The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is among the most recognizable and popular of the world's charismatic megafauna. It featured prominently in the ancient mythology and folklore of cultures throughout its historic range and continues to be depicted in modern films and literature, appearing on many flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams. The tiger is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Ambush predators are carnivorous animals that capture or trap prey by stealth, luring, or by (typically instinctive) strategies utilizing an elemen...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
An apex predator, also known as a top predator, is a predator at the top of a food chain and has no natural predators. These animals usually occup...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The coat of tigers is a reddish-orange coat and there are vertical black stripes on the shoulders and flanks that vary in size, spacing, and length. Some subspecies have fur that is paler, some being almost completely white with either dark brown or black stripes along their flanks and shoulders. The muzzle, throat, chest, belly, and underside of the limbs are white or light. Above the eyes, of these beautiful animals, there is a white color that extends to the cheeks. On the back of their ears, there is a white spot. Their tail is reddish-orange in color and ringed by several dark bands.
Tigers live in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and also the Russian Far East and China. They inhabit pine and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, where riparian forests provide food and water. On the Indian subcontinent, these animals live mainly in tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, moist evergreen forests, tropical dry forests, and the swamp forests of the Sundarbans. Tigers can also range from lowland peat swamp forests to rugged montane forests and tall grass jungles.
Tigers are solitary animals, except during the mating season and when the females give birth. They like to be mostly alone, roaming their huge territories in search of food. They mark their territories with secretions and scratch marks on trees. Resident adults of either sex generally confine their movements to their home ranges, within which they satisfy their needs and those of their growing cubs. Individuals sharing the same area are aware of each other's movements and activities. Territory disputes are usually solved by intimidation rather than outright violence. Once dominance has been established, a male may tolerate a subordinate within his range, as long as they do not live in too close quarters. Tigers are most active during the night when their prey is most active. They can, however, be active at any time. They prefer to hunt within dense vegetation, using routes where they are able to move quietly. They knock prey onto the ground with the weight of their body and kill their catch by biting their neck. They are very good swimmers and often bathe in ponds, lakes, and rivers, thus keeping cool in the heat of the day; they can even kill prey while swimming. Tigers communicate through facial expressions and vocally. The most common facial expression includes the "defense threat", where an individual bares its teeth, and flattens its ears and its pupils enlarge. Like other members of their family, tigers roar, particularly in aggressive situations, during the mating season, or when making a kill. They will also chuff which is a soft, low-frequency snorting similar to purring in smaller cats. Other vocal communications include grunts, woofs, snarls, miaows, hisses, and growls.
All tigers are carnivores, eating mainly sambar deer, water buffalo, wild pigs, and antelope. They sometimes hunt sloth bears, dogs, monkeys, hares, leopards, pythons, and crocodiles.
Tigers are polygynous animals. They have no association with mates aside from mating. Males within one area may compete for access to a female in estrus. November to April is the most common time for breeding. Gestation lasts for about 103 days, and females can give birth to 1-7 cubs. They are born with their eyes closed and will open their eyes 6 to 14 days later. During the first 11 to 14 days following the birth, the mother tiger spends the majority of her time nursing her young. Weaning takes place at around 90 to 100 days. Cubs usually remain with their mothers until they reach between 18 months and 3 years of age. Young females become reproductively mature when they are 3 or 4 years old, and males start to breed between 4 to 5 years of age.
Major reasons for the tiger population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, and poaching. Tigers are also victims of human-wildlife conflict, particularly in range countries with a high human population density.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of the tiger is 3,726-5,578 individuals or 2,608-3,905 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are decreasing.
Tigers help control the populations of their large herbivorous prey, which all put pressure on various plant communities. Due to their role as top predators, they are considered keystone species.