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The Tiger
Family Cats (Felidae)
Subfamily Pantherinae
Genus Panthera
Species Tiger (Panthera Tigris)
Bengal Tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris )
Siberian Tiger (Panthera Tigris Altaica)
Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
Indochinese Tiger (Panthera Tigris Corbetti)
Malayan Tiger (Panthera Tigris Jacksoni)
South China Tiger (Panthera Tigris Amoyensis)
Javan Tiger (Panthera Tigris Sondaica)
Bali Tiger (Panthera Tigris Balica)
Caspian Tiger (Panthera Tigris Virgata)
Size comparison
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The Tiger (Panthera Tigris) belongs to the family of the Cats and is the biggest Big Cat of the Genus Panthera. Tigers are carnivores and top-level predators. They are mainly living in Southern Asia. The tiger is declared as endangered by the IUCN, some subspecies are already extinct, partly because of intensive hunting.



The color of the fur depends on the subspecies and varies between light yellow and red-orange whereas the underside is always white. The tiger's stripes range from the head to the top of the tail. Apart from the Siberian Tiger whose fur is 5cm (2 inches) long on the back and 10cm (4 inches) on the underside, the length of the fur usually adds up to 1cm (0.4 inches). The fangs are about 7cm (3 inches) long and the claws can reach a length of 10cm (4 inches). The jaw is very strong and able to separate the limbs of a human without further ado.


Unfortunately there are more tigers living in captivity than there are tigers in the wild.
male female
body length 3.28 ft - 9.19 ft (100 - 280cm) 3.28 ft - 9.19 ft
length of tail 1.97 ft - 3.61 ft (60 - 110cm) 1.97 ft - 3.61 ft
height 3.28 ft - 3.94 ft (100 - 120cm) 3.28 ft - 3.94 ft
weight 419 lbs - 661 lbs (190 - 300kg) 265 lbs – 375 lbs (120 - 170kg)

habitat reachable age exceptionally up to
wilderness 10-15 years data deficient
acknowledged zoos 20-25 years 27 years
sanctuaries 20-25 years 27 years
zoos in general 18-23 years data deficient
circus 8-10 years 12 years

other data
biting force 1000 lbs (453,59kg)
length of carnassial 4 in (10cm)
length of claws 3 in (7 - 8cm); exceptionally up to 4.3 in (11cm)
required territory 11.5 - 115 mi² (30 - 300km²)


Like other predators the tiger possesses highly developed sensory organs. Due to its sensitive senses the tiger is able to notice prey animals from a long distance and to locate them.

Sense of Hearing

The sense of hearing is important for orientation. Like all other Felidae the tiger can move both its auricles independently and therefore the tiger is able to concentrate on more sounds at the same time. Furthermore, this ability permits the big cat to locate the sound's origin. The sense of hearing is extremely well-developed and also very sensitive so that the tiger can perceive even the lowest sounds. Apart from the noises we humans do also hear, the tiger even notices ultrasonic sound. Furthermore, the tiger uses its ears to communicate via facial expression.


[img:Those_tiger_eyes_by_ianduffy.jpg|200|Tigers' Eyes]] Like all other cats, the tigers have a binocular vision allowing them to see the world in 3D depth and to estimate distances. That's one of the most important skills of a predator. Due to a special layer in the retina light beams are reflected and intensified which permits the tiger to see good in the dark.

Sense of Touch

The tiger's sense of touch is highly sensitive especially at the pads below its paws whereby it realizes even the slightest vibrations.


Nowadays, tigers are still present in India, China, Siberia and Southeast Asia. Because of the increasing human population and the deforestion of Asian rainforests the tigers' living space is shrinking. Additionally, tigers were hunted intensively and there are still poachers who kill the big cats illegally. The number of tigers living in the wild has declined by 40% between 1995 and 2005. By now more tigers live in captivity than in the wilderness wehere they actuall belong. Tigers prefer forests because woodland provides camouflage possibilities. Thanks to the stripes the big cat is hardly recognizable in the underbrush.


Three of the nine tiger subspecies are already extinct. The other six subspecies are endangered or even critically endangered.
SubspeciesNumber Living In The Wild
Bengal Tiger about 1300
Siberian Tiger fewer than 500
Sumatran Tiger about 136
Indochinese Tiger 600
Malayan Tiger 600
South China Tiger 17-23
Javan Tiger extinct since early 1980s
Bali Tiger extinct since 1940s
Caspian Tiger extinct since early 1970s
Data: 2005
Because of the counting method the information might not be accurate. In order to collect the data, tracks were observed and therefore it's possible that some tigers were counted twice. So the data is not to be seen as average but as maximum value.

Way of Living

The tiger requires a territory of about 11.5 to 115 mi² (30 - 300km²), in Siberia the areas are partly as large as 386 mi² (1000km²). The big cat marks its terrioty by the means of urine and scratch marks.


Tigers feed upon big mammals and prefer antelopes, deer, sheep, goats and wild pigs. However, tigers do so also eat smaller mammals, birds and reptiles. Occassionally they can even kill crocodiles, elephants, rhinos and gaur bulls. That's very rare though. The tiger needs about 33 - 40 lbs (15 - 18kg) of meat per day.

Hunting Behavior

The tiger prefers hunting at night. It may kill any animal inside its territory. Prey animals do hardly realize the tiger because of its speical fur pattern. Furthermore, the paws of big cats are very soft and therefore the predators can move very quietly. As soon as the tiger is near enough to the animal it wants to kill, the predator will jump on it and attack. Tigers are able to kill animals with a single throat bite. If the prey animal is small, the big cat will probably aim at the neck so that the brain's blood supply is stopped by the powerful jaw and the impressive fangs. If the prey animal is bigger, the tiger will try to grab it by the throat. It was assumed that a throat bite would tear through the aorta and the air tube and that blood would flow into the lungs afterwards, but actually the tiger's fangs pierce into the prey's throat causing that the air tube is pressed in so that the carnassials are not damaged. The aorta and the windpipe are pressed together so that the blood supply to the brain is hindered. As a consequence the animal dies quickly. This procedure is often shown in wildlife documentaries. The prey stops fighting back shortly after the bite because there is hardly any blood flowing through the aorta and therefore the brain doesn't get enough oxygen. It may happen that the bite misses tha target. Then the prey might blled to death because the aorta is disrupted. After killing an animal, the tiger will carry its prey to a safe place where the big cat will eat it up. However, hunts are quite rarely successful, namely only one out of ten. While hunting the tiger can cover a distance of 20 miles (32 km)

Attacks on Humans

Tigers can also attack and kill humans but they are mostly staying away from them. A tiger will only "hunt" for humans when it's injured and therefore unable to kill other animals. Human beings are very slow and do not fight back stubbornly. That's why they are actually ideal prey animals. However, there are some individuals that selectively hunt humans. The reason for this strange behavior is not clear yet.

Range of Colors

I hate my life...
Von Little Lioness

White Tiger

The White Tiger is the result of interbreeding a Siberian with a Bengal tiger. A recessive gene is responsible for the white coloration. This gene can either brighten the tiger's stripes or make them disappear entirely. However, due to this gene, every White Tiger is cross-eyed and many have deformed bones. Some even die shortly after their birth. The risk of deformation is taken by the breeders. If the White Tiger's physique doesn't come up to their expectations, the breeders often refuse to feed the big cats which causes a slow death for the animals. Often the breeders try to pretend natural starvation. Some individuals are also sold.

Golden Tiger

This golden coloration is very rare and caused by a recessive gene. There are no Golden tigers in the wild and altogether only 30 individuals have this range of colors.
also see Golden Tiger

Black Tiger

There are some rumors about Black tigers but they can't be confirmed since there hasn't been a report on a sighting so far. Thus, the Black tiger will probably stay a myth forever.

Tiger and Man

Tigers naturally consider humans as prey animals. So far, several accidents have shown that the tigers' instincts are often underestimated.


The tiger's habitats are getting smaller and smaller as deforestation continues. Moreover, human overpopulation and (illegal) hunting continuously exert pressure on the last wild tigers.


In the past, the tiger was heavily hunted. Today, the species is protected but still some people put tigers to death illegally which is also known as poaching. The animals are killed because the parts of their bodies, especially the furs, are highly appreciated on the black market and generate a huge income for the poachers. The price for these products has increased quickly recently. Unfortunately, China allows the trade by law and thus, they open the floodgates to poachers.

Mass Breeding

There are so-called "tiger farms" in which the big cats are bred because of various reasons. There are farms where species respectively subspecies are interbred and there are others where the tigers are killed because of their valuable body parts. All those establishments have in common that the animals can barely move because they are held in extremely confined cages. Moreover, the big cats are hardly taken care of and often don't get any medical attention. The only goal of the farms is to make profit, no matter how badly the animals are treated.

Chinese Tiger Farms

In the Chinese culture, the tiger's body parts are said to be cures. The penis, for example, is regarded as potency remedy. The bones are used for some sorts of tea. That's why some Chinese people keep tigers in extremely small cages. When they have reached a certain age, they have to suffer a cruel death.


In 19 B.C., the tiger was brought to Europe by the Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the big cat wasn't reintroduced until 1478. Until that time the tiger was considered as wild, smart but craven beast unlike the lion which was said to be very courageous.
For quite a long time now, the tiger is a big attraction in circuses. Many people want to see the big, gorgeous tiger performing tricks but often they are not aware of how the animals are tortured so that they obey the tamer's commands. Furthermore, the big cats are accommodated in small cages where they can hardly move.


coming soon...

Tiger as Pet

Tigers are also kept as exotic pets in some households. When they are small, they are cute, cuddly, playful and most of all harmless. However, when they reach a certain age, they pose a hazard to the owners and since many people are not able to deal with that any longer, many of the pet big cats are locked up in small cages in the garden, sold or killed. Some people keep the predators in the house but the animals are getting dominant as the time goes by and begin to mark their territory with odor marks. 50% of the pet tigers attack their owner and these incidents are often deadly. If the owner survives, he usually decides to get rid of the big cat. Consequently, the animal will be put to death.

Tiger Attacks


22/02/2009 - Tiger Eats Illegal Tree Fellers

A Sumatran Tiger lacerated two illegal woodchoppers in western Indonesia. Thus, the figure of people killed by the critically endangered species increased to five in less than one month. The tiger attacked a 50 year old and his 18 year old son while they were sleeping nearby the stolen trees in the midst of a protective area.


24/12/2007 - 3 People Provoke Tiger and Get Attacked

A tiger broke out of his compound in the zoo of San Francisco and killed one visitor. Two others were injured. The three men were drunk and had provoked the tiger before it escaped and attacked the people.

Picture Credits

I hate my life by Little Lioness
SaveTheTigerFund - Tiger Farms
Sumatra Tiger by Craig Grobler
Tiger isst einen Hasen by Tambako the Jaguar
Letzte Bearbeitung: 07:40, 01 Jul 2011 - Geo

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