10 amazing facts about tigers

Discover fascinating facts about tigers. 

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Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park, India

Tiger in Ranthambhore National Park, India © Dicky Singh / Getty 

 

1. Unique pattern 

Tigers are the only big cats to have stripes and individuals can be identified by their pattern. The stripes also help the mammals to blend in with their surroundings and remain undetected for longer by prey. 

Find out more about tiger stripes in our wildlife Q&A: Why do tigers have stripes? 

 

2. Spot the spots 

Tigers have white spots surrounded by black fur on the back of their ears. It has been suggested that they act as false eyes to warn of their presence or discourage other species from attacking them from behind. Other theories suggest that it helps tiger cubs follow their mother through tall grass. 

 

3. Making a splash

Tigers do not shy away from water and enjoy bathing in streams and lakes to escape the heat in hot climates. 

 

Bengal tiger swimming in Ranthambhore National Park, India © Andy Rouse / Getty

 

4. Tiger toddlers

In tall grass, rock crevices or caves, tiger cubs are born blind and depend on their mother for protection. After 15 months the matured cubs will disperse and find their own territories. 

 

A tiger cub sleeping in the grass © Nathalie Kaczkowski / EyeEm / Getty

 

5. Roam alone

Tigers have a 14 year life span. Once mature, they will spend most of their time living and hunting alone, with the exception of females when they are raising their young. 

 

6. Tiger territory  

The range of these big cats can be between 20km to 400km. Scent marking allows tigers to communicate with other tigers in their range. 

 

Bengal tigress in Bandhavgarh National Park, India © James Warwick / Getty

 

7. Night vision

Tigers have night vision that is six times better than that of humans, which helps them hunt successfully in the dark. A tiger will mainly hunt pigs and deer but is capable of taking prey larger than itself. 

 

8. Endangered big cats 

The remaining tiger subspecies are the Siberian, South China, Sumatran, Indochinese, Malayan and Bengal. It is believed that amongst those there are only 3,000 to 4,500 individuals left in the wild. 

 

A tigress in Tadoba National Park, India © Hira Punjabi / Getty

 

9. Vanishing act

Land development has led to around 96 per cent of the tiger’s natural range being lost in past 100 years. 

 

10. On the market

Tigers are being illegally hunted for their body parts such as bones, skin and teeth to fuel the growing demand for remedies made from tiger parts in Asia. 

 

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