The tiger is the largest cat species in the world. The largest tiger sub-species are the Siberian tiger. The male weighs about 500 pounds and the female is 300 pounds. The average length of the male tiger is 10 feet and the female is 8 feet. The appearance of the tiger depends to a great extent on where the animal lives. Tigers that live in cold regions are paler in color and larger in size; their fur is long and thick. In warmer climates, tigers are smaller in size and more colorful; they have shorter, thinner fur. The fur on the tiger’s back is very thick and the stripes are pale. The color of the Siberian tiger is yellowish-brown, while the Indian tiger is reddish-brown. The stripes on a tiger are very dark. Like all cats, tigers have sharp claws and teeth. Habitat:
Tigers can be found in a variety of habitats. They range from tropical forests, evergreen forests, ravines, woodlands, mangrove swamps, grasslands, savannas, and rocky country. Some other preferred habitats include dense thickets, long grass or tamarisk shrubs along river banks. Some tigers seem to take a special liking to old ruins for cover. Tigers rely on concealment for stalking and ambushing their prey; they look for areas with ample food, water and moderately dense cover. Tigers are adaptable animals; they can adapt too many different surroundings, as long as they have sufficient water, shade and food.
Tigers can move quickly and quietly. Springing with ease, tigers can cover 15 feet in one leap; they can jump long distances over obstacles and land. The tiger rarely climbs trees, but swims well.
Tigers usually stalk their prey alone and at night. The maximum kill range for a tiger is 80 feet. To make a kill, the tiger leaps on the animal, biting its neck. It then takes the slain animal to some hidden spot. If it is a large animal, the tiger feeds on it for many days. During this time, the tiger does not kill again. Tigers prey on deer, moose, rabbits, birds, fish, bear, elk, lynx, hares, pigs, cattle, goats, and some smaller animals. The main foods of tigers are buffaloes, antelopes, and rodents.
Enemies and Endangerment:
The tiger has few enemies; besides humans, they are large buffaloes, elephants and bears. Its defense against other animals that may attack are its large claws and very powerful teeth. Tigers are excellent swimmers and climbers, which save them from floods and other disasters, as well as protect them from their enemies. The tiger is a very cautious animal; it doesn’t like to hunt elephants or larger animals than itself, unless it is very hungry, or if its cubs or it were attacked.
The main predator of the tiger is humankind. They have been trapped, poisoned and hunted heavily by humans not only to eliminate threats to livestock, but also for sport, trophies, skins, and sources of traditional medical products. Superstition has surrounded tigers for centuries; their body parts are used in Asian medicines. Neck-lets of tiger claws are thought to protect a child from “the evil eye”; tiger whiskers are considered either a dreadful poison (in Malaysia), a powerful aphrodisiac (in Indonesia), or an aid to childbirth (in India and Pakistan); the bones, fat, liver and penis of a tiger are prized as medicines.
Humans have also altered the natural habitats of tigers by their destruction and encroachment on the tigers’ feeding range; humans are destroying their habitats by cutting down trees, moving into their preferred locations, polluting the water and air, and hunting their prey.