Karma Cats

  • TIGERS - Panthera TigrisTIGERS - Panthera Tigris
  • TIGERS - Panthera TigrisTIGERS - Panthera Tigris

TIGERS - Panthera Tigris

Download PDF

Sub-Species Distribution

Est. Wild Numbers

Status

       

Siberian /Amur Tiger
Panthera tigris altaica

Far eastern Russia and north-eastern China

300 - 400

Endangered

       

Bengal Tiger
Panthera tigris tigris

India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, West Myanmar, Nepal

1,700 – 2,500

Endangered

       

Indo-Chinese Tiger
Panthera tigris corbetti

Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, East Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

420 - 1000

Endangered

       

Malaysian Tiger
Panthera tigris jacksoni

Malaysia

<250

Endangered

       

South China Tiger
Panthera tigris amoyensis

China

20 – 30
*possibly extinct in the wild as no sightings since the 1970s

Critically
Endangered

       

Sumatran Tiger
Panthera tigris sumatrae

Sumatra

300 - 400

Critically
Endangered

       

Caspian Tiger
Panthera tigris virgata

Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia,Turkey

0

Extinct

       

Javan Tiger
Panthera tigris sondaica

Java

0

Extinct

       

Bali Tiger
Panthera tigris balica

Bali

0

Extinct


Physical
Description

  • Tigers are a large, solid, muscular cat with huge shoulders and forearms designed to bring down large prey
  • Siberians and Bengals the larger subspecies while the tropical tigers such as the Sumatran are the smaller subspecies
  • Most tigers have an orange coat with black vertical stripes but some Bengals carry a recessive gene reducing the amount of pigment they can produce.  These cats have white coats with chocolate stripes and blue or green eyes
  • All tiger stripes are individual and if you shave them, the marking can be seen in it’s skin
  • The backs of their ears are black with a white spot in the centre of each ear
  • Their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs, suggesting they are good jumpers
  • Jumps as long as 8 – 10m have been recorded but are rare
   

Size

Head and body length: 1.8 m – 2.9 m     
Tail length: 1m – 1.1m        
Weight: 75 – 325 kgs       


The largest of the tiger family and the largest cat in the world, is the Siberian tiger with males weighing up to 325kgs and up to 3.5m in length from head to tail.


The smallest is the Sumatran with males weighing up to 120kgs and up to 2m in length from head to tail.

   

Life Span

Wild: 10 - 12 years
Captivity: 18 - 22 years

   

Breeding

Male

Sexual maturity 3 – 4 years

Female

Sexual maturity 3 years

Oestrus

Siberians appear to seasonal breeders coming into heat February - April

Approximately every 25 – 40 days all year round for all other tigers

Mating

Takes place for 2 -4 days then the male leaves, up to 50 matings a day, each mating lasts less than 15 sec
Male holds the female by the back of the neck giving a short roar when completed              

Tigers are induced ovulators
Cubs

2 – 6 (average 2.8) cubs per litter
Cubs are born blind with eyes opening at 6 – 12 days
790 – 1600 grams at birth
Full set of milk teeth at 1 month, adult teeth at around 12 months

Start eating meat at 6 – 8 weeks
Dependant

Dependant on Mum for 18 – 24 months
Milk dependant 4 – 6 months
At one to two months cubs taken to kill sites
At six months introduced to hunting, stalking, killing


If a mother loses her cubs, she will come back into oestrus in 5-10 days to reproduce again.

   

Diet & Hunting

  • Opportunistic predator – will eat anything it can catch from frogs to baby elephant
  • Chital, sambar and barking deer, wild cattle (gaur), wild pigs, ungulates, smaller prey like monkeys, birds, even fish
  • A wild tiger would eat 50 – 75 large ungulates per year
  • Can bring down prey up to 1,000 kg (1 ton) in weight e.g. gaur which is 4 to 7 times the weight of a tiger
  • In the wild, can eat between 18 – 40 kgs of meat per sitting but then will not eat for a few days
  • In captivity tigers eat 4 - 8  kgs of meat per day depending on their size
  • An ambush predator that kills with a bite to the back of the neck or throat
  • Uses the cover of rocks, trees, bushes etc. to get as close to the prey as possible
  • Will attack from behind where possible
  • Explosive power is used to ambush prey, tigers are not endurance animals, if they don’t catch their prey within 100 -150m, they will give up
  • Can reach speeds of 55 – 60 kms per hour
  • Carry prey into cover before eating
  • Will feed on a carcass for many days.  If they leave the kill to drink, they will often cover it first with grass and leaves
   

Habitat

  • Tropical rainforests
  • Woodlands
  • Tall grasslands
  • Forests
  • Mangrove swamps
  • Reed jungles
  • Snowy mountains
  • Can adapt from temperate, tropical climates to freezing, snow covered environments
  • When living in tropical climates, will seek areas where there is water to cool off – tigers love water
   

Social System & Territories

  • Solitary and dispersed social system – communicate through scents, vocalisations and visual markings
  • Urine with scent gland secretions are sprayed on rocks, trees, bushes etc. to mark territories
  • Scent can also be placed on faeces through the anal glands
  • Rub their cheeks on objects such as trees to deposit scent
  • Flehmen – allows olfactory & chemical clues to pass over naso-vomeral organ positioned in the roof of the mouth
  • Leave scrape marks by raking their back feet in the dirt leave visual marks for other tigers
  • Both males and females occupy territories they defend against intruders of the same sex
  • Range size is prey density specific ranging from 20km2 (temperate jungle) to 1000km2 (snowy areas of Siberia)
  • Male ranges are generally 2 – 15 times larger than female ranges typically overlapping several female ranges
  • Males will retain exclusive breeding rights to females in his territory as long as can defend
  • Most active dawn and dusk
  • Vocalisations include roaring, growling, snarling, hissing, prusten (chuff), calling, moaning, meowing, barking (short, sharp roar). Roaring can be heard for up to 3 kms
   

Threats

  • Habitat destruction
  • Palm oil plantations in Sumatra
  • Poaching for body parts for traditional Asian medicines
  • Conflicts with people over livestock
  • Humans, bears and wolves are main competitors
  • Full CITES protection (Appendix I)
Today's actions affect tomorrow's world.