Being the only felid animal with stripes, the tiger is most certainly the most easily recognizable big cat. Its coat varies from dark orange to reddish ochre, and the belly, neck and insides of the limbs are creamy white. The Siberian tiger generally has the palest coat while the tiger in Indochina is much darker. A series of dark brown or black stripes run vertically across the body.
Tigers feed on whatever large prey they can catch. Their diet includes deer, pigs, and buffalo. They readily kill domestic livestock, and have been known to include man in their diets.
Habitat / Distribution
Tigers can live in a variety of habitat types and climatic conditions, but they require sufficient cover, year-round access to water, and a steady supply of large prey. They live in snow-covered targa, tropical evergreen forest, mangrove swamps, and dry deciduous forest. They are found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, USSR, and perhaps China.
Reproduction / Social System
Tigers mate at any time of the year, but most frequently from November to April. Two to three young are born after a gestation period of 104-106 days. The young nurse until they are about 6 months old, and male cubs grow faster than female. The young leave their natal range when their mother has a new litter, or usually when they are about two years old. They are solitary animals. Females may have overlapping or exclusive territories. Home range size is strongly influenced by prey density, and female ranges from 6.2 sq. miles to 368 sq. miles have been recorded. Male ranges are much larger, and may overlap several female ranges. Despite the fact that these cats usually hunt by themselves, tigers are not totally asocial. Female tigers spend a large portion of their lives accompanied by dependent young, and several tigers may come together to share a kill.
The tiger is the largest of the big cats. The Siberian Tiger may weigh as much as 705 lbs (320 kg). In India, males more commonly weigh 440-595 lbs., while females weigh 275-355 lbs. Head and body length varies from 55-110 inches, and tail length is 23.5-37.5 inches.