Tiger: Species, Sub-species, Feeding, Habitat and More
The scientific identification name of the tiger is Panthera tigris often abbreviated as P. t., It is one of five species in the Panthera genus, the others are lions, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards. These five species are regularly referred to as the ‘Big Cats’, although from time to time other cat species such as the puma (also known as cougar or mountain lion) and the cheetah are additionally included in this group.
The 6 Sub-Species of Tiger (Panthera tigris)
There are six extant (living) subspecies of a tiger as discussed below:
1. Amur tiger or Siberian tiger (P. t. altaica)
2. South China tiger (P. t. amoyensis)
3. Sumatran tiger (P. t. sumatrae)
4. Indochinese tiger (P. t. corbetti)
5. Malayan tiger (P. t. jacksoni)
6. Bengal tiger (P. t. tigris)
1. Amur Tiger or Siberian tiger (P. t. altaica)
The Siberian tiger, also known as the Amur tiger, is a subspecies of the tiger Panthera tigris tigris that is native to the Russian Far East, Northeast China, and possibly North Korea. It used to be found all over the Korean Peninsula, northern China, and eastern Mongolia.
The population currently resides primarily in the Sikhote-Alin mountain range in southwest Primorye Province, Russia’s Far East.
This region had 331–393 adult and subadult Siberian tigers in 2005, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals. Because of intensive conservation efforts, the population had been stable for more than a decade, but partial surveys conducted after 2005 indicate that the Russian tiger population was declining.
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An initial census conducted in 2015 revealed that the Siberian tiger population in the Russian Far East had increased to 480–540 individuals, including 100 cubs. This was followed by a more detailed census, which revealed that there were 562 wild Siberian tigers in Russia. As of 2014, an estimated 35 people lived along the international border between Russia and China.
Genetically, the Siberian tiger is related to the now-extinct Caspian tiger. According to the findings of a phylogeographic study that compared mitochondrial DNA from Caspian tigers and living tiger populations, the common ancestor of the Siberian and Caspian tigers colonized Central Asia via the GansuSilk Road corridor, and then traversed Siberia eastward to establish the Siberian tiger population in the Russian Far East.
The Caspian and Siberian tiger populations were the farthest north on the Asian continent.
Depending on where individuals were observed, the Siberian tiger was also known as the “Amur tiger,” “Manchurian tiger,” “Korean tiger,” and “Ussurian tiger.”
2. South China tiger (P. t. amoyensis)
The South China tiger is a subspecies of Panthera tigris tigris that is native to southern China. The majority of the population lived in the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan, and Jiangxi.
It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996 and may be extinct in the wild due to no wild individuals being recorded since the late 1980s.
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Because of low prey density, widespread habitat degradation and fragmentation, and other human pressures, continued survival was considered unlikely in the late 1990s. It was previously known as the Amoy tiger in the fur trade.
The tiger is a carnivore by nature. It prefers large ungulates and frequently kills wild boar, as well as hog deer, muntjac, and gray langur.
Small prey species such as porcupines, hares, and peafowl play a minor role in its diet. Domestic livestock is preyed on in areas where humans have encroached.
Additional tiger prey species in the former range of the South China tiger may have included serow, tufted deer, and sambar.
Tigers typically approach prey from the side or behind, as close as possible, and grasp the prey’s throat to kill it. Then they drag the carcass into cover, sometimes for hundreds of meters, to consume it.
The tiger’s hunting method and availability of prey result in a “feast or famine” feeding style: they frequently consume 18–40 kg (40–88 lb) of meat at one time.
Tigers mate all year, but the breeding season is from the end of November to the first half of April. Males are ready to begin mating at the age of five, and females at the age of four. After 103 days, the offspring is born.
In a den, three to six young are born. They are born blind and weigh 780 to 1,600 g. (28 and 56 oz). They are suckled for at least the first eight weeks. When they are 6 months old, their mother teaches them to hunt. The cubs separate from their mother between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
Man-eating tiger attacks on humans in South China increased dramatically during the Ming and Qing dynasties, as human populations increased and encroached on tiger habitats.
Approximately 500 attacks occurred during this time period, with an average frequency of nearly once per year. According to historical records, all of these attacks resulted in several to over 1,000 deaths. A tiger allegedly attacked and killed 32 people in Hunan province in 1957.
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3. Sumatran tiger (P. t. sumatrae)
The Sumatran tiger is a subspecies of the Panthera tigris sondaica that lives on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This population was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2008, with an estimated population of 441 to 679 people, no subpopulation larger than 50 people, and a declining trend.
The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger population in the Sunda Islands, as the Bali and Javan tigers have died out. Sequences from 34 tigers’ complete mitochondrial genes support the theory that Sumatran tigers are diagnostically distinct from mainland subspecies.
Sumatran tigers prefer uncultivated forests and rarely use acacia and oil palm plantations, even when they are available. They prefer higher elevation, lower annual rainfall, areas farther from the forest edge, and areas closer to forest centers within natural forest areas.
They prefer dense understory cover and steep slopes, and they avoid forest areas with heavy human influence, such as encroachment and settlement. Acacias prefer areas near water and with older plants, more leaf litter, and thicker sub-canopy cover in acacia plantations.
Tiger sightings in oil palm and rubber plantations are rare. The availability of adequate vegetation cover at the ground level is an environmental condition that tigers require regardless of location. Tigers are even more vulnerable to human persecution when they lack adequate understory cover.
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Human disturbance has a negative impact on tiger occupancy and habitat use. Settlement and encroachment within forest areas, logging, and the intensity of maintenance in acacia plantations are all variables with significant impacts.
4. Indochinese tiger (P. t. corbetti)
The Indochinese tiger is a subspecies of the Panthera tigris tigris, which is native to Southeast Asia. They are found primarily in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar. They live in tropical climates, including rainforests, grasslands, and mountains.
In 2011, the population was estimated to be 342 people, including 85 in Myanmar and 20 in Vietnam, with the largest population unit surviving in Thailand estimated to be 189 to 252 people between 2009 and 2014.
They have an orange or gold coat with a black striped pattern. This tiger lives alone and most of the time remains hidden. In the wild, they can live for 15 to 26 years. When hunting for food, their fur color helps to keep them hidden in the forest.
The stripes on a tiger blend in with the shadows in a rainforest, making these big cats difficult to spot. This tiger also has white fur on its stomach, face, and neck, as well as a ruff of white hair.
The ground coloration of the Indochinese tiger is darker, with rather short and narrow single stripes; its skull is smaller than that of the Bengal tiger. It is smaller in size than Bengal and Siberian tigers.
Males have a height of 255 to 285 cm (100 to 112 in) and a weight of 150 to 195 kg (331 to 430 lb). Females have a height of 230 to 255 cm (91 to 100 in) and a weight of 100 to 130 kg (220 to 290 lb).
The common name for this animal is the Indochinese tiger, and its scientific name is Panthera Tigris Corbetti. Panthera is Latin for leopard, and Tigris is Latin for tiger.
This large cat has powerful yellow or light-colored eyes that enable it to see perfectly in the dark while hunting at night. They also have excellent hearing, which aids them in detecting prey such as deer, wild boars, and even monkeys.
These tigers have claws that retract. This means the tiger can retract its claws into its paws when not in use. These claws allow a tiger to safely climb a tree by gripping the bark.
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This tiger’s strong back legs allow it to easily jump onto high tree branches, swim, and chase prey. This tiger has a top speed of 60 miles per hour. So this tiger’s running speed is almost as fast as a baseball pitcher’s curveball.
These tigers are shy and prefer to remain hidden from view, but a male tiger will become aggressive if another male tiger enters its territory, especially during mating season.
Have you ever seen a cat scratching the bark of a tree in your neighborhood? This is one-way cats (including these tigers) mark their territory to warn other cats to stay away.
If the prey is scarce in their current territory, these tigers will migrate to higher elevations in the mountains to find food.
5. Malayan tiger (P. t. jacksoni)
The Malayan tiger is a tiger from a subspecies of Panthera tigris tigris that is native to Peninsular Malaysia. The Malay word for tiger is harimau, which can also be abbreviated to rimau. It is also known as the southern Indochinese tiger to distinguish it from tiger populations in northern Indochina that are genetically distinct from this one.
Bengal tigers appear to be larger than Malayan tigers. The average length of a male is 8 ft 6 in (259 cm), and the average length of a female is 7 ft 10 in (based on measurements of 11 males and 8 females) (239 cm). The body lengths of 16 female tigers in Terengganu ranged from 70 to 103 in (180 to 260 cm), with an average of 80.1 in (203 cm).
Their body weight ranged from 52 to 195 lb, and their height ranged from 23 to 41 in (58 to 104 cm) (24 to 88 kg). Total length ranged from 75 to 112 in (190 to 280 cm) in 21 males, with an average of 94.2 in (239 cm). Their body weight ranged from 104 to 284.7 lb, and their height ranged from 24 to 45 in (61 to 114 cm) (47.2 to 129.1 kg).
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Sambar deer, barking deer, wild boar, Bornean bearded pigs, and serow are all prey for Malayan tigers. Sun bears, young elephants, and rhinoceros calves are also prey for Malayan tigers. It is unknown whether their primary prey includes adult gaur and tapir.
Although livestock is occasionally taken, tiger predation reduces the population of wild boar, which can become a serious pest in plantations and other croplands. According to research, wild pigs are more than ten times more abundant in areas where large predators (tigers and leopards) are extinct than in areas where tigers and leopards are still present.
Tigers occur at very low densities of 1.1–1.98 tigers per 100 km2 (39 sq mi) in the rainforest due to low prey densities; therefore, reserves must be larger than 1,000 km2 to maintain viable tiger populations of at least 6 breeding females (390 sq mi). There is a lack of data on dietary preferences, morphological measurements, demographic parameters, social structure, communication, home range sizes, and dispersal abilities.
6. Bengal tiger (P. t. tigris)
The Bengal tiger is a subspecies of the Panthera tigris tigris. It is one of the largest wild cats alive today. It is thought to be a member of the world’s charismatic megafauna.
The tiger is thought to have been present in the Indian subcontinent since the Late Pleistocene period, roughly 12,000 to 16,500 years ago.
Until the early nineteenth century, the Bengal tiger’s historical range included Bangladesh, Bhutan, Tibet (in western China), Myanmar, Nepal, and almost all of India, as well as Pakistan’s Indus River valley. It now lives in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, southern Tibet, and possibly Myanmar. By 2018, India’s tiger population was estimated to be 2,603–3,346 individuals.
The Bengal tiger’s coat is yellow to light orange with dark brown to black stripes; the belly and inner limbs are white, and the tail is orange with black rings. The white tiger is a recessive mutant that has been seen in the wild in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, and especially the former state of Rewa. It is not, however, an instance of albinism.
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Males and females have average total lengths of 270 to 310 cm (110 to 120 in) and 240 to 265 cm (94 to 104 in), respectively, with a tail measuring 85 to 110 cm (33 to 43 in).
They are typically 90 to 110 cm (35 to 43 in) tall at the shoulders. Males’ average weight ranges from 175 to 260 kg (386 to 573 lb), while females’ average weight ranges from 100 to 160 kg (220 to 350 lb). Bengal tigers with the smallest recorded weights come from the Bangladesh Sundarbans, where adult females weigh 75 to 80 kg (165 to 176 lb).
The tiger’s teeth are extremely strong. Its canines are the longest among all cats, measuring 7.5 to 10 cm (3.0 to 3.9 in). Its skull measures 332 to 376 mm in length (13.1 to 14.8 in).
The tiger is a carnivorous animal. It prefers to hunt large ungulates like chital, sambar, and gaur, as well as, to a lesser extent, barasingha, water buffalo, nilgai, serow, and takin. It frequently kills wild boar, as well as hog deer, Indian muntjac, and grey langur, among other medium-sized prey species.
Porcupines, hares, and peafowl are among the small prey species it consumes. Because of human encroachment on tiger habitat, it also preys on domestic livestock.
Bengal tigers hunt and kill predators like the Indian leopard, Indian wolf, Indian jackal, fox, mugger crocodile, Asian black bear, sloth bear, and dhole on occasion.
Tigers typically approach their prey from the side or behind, as close as possible, and grasp the prey’s throat to kill it. Then they drag the carcass into cover, sometimes for hundreds of meters, to consume it.
The tiger’s hunting method and availability of prey result in a “feast or famine” feeding style: they frequently consume 18–40 kg (40–88 lb) of meat at one time. Tigers attack humans and become man-eaters when they are injured, old, or weak, or when their usual prey species become scarce.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Tigers
1. Why do tigers have stripes?
Tigers are the only massive cats to have stripes and men and women can be recognized through their patterns but when it comes to predatory adaptations, you wouldn’t anticipate a coloration of vivid orange with black stripes to be top of the list it might not be on the list at all.
However, whilst we commonly see tigers in zoos, conspicuous against the green vegetation in their enclosures, their important prey is ungulates, which cannot observe the variety of colors that we primates can.
To an animal with comparatively terrible vision, the cat’s bold, contrasting hues are much tougher to pick out in the lengthy grass.
2. What Do Tigers Eat?
Tigers are carnivorous mammals, and they mostly eat massive prey like deer, wild boar, and even elephant calves. And yes, they have now and then been recognized to kill and eat people, too. This commonly solely occurs when a tiger is old, sick, or injured, and therefore unable to seize its everyday prey. But once a tiger has taste for human meat, they frequently have to be killed to guard the nearby people.
3. How Do Tigers Bunt?
A tiger’s preferred way of taking down its prey is to lunge at the animal’s neck and preserve on tight with its effective jaws. The prey will normally die from suffocation, however, some may bleed out first if the tiger’s canines sever an artery.
4. Are Tigers World’s Biggest Cat?
Tigers are the largest cat in the wild, yes. Male tigers can grow to be over 3m lengthy and weigh up to 300kg, while woman tigers tend to be a bit smaller.
5. Where Do Tigers Live?
Tigers are noticeably adaptable and historically lived across large swathes of Asia. There are now very few left in South-East Asia, but they’re doing highly nicely in India, Nepal, Russia, and Bhutan.
Tiger habitats vary by way of region, with the larger tigers of chillier northern areas (like the Siberian tiger) dwelling in the brutal taiga, whilst smaller tigers from hotter regions can, fortunately, stay in arid forests, tropical rainforests, and flooded swamplands and mangroves.
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6. Can Lions and Tigers Co-exist?
Much as predators co-exist in Africa, tigers and lions can live collectively within carefully drawn boundaries. For example, they may also use adjoining habitats or the same habitats at one-of-a-kind times.
Behavioral adaptation is every other strategy, particularly when it comes to hunting: tigers are largely killing prey by ambush, while lions are social felids, searching co-operatively with their pride.
7. Why Do Tigers Have Spots On Their Ears?
Tigers have white spots surrounded by using black fur on the lower back of their ears. It has been recommended that they act as false eyes to warn of their presence or discourage different species from attacking them from behind. Other theories suggest that it helps tiger cubs follow their mother via tall grass.
8. Which Mammals Are The Most Dangerous?
Being an apex predator is hard and, for many species, most pastimes cease in failure, while smaller hunters danger of losing their hard-won meals to greater beasts but which is the deadliest animal and which predator has to work hardest to get a meal? Learn about apex predators and which are the most dangerous?
9. Do Tigers Like Water?
Tigers do now not shy away from water and revel in bathing in streams and lakes to break out the heat in hot climates.
10. What Are Baby Tigers called?
Baby tigers are known as cubs. In the tall grass, rock crevices, or caves, tiger cubs are born blind and depend on their mom for protection. Females normally give birth to two to three cubs but can have as many as six.
Each litter has a dominant cub who is greater energetic than their siblings and takes the lead in their play. This sibling is normally the first to go away from its mother. After 15 months the matured cubs will disperse and find their personal territories.
11. How Long Do Tigers Live?
In the wild, tigers have a 14-12 months life
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