Introducing The Big Cat Series – Tigers of the World and oh how I love tigers and my hope is that one day I will be able to pet one because ever since I was a little girl I have loved them and when I was in high school our mascot was the Tiger and I definitely thought that was pretty cool!
And even though I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to pet one while I’m living on earth, I have hopes that I will. Luckily, we live not too far from a Tiger Reservation that allows petting and interacting with tiger cubs and my son and I plan on visiting this tiger sanctuary soon.
Well, I’m older now and my love for these big cats has not diminished whatsoever.so, with that said today we will discuss Tigers from the Big Cat Series series where I will be highlighting the different species of tigers and their subspecies as well.
I know my website focuses on house cats, however, I wanted to introduce where my love for cats started and grew and that would be my life long love of tigers!
I once saw a video of a Bengal tiger and stopped the video and as I gazed and admired the beauty of this big cat albeit, it brought me to tears because of how beautiful this creature was and thanked God for its beauty!
Alright, so today I will be discussing tigers in general and as we move on in our series here, I will profile each species and subspecies individually.
Okay… so here we go:
The Big Cat Series – Tigers of The World – Scientific Names
How many species and subspecies of tigers are there extinct and living? Here is a list of tigers that are struggling to survive in the wild today and those who are now considered to be extinct.
- Sumatran Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sumatra (smallest species) –Critically Endangered
- Siberian Tiger (aka Amur Tiger) – Panthera Tigris Altaica (largest species) – Endangered
- Bengal Tiger – Panthera Tigris Tigris – Endangered
- Indochinese Tiger – Panthera Tigris Corbetti – Endangered
- South China Tiger – Panthera Tigris Amoyensis – Critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild.
- Malayan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Jacksoni – Assumed Endangered
Extinct Tiger Species
- Bali Tiger – Panthera Tigris Balica – Extinct since 1937
- Caspian Tiger – Panthera Tigris Virgata – Extinct since the 1950s
- Javan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sondaica – Extinct since 1970s
Tigers are territorial and generally solitary animals except for mating season and they are also charismatic and megafauna which means “large enough to be seen with the naked eye and a mammal in a particular region.”
Tigers once roamed across Asia from Turkey to Eastern Siberia as well as across large parts of South and Southeast Asia.
Map of Where Tigers Roamed
Global population: In the 1900’s an estimated 100,000 wild tigers roamed the world and now only around 3,200 exist and most of that percentage are tigers that live in captivity!
This makes me so angry and hurts inside to know such a beautiful animal is almost non-existent and mostly due to poaching for their bones, skin and other body parts.
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Including fragmentation, reduced food supply (again because man took it from them) habitat destruction by builders and the logging industry while forcing the tigers closer to the human population causes danger for both the tiger and humans!
They hunted these wild tigers for man’s own pleasure and greed I mean, seriously something is wrong with this and then on top of all that, they clear most of the land that tigers hunt on and starvation is one culprit for these beautiful cats!
The Big Cat Series – Tigers of The World
Where Tigers Live
As of 2016, it has been reported that although tigers are native to Asia, their range is much smaller than it used to be such as:
- Southeast Asia
- Western China
- Some parts of Russia
And the breeding populations in:
In regards to their habitat, tigers live in a range of environments, but usually prefer areas with dense coverings, like the forests, with access to water and plenty of prey to hunt they also live in secluded areas such as in caves, among dense vegetation or hollow trees.
Tigers live alone in scent marked territories that vary depending on the availability of prey and usually only one area can support a hungry tiger
Thus, each individual tiger knows their own territory and it’s big trouble if another tiger doesn’t honor the claimed territory.
As of 2010, officials representing China’s Jilin Province, and Russia’s Primorsky Province and areas just north of the Korean Peninsula signed an agreement to set up protected areas straddling their countries with common borders to safeguard the tiger!
Oh, I am so excited about this agreement and I do believe this agreement is still being honored to this day.
The Big Cat Series – Tigers of The World – Breeding Season
Female tigers reach sexual maturity at around 3 to 4 years old while the males mature later at around 4 to 5 years old! Interesting to say the least!
There is no particular breeding season with female tigers entering oestrus which means “in heat”. And therefore, they are able to conceive every 3-9 weeks! Oh my goodness, could you just imagine if we had such a short gestation period? We’d practically have babies take over the world! Haha!
So, the females attract their mates by letting them know they are ready to produce by either vocalizing and marking their territory with distinctive smelling urine.
Did You Know?
A tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn and tigers can tell the age, gender, and reproductive condition of other tigers by just smelling the urine markings and therefore giving them an invitation to dinner and a movie… thus popcorn and treats… haha oh yeah it’s primitive!
Back to what we were talking about… The mother tiger gives birth in a sheltered area such as in tall grass, in a dense thicket, cave or rocky crevice.
The cubs are born 16 weeks after copulation and the mother tiger has anywhere from 2-6 cubs and the male does not take part in the rearing of the cubs!
The mother will lactate for 5 to 6 months and at that time the cubs will be weaned and they start to go with their mother on territorial walks and are then taught how to hunt.
Tiger mothers begin to teach their cubs hunting lessons when the cubs are around six months old and they will become successful hunters around 11 months old and will be independent hunters by 18 months old.
However, the cubs will remain with their mother for 2 to 3 years and then after that, they will find their own territory and have cubs of their own when they reach sexual maturity.
Sometimes the female cub will overlap a little with their mother’s territory as long as there is enough food to sustain them and the males, however, will establish their own territories.
And if they are on alpha male tiger territory, the alpha male may let this junior male tiger remain on his territory and when that junior cub reaches full maturity, they will fight to take over said territory sometimes to the death.
The Big Cat Series – Tigers of The World – What Do Tigers Eat?
Tigers are powerful alpha predators: “An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator, is a predator residing at the top of a food chain upon which no other creatures prey. Apex predators are usually defined in terms of trophic dynamics, meaning that apex-predator species occupy the highest trophic levels or levels and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems.” wikipedia.org.
And these alpha predators are capable of killing animals twice their size! Plus, tigers are crepuscular animals which means they would rather hunt at twilight whereas our domesticated feline children are considered nocturnal, read my article How Does My Cat See This World?
These twilight hunters will travel many miles to hunt on a variety of animals such as;
- Wild Boar; native ungulates “hoofed mammals” are their favorite.
Did You Know?
Tigers don’t like wasting food so, when they have leftover food from a very large kill they will drag it to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves and when they are hungry later on they will go back and finish eating it.
Amazing Tigers Informative Facts
- Tigers can consume up to 40 kilograms (88.2 pounds) of meat in a single meal however, they tend to eat smaller amounts.
- Tigers are one of nature’s most feared predator and is the largest of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
- They can jump up to 33 feet in a single leap!
- The tiger’s roar can be heard up to 1.8 miles (3 kilometers)
- It is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam
- Tigers also appear on many flags and coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams.
- No two tigers have the same stripes and are different thus enabling individual tigers to be identified by their unique markings.
- Just like human fingerprints are not the same either.
- The word “tiger” comes from the Greek word “Tigris”, which probably originated from a Persian word meaning “arrow.”
- The English word “Tigress” was first documented in 1611. The tiger’s scientific name is Panthera tigris.
- Males are larger than females, for instance, a Siberian male tiger weighs in at 660 to 700 pounds and grow up to 10.5 feet
- (which is as tall as a one-story building)
- While the female weighs in at 200 to 370 pounds and measures in at 8.5 feet (2.6 m)
- In China and other parts of Asia, some people believe that various tiger parts have medicinal properties,
- Including pain killers and aphrodisiacs.
- In Ancient Roman times, tigers were kept in menageries and amphitheaters to be exhibited, trained and were provoked to fight against humans and various exotic beasts.
Tigers of The World – Tigers Love Water
- However, a tiger will spend the day relaxing in a pond or a river to cool off during the hot days of summer!
- Tigers can hunt in the water and catch prey.
- Tiger has the largest canines of all big cat species
- His teeth are razor sharp and can grow up to 3 inches in length!
- An adult tiger tail can grow up to 3.3 feet in length.
- The tail is used to communicate just like our feline children. If relaxed the tail will hang loosely
- Aggressive- the tiger will move his tail quickly from side to side
- He will also hold it low and twitch it every now and then
- Just like our furry babies, therefore, we can learn a lot from these big cats and apply these facts to get to know our felines.
- When several tigers are present at a kill, the males will often wait for females and cubs to eat first,
- Unlike lions, which do the opposite tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and simply wait for their turns.
- The markings on a tiger’s forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for “King”, giving tigers a cultural status as a regal animal.
Tigers are the most beautiful cat that I have ever seen and they have had some pretty rough times. These Alpha Kings of the Big Cat world are even bigger than your average Lion.
If only there were more Tigers in the wild instead of in captivity perhaps they would thrive and multiply and only if humans would give them their space and quit taking their land and their food resources then just maybe these awesome cats will have a chance to grow in numbers.
These big cats are smart and extremely intelligent and I think that we can learn so much about our fur babies by watching their big brothers and sisters even though we’ve just touched base on tigers in general and the next coming articles will be on specific subspecies of these wild big cats.
Just a tiny hint at what’s to come:
- The Siberian Cat (aka the Amur tiger) is the biggest cat of all big cat species among the big cats has the most variance in size even when compared to Leopards and Lions.
- The Siberian cat inhabits the region of Siberia Russia hence the name.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it and learning so much more about these beautiful big cats of the wild. I thought I knew a lot but I was wrong because there’s still so much to learn and research. Please share and subscribe to get the next articles in this series.
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Meowz to you!
Donna Rayne & Sammie Mae
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