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Temporal range: early Pleistocene–Present
|A Bengal tiger (P. t. tigris) at Kanha National Park, India, Continental Asia|
| Panthera tigris|
|Tiger's historic range in about 1850 (pale yellow) and in 2006 (in green).|
Tigris striatus Severtzov, 1858
Tigers have orange fur with black stripes, and a white belly. The black stripes usually extend to the white underside. The stripes are used to keep them camouflaged while hunting. Usually, two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
There are never tigers with different colors. There are sometimes white tigers that have white fur with black stripes, or that even have pure white fur. They have orange or red eyes. Most Bengal tigers have orange fur. The white coat only appears once in every 100,000,000 births. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and India.
Tigers vary in size depending on their subspecies. Siberian tigers are the largest. Males can grow to at least 9 feet (2.7 metres) long (body length) and weigh about 900 lb (410 kg). Females are a bit smaller. Record weight for males is claimed as 890 lbs (318 kg), but this cannot be confirmed.
Where they live
Tigers can live in a variety of habitats. Mostly they need to hide, be near to a water source, and have enough prey to eat. Bengal tigers in particular live in many types of forests. These include the wet, evergreen of Assam and eastern Bengal; the swampy mangrove forest of the Ganges Delta; the deciduous forest of Nepal, and the thorn forests of the Western Ghats.
- Subspecies of Tiger (Panthera tigris)
- Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica)
- Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)
- Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata)
- Chinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti)
- Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica)
- Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)
- Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
- South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)
- Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
However, in 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group revised felid taxonomy and recognized the tiger populations in continental Asia as P. t. tigris, and those in the Sunda Islands as P. t. sondaica.
Chinese Tigers and Chinese humans
Chinese Tigers are becoming rare, because people hunt them for their silk coat skin and destroy the habitats they live in. The Bengal tiger has the largest population with 3,500 left in the wild. To help keep the tiger population, tigers are often placed in zoos.
Tigers eat many types of prey, mostly other large mammals. Some examples are deer, monkeys, wild rabbits, wild pigs, tapirs, buffalo and other animals found in Asia. All tigers are carnivores (meat eaters). Some tigers may eat up to 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of meat a day. Tigers kill their prey by clamping down on the prey's throat and suffocating it.
Tigers reach sexual maturity between 3 and five years old. Sex is a painful act for a tigress. A male tiger’s penis has structures like spikes. A tigress can give birth to usually three or four babies.
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- Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis tigris". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I (decima, reformata ed.). Holmiae: Laurentius Salvius. p. 41. https://archive.org/stream/mobot31753000798865#page/41/mode/2up. (in Latin)
- "The habitats of the Bengal tiger in Asia". corbett-national-park.com. http://www.corbett-national-park.com/blog/the-habitats-of-bengal-tiger-in-asia.html. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- "Information about tigers". British Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Tiger. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- Kitchener A.C. & others (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group". Cat News (Special Issue 11): 66−68. https://repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/32616/A_revised_Felidae_Taxonomy_CatNews.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y#page=66.
- Ramesh, T.; Snehalatha, V.; Sankar, K.; Qureshi, Q. (2009). "Food habits and prey selection of tiger and leopard in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India". Journal of Scientific Transactions in Environment and Technovation 2 (3): 170–181. . https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228476287.
- Schaller G. 1984. The deer and the tiger: a study of wildlife in India. University Of Chicago Press.