Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student.
Have you wondered why some tigers are snow coloured, while some are golden?
Read on to find out.
Tigers are fearsome and ferocious predators. They are the all-powerful beasts of the jungle who can defeat lions in a duel! (a predator is an animal that hunts and kills other animals)
Simply put, tigers have more battle strength in comparison to a lion. Their advantages are amplified with the added 50 to 100-kilo weight difference and well-developed muscles. That’s why tigers would probably be victorious in a one-on-one match but the result might be reversed in the wild because lions usually fight in a team while tigers are usually alone.
Zoologist’s also found that tigers are more aggressive in combat. While a lion has a laid-back attitude that says, “I’ll just pound and play with you”, a tiger shoots to kill. They go straight for the throat and always emerge victorious in solo battles although the same can not be said for battles in the wild.
Why is tiger an amazing animal?
Let’s start with the basics. Tigers lead a simple nomadic life in the jungle and represent the power. That’s why they are the national animals of India, along with Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.
Tigers are invincible and there’s a lot to know about them. So come join us on our jungle safari to find out more fun facts about Tiger. But before that, we need to know where are tigers found!
So where are tigers found?
Naturally, you’d think of jungles but they also inhabit mangrove swamps, savannahs and grasslands. And a long time ago tigers reigned all over Europe, Asia, Africa and the sea of Japan but unfortunately, since the beginning of the 20th century, 93 percent of their historic territories have been destroyed. Now they are primarily found in India, Indo-china regions, Nepal and on the island of Sumatra. It is all that’s left for them after rigorous hunt downs and habitat breaches.
Top 20 Fun Facts About Tiger In 2022
1. A tiger literally packs a punch
One hit from their paws can smash a cattle’s head! Even though they rarely ever use their paws.
Tigers usually go for the neck. Their bite force is up to 1,000 pounds force per square inch (about 4,450 newtons), which is enough to damage spinal cords and pierce through the windpipes of poor hunt-downs. It’s roughly six times stronger compared to human bites.
2. How do some tigers become snow white and golden?
These are cases of genetic mutations.
Simply put, genetic mutations are alterations in your DNA. So the white tiger is a morphed version of the Indian Bengal tiger. It happens when one of the two dominant genes that express an orange coat gets swapped with two white genes.
3. An interesting record about white tigers and Indian maharajas
Indian maharajas were so fascinated with the white tiger, that they not only enjoyed hunting it but also began breeding them in cages.
The cases of white tiger breeding date back to the early 1950s when local Indian maharajas caged a white male tiger and had it breed with one of its coloured daughters. But their “inbreeding” pastime created some serious diseases due to inbreeding depression, including deformities, premature death and disabilities in newborns.
Inbreeding depression refers to reduced health in cubs due to multiple matings between members of one family.
4. Tigers are great swimmers!
While all other big cats are scared of stepping in the water, tigers enjoy cooling off in fresh streams and ponds during hot summer afternoons. Interestingly in the 1980s, tigers frequently went hunting through a deep lake in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India.
5. What should you do if you ever come face to face with a tiger?
Here’s a fun fact to help you—Tigers are less likely to attack you if you look them in the eye. That’s because tigers prefer hunting by ambush and if a prey (which is YOU in this case) is already aware of their presence they’d most probably back away or hesitate.
Regardless they never really attack people unless they feel threatened but if you ever encounter one, it’s wise to match their gaze and slowly walk backwards. It has also been reported that men in India usually wear masks for the same reason when they go hunting or gathering chestnuts and woods. They say it confuses the Bengal tiger.
6. At full speed, tigers can reach up to 65 kilometres per hour, close to the average speed of a metro train.
They can probably chase down a metro. In the wild, a tiger’s speed can range between 49- 65 kilometres per hour but it’s only possible in short bursts. That’s precisely why tigers hunt by ambush and mostly give up on an alerted target.
Another one of fun facts about tigers is that they can leap up to 10 meters in between runoffs.
7. Much like us humans, females are smaller than males. Why though?
This is called sexual dimorphism, a condition where males and females of one specie look different. With tigers, size difference is notably greater in the larger tiger subspecies, in some instances males have been found to weigh around 1.7 times more than females and also have shown wider pads underneath their forepaws. You can determine their sexes based on their trail of footprints. Scientists think the size difference may be related to climate and by size and distribution of prey species.
8. They’re designed to kill, it’s in their blood.
A study reveals that 11 million years ago tigers inherited predatory genes from their ancestors and developed those genes to fill in a crucial position in the carnivore niche. Their evolutionary history shows that they were born to dominate the food chain and maintain its stability. That was some interesting information about tigers, now onto the next…
9 . There are only five major subspecies of tiger left
After the three subspecies of tiger went extinct namely the Caspian, Bali and Javan. The only remaining subspecies are the Bengal tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, Sumatran tiger and Amur tiger (also known as the Siberian tiger).
10.They let females and kids eat first
Lions usually have a dining pattern—dominant males first, females next and cubs last, which is unfair because females do most of the hunting but tigers are rarely ever seen fighting over a meal, they patiently wait for their turns while the female and kids are eating. Although it’s to be noted that they never hunt together.
11. Being a single parent is tough
But all tigresses are naturally destined to be one. Usually, tigresses give birth to two or three cubs at once. They are born with their eyes closed so the mother has to take a lot of care and ends up being the sole provider for about two years.
The cubs live in a mother’s territory for those initial two years before going off on their own to establish their range. While a female cub’s area may overlap with their mother’s for a while, it’s usually separated as the cub grows into a full-blown tigress. Male tigers rarely ever stay in close proximity – they take after their fathers. Notably, males take no responsibilities in raising cubs either.
12. Tigers only live for about 25 years
That’s an overestimation given that most of them die by the age of 20 But the oldest living Tiger is currently 25 years and 316 days old. It lives in Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary in Texas, USA.
Fun facts about Tiger Stripes
Tiger stripes look so intriguing and did you know? They are striped down to their skins. Most animals only exhibit patterns on their fur but if you shave down a tiger, you’d find beautiful markings on its bare skin too.
Here’s some more interesting information about tiger stripes.
13. The stripes help in camouflage
Interestingly tigers are only felids (of the cat family) with stripes because big cats tend to have spots and rosette-like markings on their fur. Tigers stripes help them blend in with tall grasses and variable light and dark shades. This is what camouflage essentially means.
14. Our fingerprints and tiger stripes have one thing in common
No two are the same. It looks all the same but on closer inspection, you’d see that each tiger has a different stripe pattern. That is if they let you have a good look.
Lastly, let’s see some quick fun facts about tiger
15. Tigers are nocturnal beings
Tigers usually go hunting in the dead of the night but drone investigations have revealed they naturally go hunting in daylight at remote places with no human disturbances. Isn’t that one of the most interesting fun facts about tigers, you’ve ever heard?
16. They can kill prey weighing 6 times more than them.
Their sure-fire technique is strangulation. They remain hooked to the prey until it falls still. This way they can even kill huge Indian bison and water buffaloes!
17.They have antiseptic saliva
That’s precisely why they’ve been seen to lick their wounds. Interesting right?
18. Their tails are almost half as long as their body
Their tails help them in balancing their huge body mass and also aid in making sharp turns.
19 Tigers are known to close their eye to display comfort
Just like house cats. And did you know housecats share more than 90 percent of Tiger DNA
20. A group of tigers is called an ambush or streak
But they are rarely ever seen in groups.
Where are Tigers Found?
Tigers prefer areas where there is a lot of prey, like deer, buffaloes and bisons. They need continuous stretches of land to raise their young ones. In India, they mostly live in tropical moist forests, evergreens and tropical dry forests. It’s also found near the swamps of the Sundarban delta.
Myanmar reportedly has tigers distributed across the entire country. It is home to two tiger species namely, Bengal tigers and Indochinese tigers.
Continuing our list of fun facts about tigers, did you know tigers have been around for over 2 million years? The fossil records say so.
Archaeologists unearthed a 2 million-year-old tiger fossil in China. Upon examination, they found that tigers back then were more primitive and smaller. They probably grew bigger in response to bigger prey sizes.
Why is tiger an amazing animal?
Tigers are the apex predators and the largest cats in the world. Their roars can be heard from as far as three kilometres. But this global megafauna is under threat. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, tigers are endangered beasts which means they are on the brink of extinction. As of 2015, no more than 3 thousand mature tigers are left around the globe and India currently hosts the largest tiger population.
Tigers are really important in maintaining the stability of ecosystems because of their position. With tiger’s gone, herbivore populations may remain unchecked and cause overgrazing which in turn would cause climate issues. it might trigger a chain reaction of unimaginable events. In short, we are racing against time.
What are Ligers and Tigons?
Sometimes in the wild, lions and tigers may mate and end up producing cubs of their own. These unnatural beings are called liger, a cross between a male lion and a tigress and Tigon, a cross between a lioness and a male tiger. It’s not over, here are some more fun facts about tiger hybrids
A liger grows larger than either of their parents
Ligers grow huge and attain a length of about 10 to 12 feet, and weigh around 360 and 450 kg. Such development is the result of a growth-promoting gene that they inherit from their lion father. They get so enormous because the corresponding gene responsible for inhibiting their growth is absent.
Tigons are rarer and normal in size.
Hope that gives you enough reasons for—why is tiger an amazing animal. We need to save these regal beasts.