaced.
- Sumatran tigers are the smallest tigers and have the darkest coat of the tiger family.
- Tiger Day is the last Sunday in September.
San Diego Zoo
Save the Tiger Fund (National Fish and Wildlife Foundation)
Smithsonian Natural Museum of History