The Tiger is one of the big four in the cat world. Tigers are native to Asia, and are a predator cat. They are the largest cat in the world.
The Bengal tiger is the most common tiger that exists today, and makes up about eighty percent of all tigers.
Tigers live a very solitary life and are extremely territorial. They prefer to live in the depths of the forest, but will also range and hunt in the open areas, grasslands and fields.
They stalk a prey animal and will ambush it, taking a great variety of prey for food.
Male tigers are a great deal larger then their female counterparts and have a much larger ranging area.
Tigers are the weightiest of the cats which are in the wild. Large Siberian males can reach a whopping 9 feet in length and weigh well over 600 pounds.
The heaviest Indian Tiger found weighed in at about 857 pounds.
The females, being much smaller, weight about 200-300 pounds.
Tigers have reddish brown fur with a very distinctive stripe that is brown to deep black. Most tigers have more than one hundred stipes on them and each animal has its own pattern, much like a human fingerprint is unique to its owner.
Scientists think the stripes were for camouflage to help the tiger hunt.
It is hard to use this to identify the individual tigers as no one seems to be able to record the stripe patterns accurately due to the need to be close for an extended period of time. Imagine that.
The stripes are not just on the fur, but on the skin of the tiger. If a tiger were completely shaved, his skin would have all the stripes still on it.
Adult tigers are territorial and fiercely defensive. The size of a tigers home range mainly depends on prey abundance and in case of male tigers on access to females. A tigress may have a territory of about twenty five miles, with the males territory being a great deal larger.
Sometimes the territories will overlap and although they are in fact very territorial, it seems that females will tolerate each others incursioins into their territory, while the males do not. They have amazing disputes which can end in the death of one of the males.
To identify his territory the male sprays the trees with his urine, scenting them to warn off other tigers, and sometimes to bring in females who are receptive to mating.
Male tigers will mingle with females in their own territory and even sometimes share their prey, even with females with cubs.
Females are very often reluctant to let males near their cubs, but in some cases, the females will permit the male near them, and he will allow the cubs to eat.
A female can mate only a few days during her season, and the tigers will mate a lot during that time span. They will then carry the cubs for about 100 days, before giving birth to 3 or 4 little ones, which weigh only about two pounds when they are born.
The female tigers raise the young alone, and are fiercely protective of them because wandering males will kill cubs occasionally to bring the female back into season to mate.
At about 8 weeks old the little tigers will leave the den for the first time, and watch the mother hunt.
They are not independent of mother tiger until they are about 18 months old.
Tigers are found in a variety of habitats. Compared to other cats such as the lion tigers like more dense thick cover to hide in.
Tigers are very strong swimmers and may follow and take prey in the water as well as on land.
In the wild, tigers mostly feed on larger and medium sized prey, but if game is scarce they will take smaller prey and more of it, in order to feed themselves and their offspring.
Find out more about the Bengal Tiger over at Wikipedia »