The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living member of the cat family, the Felidae. It feeds by hunting. It lives in Asia, mainly India, Bhutan, China, Korea and Siberian Russia. Tigers are solitary animals.
Temporal range: early Pleistocene–Present
|A Bengal tiger (P. t. tigris) at Kanha National Park, India, Continental Asia|
|Tiger's historic range in about 1850 (pale yellow) and in 2006 (in green).|
Tigris striatus Severtzov, 1858
Tigers have orange fur with black stripes, and a white belly. The black stripes usually extend to the white underside. The stripes are used to keep them camouflaged while hunting. No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
Sometimes there are tigers with different colors. There are white tigers that have white fur with black stripes, or that even have pure white fur. They have blue or green eyes. Most Bengal tigers have orange fur. The white coat only appears once in every 10,000 births. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and India.
Tigers vary in size depending on their subspecies. Siberian tigers are the largest. Males can grow to at least 6 feet (1.8 metres) long (body length) and weigh about 500 lb (230 kg). Females are a bit smaller. Record weight for males is claimed as 700 lbs (318 kg), but this cannot be confirmed.
Where they liveEdit
Tigers can live in a variety of habitats. Mostly they need to hide, be near to a water source, and have enough prey to eat. Bengal tigers in particular live in many types of forests. These include the wet, evergreen of Assam and eastern Bengal; the swampy mangrove forest of the Ganges Delta; the deciduous forest of Nepal, and the thorn forests of the Western Ghats.
As previously thought, the tiger had five living subspecies. In this context, 'recently' means in the last two centuries.
- Subspecies of Tiger (Panthera tigris)
However, in 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group revised felid taxonomy and recognized the tiger populations in continental Asia as P. t. tigris, and those in the Sunda Islands as P. t. sondaica.
Tigers and humansEdit
Tigers are becoming rare, because people hunt them for their skin and destroy the habitats they live in. The Bengal tiger has the largest population with 3,500 left in the wild. To help keep the tiger population, tigers are often placed in zoos.
Tigers eat many types of prey, mostly other large mammals. Some examples are deer, monkeys, wild rabbits, wild pigs, tapirs, buffalo and other animals found in Asia. All tigers are carnivores (meat eaters). Some tigers may eat up to 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of meat a day. Tigers kill their prey by clamping down on the prey's throat and suffocating it.
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