In our professional tiger guide, learn around the world"s biggest cat including crucial species facts, how they hunt and also best locations to view in the wild.

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Tigers space an top species, with their distinctive orange coats and also black stripes. In fact, every tiger’s pattern of stripes is unique, do it possible to identify various individuals – a handy point for conservationists make the efforts to store track that which tigers live where.


These exceptional felines are among the ‘Big Cat’ species and space actually the largest of the cat species, though the compensation of the strongest bite (relative come size) belongs to the jaguar.

Here is our professional guide to tigers, looking at an essential species facts, exactly how they hunt and also where lock live in the wild.


What is the scientific name the the tiger?

The clinical name of the tiger is Panthera tigris. It is among five species in the Panthera genus, the rather are: lion, jaguar, leopard and snow leopard. These five varieties are often referred to as the ‘Big Cats’, though occasionally other cat varieties such as the puma (also well-known as cougar or mountain lion) and also the cheetah are additionally included in this group.

There are six extant (living) subspecies that tiger:

Amur (P. T. altaica)South China (P. T. amoyensis)Sumatran (P. T. sumatrae)Indochinese (P. T.  corbetti)Malayan (P. T. jacksoni)Bengal (P. T. tigris)
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Why carry out tigers have actually stripes?

Tigers room the only big cats to have stripes and individuals deserve to be determined by their pattern.But once it pertains to predatory adaptations, friend wouldn’t expect a coloration of glowing orange with black stripes come be top of the perform – in fact it can not be on the list at all.

However, when we commonly see tigers in zoos, conspicuous versus the green vegetation in their enclosures, their main prey is ungulates, which can not detect the selection of colour that us primates can. To an animal with comparatively poor vision, the cat’s bold, difference colours are much harder to choose out in the lengthy grass.


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This technique of camouflage is an important predatory adaptation. Conversely, some huge felines count on co-operative searching (such as lions) or to explode of intense speed (such together cheetahs), tigers space semi-solitary and depend on your cryptic appearance to ambush prey.

What do tigers eat?

Tigers space carnivorous mammals, and they greatly eat large prey choose deer, wild boar and also even elephant calves. And yes, they have occasionally been known to kill and also eat people, too. This usually only happens as soon as a tiger is old, ill or injured, and also therefore unable to record their common prey. Yet once a tiger has a taste for human being meat, they frequently have come be eliminated to protect the local people.


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How execute tigers hunt?

A tiger’s favourite way of taking under its prey is to lunge at the animal’s neck and also hold on tight through its powerful jaws. The food will normally die native suffocation, yet some might bleed out first if the tiger’s canines sever an artery.

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Is the tiger the world’s biggest cat?

Tigers space the greatest cat in the wild, yes. Male tigers can flourish to be over 3m long and also weigh as much as 300kg, while female tigers have tendency to it is in a bit smaller.

However, another huge cat has been bred in bondage that’s even larger. If you breed a masculine lion v a female tiger, you acquire a liger. These truly massive cats have no equal in the contemporary world, cultivation up come 3.6m long and being substantially heavier than also the best tigers – the biggest living cat, Hercules the liger, weighs close to 420kg, and the document is a staggering 550kg.


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Where do tigers live?

Tigers are reasonably adaptable and also historically lived across vast swathes the Asia. There are currently very couple of left in South-East Asia, but they’re doing relatively well in India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan.

Tiger habitats vary by region, v the bigger tigers of colder northern regions (like the Siberian tiger) living in the brutal taiga, while smaller sized tigers from warmer regions have the right to happily live in arid forests, tropical rainforests and flooded swamplands and also mangroves.

Researchers think the India holds around half of the world’s continuing to be wild tigers. There are number of Indian national parks that room renowned because that their constant tiger sightings, including Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore and Kanha national parks.

Here are the ideal places to watch wild tigers in India

Can lions and also tigers co-exist?

India is the only country in the people that is right now home come both of these charismatic huge cats, and background and biology speak they deserve to indeed co-exist. The felines’ varieties overlapped because that millennia throughout much of west Asia – in India, this was the case into the at an early stage 19th century.

Much as predators co-exist in Africa, tigers and lions have the right to live together within closely drawn boundaries. Because that example, they might use adjoining habitats, or the very same habitats at various times. Behavioral adaptation is an additional strategy, specifically when it comes to hunting: tigers room largelykilling prey by ambush, if lions room social felids, searching co-operatively v their prides.

The question of lions and tigers as neighbours is gaining importance in India. The Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh has actually been ‘prepared’ and also is awaiting translocation the a number of Asiatic lions, i m sorry survive just in the higher Gir landscape in Gujarat, west India. In the meantime, tigers are moving right into Kuno indigenous the famous Ranthambhore Reserve, cross rivers and ravines follow me the way.

This Q&A originally appeared in BBC Wildlife Magazine, and also was answer by Prenrna Bindra.

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Why do tigers have actually spots on your ears?

Tigers have white spots surrounding by black fur on the back of their ears. It has actually been suggested that they act together false eye to warn of their existence or discourage other varieties from attack them from behind. Other theories indicate that it helps tiger cubs monitor their mommy through tall grass.