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Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Tiger | Panthera tigris photo
Panthera tigris tigris, Bengal Tiger
Photograph by U.S Fish & Wildlife Service. License: Public Domain.


Tigers have an unmistakable reddish-orange coat with vertical black stripes along the body. The stripes vary in size, length, and spacing. The chest, throat, inside of legs and underside are white. The face has some white above the eyes and extends to the cheeks. There is a white spot on the back of each ear. The tail is reddish-orange with black bands. Some subspecies have pale fur and some are almost white with black or dark brown stripes. Siberian tigers are the largest subspecies (Panthera tigris altaica) - males can grow to 370cm and weigh over 423 kg. Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) are the smallest subspecies - males grow to about 230cm and weigh 136kg. Tigers have thick necks and large powerful front limbs.


Length: 198cm - 370m. Weight: 91kg - 423kg.


Tigers are found in a range of habitats including tropical forest, monsoonal forest, open woodlands, tall grassland, mangrove swamps.


Tigers eat mainly fairly large mammals such as deer (sambar, chital, hog deer, elk, sika deer etc.), gaur, banteng, water buffalo, wild pigs, bears and domestic livestock. They also eat large birds, leopards, fish, crocodiles, turtles, rodents, frogs. A few tigers attack people. Tigers are mainly night hunters and ambush their prey and knock it down by leaping on it. Large prey is killed by a bite to the throat to suffocate it. Small animals are killed by a bite to the back of the neck.


Female tigers give birth to one to seven cubs (average two or three) after a gestation period of 96 to 111 days. The cubs are blind and helpless and weigh from 780g to 1600g. Their eyes open after 6 to 14 days. Cubs start following their mother at about 2 months and start to join the hunt after 5 to 6 months old. The cubs are weaned when they are about 3 to 4 months old, but cubs remain with their mother until they are 18 months to 3 years old.


Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia (Sumatra only), Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Russia, Vietnam.

Conservation Status

The conservation status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "endangered".

Relatives in same Genus
  African Lion (P. leo)
  Asiatic Lion (P. leo persica)
  Jaguar (P. onca)
  Leopard (P. pardus)

Leopard | Panthera pardus photo
Amoy tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis
Photograph by World66. Some rights reserved.
Leopard | Panthera pardus photo
Singapore Zoological Gardens White Tigers.
Photograph by Nachoman-au. Some rights reserved.
Leopard | Panthera pardus photo
Bengal Tiger at Bronx Zoo, New York.
Photograph by Sujit kumar. Some rights reserved.