In all its striped glory, the tiger is probably one of the first animals we learn about as a kid. As the biggest of the big cats, tigers dominate their habitats with their powerful features. Although it’s wise to fear their presence, their behavior doesn’t actually stray far from our feline companions at home. From its natural hunting methods to the challenges they face, take a closer look at this unique creature with these tiger facts.
- Adult tigers weigh up to 363kg.
- Tigers can move at speeds of 65km/hour.
- The first tigers appeared 2 million years ago.
- A wild tiger has an average lifespan of 10-15 years.
- A tiger’s roar can be heard from 3 kilometres away.
- Tigers prey on deer, buffalo, antelopes, and other larger mammals for food.
- Tigers hunt at night.
- Wild tigers are pure carnivores.
- Sumatran tigers are the smallest among all tiger types.
- There are 5 subspecies of tiger today.
- Tigers will cross rivers to hunt for food.
- It’s rare to see a cluster of tigers together as they do not have permanent groups.
- Tigers can leap forward for at least 30 feet in a single jump.
- Their padded feet allow tigers to silently follow their prey.
- When large mammals are not available, tigers could eat elephants and birds.
- Smaller tiger subspecies are scattered around Asia while larger types live in the colder areas of China and Russia.
- Among all cat species, tigers are the only ones with complete skin stripes.
- The density of a tiger’s stripe depends on its subspecies.
- Their tails help tigers balance their body.
- The success rate of a tiger’s hunt is only 50%.
Tiger Facts Infographics
Tigers are the world's largest cats.
The largest cat species in the world weighs a whopping average of 800.278 pounds. To illustrate, that’s equivalent to the combined weight of ten average-sized kids.
Tigers like to swim.
Unlike other cat species, tigers often spend their time cooling off in streams and pools. In fact, tigers in the wild have regularly been observed swimming after a successful hunt.
Tigers hunt alone.
Although we see videos and documentaries of tigers living very close to each other, they are considered solitary hunters. Their hunting strategy focuses on stalking their prey, which would make it impractical to hunt in large numbers.
There were originally 8 tiger subspecies.
Like most other animals, industrialization and other human activity has impacted tiger species throughout the years. To date, there are 5 living subspecies of tigers, which are the Bengal tiger, Sumatran Tiger, South China Tiger, Indochinese Tiger, and Siberian Tiger.
Meanwhile, the Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers have all gone extinct.
Tigers have "eyes" on the back of their ears.
Most establishments or personal spaces install CCTV cameras for extra security. As for tigers, they have their own “built in” cameras. It is believed that the white spots on a tiger’s ears function as its extra eyes that can detect attackers from behind.
Blood loss and strangulation are the tiger's main method of killing.
Tigers will usually target a prey’s neck to ensure that it pierces a major artery with its sharp teeth. Once this happens, their prey usually dies within seconds due to blood loss. If not, they would strangle their prey’s neck until it suffocates.
Each tiger stripe pattern is unique.
Humans have a unique fingerprint that no one could ever copy. Just like us, tiger species have their own fur pattern, which means that no two tigers share the same stripes. Tiger stripes also run skin-deep – even if they go bald, you’d still see their unique stripes.
Habitat loss and hunting caused the shrink of the tiger range.
Tigers and other wild cat species depend on the wild for their food and habitat. Because of constant human activity like poaching and pollution, tiger species have lessened around 7% from its former population. Truly one of the more saddening tiger facts.
Adult tigers have large appetites.
As the largest big cat species, it only makes sense that they eat a whole lot more compared to other animals. On average, tigers can eat 88 pounds of meat in one sitting. After a successful hunt, it may feast on its prey’s body for days or bury it to save for later.
Female tigers usually give birth to blind cubs.
In an average lifetime of a female tiger, they can give birth to liters of 3-4 cubs. Born blind, baby tigers are virtually helpless. Tiger moms take care of their cubs until they can hunt on their own after 2- 3 years. The female tiger mostly takes responsibility of caring for its cubs since father tigers usually go back to their solitary nature of hunting.
Tigers vocalize to improve their roar.
One thing singers and tigers have in common is the need to vocalize. You probably won’t see a tiger in musicals anytime soon, but tigers need to constantly practice their powerful roars to assert dominance and communicate well. Their vocalization routines include chuffing, roaring, hissing, moaning, and growling.
White tigers have beautiful blue eyes.
One of the least known tiger facts is that its white subspecies are not albino. Their colors result from recessive genes that affect skin pigmentation, which is a slightly different case compared to albinism. Most of the tiger species that have white skin also have blue eyes.
Tiger punches could kill.
When you come across a tiger in the wild, it’s best not to engage in a fist-fight. A single strike of their paws could break your bones or kill you. Definitely one of the tiger facts to remember if you value your life.
Tigers are night owls.
Tigers prefer to hunt at night, since they generally avoid interacting with humans in the daylight. Aside form hunting, tigers would also patrol their territories at night, fighting off anything that would breach their spots.
Cubs follow their tiger mom's scent.
One of the saddest tiger facts is that not all newborn cubs survive their transition to adult tigers. For a big chunk of their younger years, cubs would follow their mother’s scent. However, a majority of tiger cubs get left behind on hunts, eventually succumbing to the cold or hunger.
Adult male tigers eat blind cubs.
Mother tigers will take care of their cubs until they reach independence. In extreme cases, some male tigers would eat newborn cubs so that the tigress could be available for mating again. This is one of the horrifying tiger facts we cannot just ignore.
Crossbreeding between a tiger and other wild cats is possible.
Tigers can mate with other big cats in the wild, too. For example, a hybrid called “Tigon” results from mating between a male tiger and a female lion. Ligers are breeds from male lions and female tigers. According to scientists, there are a lot of wild cat hybrids that are yet to be discovered.
Taiwan bans tiger cross-breeding.
Tiger crossbreeding is a regular business in China, Iran, Argentina, USA, Czech Republic, UAE, India, and Russia. However, Taiwan banned it in their country on the grounds of preserving protected species. Violators may be subjected to paying a fine or other authoritative measures.
Tiger saliva has antiseptic properties.
When tigers get bruised or wounded, they lick the affected area to disinfect and prevent any kind of infection as their saliva is a natural wound antiseptic. This healing property comes from a special protein found in their saliva, which quickens their recovery.
Among all wild cat species, tigers are the most reserved.
Unlike their other relatives, tigers do not make loud roars in groups. They only roar when communicating long-distance or asserting territory boundaries. Male tigers would even allow cubs and tigresses to eat first.
Tiger pee smells like buttered popcorn.
Buttered popcorn usually has a comforting smell, but one of the interesting tiger facts is how the same scent indicates a tiger’s territory. Tigers use their anal gland and urine secretions to alert other tiger species when they intrude on another tiger’s space.
Tigers can mimic other animal sounds.
One big advantage for tigers when they hunt is their ability to imitate other animal calls to fool them into approaching. Definitely one of the more unexpected tiger facts.
A tiger's penis never gets erect.
Even when male tigers are aroused, they do not get a “hard-on”. Their sexual organs are designed in a way that gives male tigers the leverage in sexual encounters with female wild cats. With their barbed penises, they lock in female partners until they can be sure that their sperm gets absorbed completely.
Tigers close their eyes when they feel safe.
Since they can’t purr, tigers close their eyes to indicate contentment or calmness.
Tigers are India's national animal.
With 70% of the world’s tiger population living in India, it’s no surprise that the country declared them as its national animal in 1973. India even has tourist destinations where you can expect a packed cluster of tigers.
Siberian tigers are the largest tiger subspecies.
Male Siberian tigers can grow at least 11 feet tall, with an average weight of 660 pounds or more. Although their female counterparts tend to be smaller, they are still much bigger compared to other tiger subspecies.
Tigers from South China have a distinct forehead stripe.
If you’ve ever seen a tiger with a stripe on its forehead, it’s very likely that it was a South China Tiger. The unique stripe on this tiger’s forehead resembles the Chinese character for “King.”
Bengal Tigers are the most known tiger subspecies.
The Bengal tiger may owe its popularity to a character featured in The Jungle Book. The Disney animation has Shere Khan, a bengal tiger, as its main antagonist.
The world's tiger capital is in India.
The swamp forest along Bangladesh and India’s borders holds the highest recorded casualties of Bengal Tiger attacks. On average, 100 people are killed in the area each year.
Tigers have killed more people than leopards and lions combined.
In the 19th century alone, over a hundred thousand people have been killed by tigers. However, despite this grim number, tigers usually avoid human interaction unless are provoked. Other factors may include scarce food, which can make them seek out humans to stay fed.
Tiger claws are very long.
Tigers have strong, powerful paws with claws that could grow up to 12 cm long. Next to their strong teeth, tiger claws serve as their main defense mechanisms.
Siberian tigers are endangered.
Despite combined efforts of animal communities and groups to conserve Siberian tigers, the IUCN classifies them as an endangered species. Although their population has since stabilized, further damages can render them extinct within a 10-year time frame.
Tigers sleep a lot.
Since they do most of their hunting at night, tigers spend most of the daylight hours asleep. At most, a tiger can sleep for at least 18 hours straight. They can rarely be seen hunting in broad daylight. It’s definitely one of the tiger facts that show how similar they are to our feline pets.
Around 3,900 tigers still live in the wild.
In most Southeast Asian areas, tigers face dwindling numbers. Although many conservation efforts have been made by governments and organizations, most tiger species remain threatened.
Excessive hunting has caused the extinction of Tasmanian Tigers.
Considered as the largest carnivorous marsupials, Tasmanian tigers went extinct in the year 1936 when the last of its kind died at Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo.
Tigers have night vision.
Due to their nocturnal hunting habits, tigers evolved to see clearly at night. Their eyes have a specialized structure which lets them see 6 times better than a normal human.
Ancient Chinese beliefs have fueled mass tiger poaching.
In Chinese folklore, it’s believed that many body parts of a tiger have medicinal properties. Their whiskers are said to cure toothaches, while tiger bones treat and their tails are said to cure skin diseases. These beliefs largely influenced the tiger’s popularity in illegal trade.
Bengal tigers have the most stable population of any tiger subspecies.
Unlike other tiger subspecies, Bengal Tigers still have 2,000 living individuals of its kind.
Black tigers are real.
It’s rare to see melanistic or black tigers, since none have been recorded in zoos. However, some tigers have such thick stripes that they appear to have a solid black coat.
Tigers are symbolic animals.
Throughout history, tigers have been seen as a symbol of fighting spirit and power. Some Asian communities also see tigers as a symbol of intelligence, mystery, and power. These villages have regarded tigers as their domain’s undisputed rulers.
Each tiger has a unique scent.
Aside form their distinct stripes, tigers have individualized glands that give off unique. This gives them the ability to mark their territories and declare it as their own to others.
Tigers cannot enjoy sweet treats.
All cat species have taste buds like us. However, their taste buds cannot recognize sweetness. Even if you feed them sweet products and meals, they won’t be able to detect it with their tongue.
Adult tigers could be sold for $10,000.
In the black market, dead tigers can be sold for a fairly high amount. Because of this, tiger hunting and poaching is ever-present.
Tigers could die from starvation.
Humans could go for 30-40 days without food. However, tigers could starve to death in 2 weeks without proper sustenance. This is mainly due to its immense size and appetite.
Bali Tigers were viewed as evil.
Because of this belief, Bali Tigers were hunted until the last of its kind got killed. Caspian and Javan tigers have experienced the same fate, too. Truly one of the most heartbreaking tiger facts.
Tigers will share their kill with others.
Lions would never share their kills with anyone, but this is not the case for tigers. One of the more adorable tiger facts is their willingness to share with other tigers, even eating in turns to make way for others.
Their tongue bristles allow tigers to cup more water to drink.
Animals lap their tongue to drink but tigers could only flick the droplets of water into their muzzles. Unlike other cat species, tigers are equipped with thick, spiky tongue bristles – which makes it harder for them to lap water like other cat species.
You can save tigers in the wild.
By merely spreading the word about how tigers are threatened due to many factors that humans do, you can already make a big difference.
A tiger's territory can span at least 400km.
Tigers have large territories, marking it with their scent to communicate with other tiger species that they are within their range.
Tigers have diverse habitats.
Tigers can thrive in mangrove swamps, rainforests, savannas, and grasslands. Just as long as they have enough resources, they can survive.
There are more caged tigers than those in the wild.
It’s known that the US has at least 5, 000-10,000 captive tigers, while only 3,000 of its population lives free in the wild.
Caged tigers are kept in many areas.
Almost 90% of all captured tigers are found in circus wagons, roadside zoos, homes, and backyard breeder facilities.
Tigers are the most common big cat.
Although they’re among the most endangered, tigers still top the list of big cats in terms of their population. They are followed by lions, with jaguars for the third spot.
Tigers have extremely sharp teeth.
Tigers use their powerful teeth and jaws to munch through bones, sinew, and meat. Their teeth are so sharp that it could snap necks and kill prey in one blow.
India has launched Project Tiger.
In the 1970s, India kicked off its conservation efforts to protect their national animal- the Bengal tigers. This effort has helped rehabilitate and maintain the Bengal tigers population through the years.
Tigresses have a short fertile window.
For the entire year, female tigers are only fertile for at least 4-5 days. Within this time frame, they constantly mate with male tigers and get pregnant a few months after.
Tigers feed on bears, too.
Due to overlapping territories and habitats, tigers may jump at the opportunity to prey on bears for food.
When tigers are protected, the ecosystems stay balanced.
In ecology, apex predators refer to animals on top of their food chain. With no natural predators, tigers help maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem by regulating the population of prey species. In turn, this protects our forests, croplands, and streams from being damaged by invasive species.