There are nine recognized subspecies of tiger. Of these, the Caspian, Bali and Javan tigers are extinct. There are believed to be only 30-80 of the South China tiger left in the world. The Indian or Bengal tiger is the most numerous, but there are probably no more than 3,000. Read and learn more interesting facts you have to know about tigers.
With its trademark reddish-orange mark with dark stripes coat, tiger is the biggest cat in the world. Tiger can measure 2 meters long and can weigh up to 360 kilograms. Its tail can reach 1 meter long. This powerful, solitary cat, generally hunts for prey at night, catching its prey on the throat with ease. Tiger can consume 27 kilos of raw meat in one night and generally hunts for deer and antelope.
Tigers are found in parts of southeast Asia and India inhabiting areas near water. There are eight subspecies of tiger — five are extant — Bengal, Siberian, Sumatran, South China and Indo Chinese. The three extinct subspecies are: Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers. There are also known hybrid tigers. In the wild, tigers have a lifespan 10 – 15 years, while in captivity they can live up to 25 years. Below are other facts about tigers.
The Bengal tiger(Panthera tigris tigris),is found in mangrove forests of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Bengal tigers can easily be recognized by its yellow to light orange coat mark with dark brown to black stripes.
Adult males average 270–310 cm, and weigh 221.2 kg. Bengal tigers prey on deer, wild boar, Gray langur, and also bigger animals like sloth bears, Asiatic black bears, water buffalo, leopards foxes, jackals and wolves. Current Bengal tiger population in the wild is about 1300 – 1500 individuals. Life span – up to 15 years.
The Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is found in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Laos. Sporting darker coats and smaller than Bengal tigers, Male Indochinese tigers measure from 2.55 to 2.85meters long and weigh about 150 to 195 kilograms. They inhabit remote forest hills and rugged mountainous terrains, preying on large animals like buffalo, deer, wild pigs, monkeys, birds, and sometimes baby elephants. Currently, there are around 1,000 – 1,800 individuals in the wild and about 50-70 in Zoos worldwide
Native to Malaysia, The Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni),is considered the smallest living subspecies of tiger. Malay tiger sport similar stripe pattern to the Indonesian tiger, but much closer to Sumatran tigers in term of size. Adult males measure around 237 cm in length and weigh about 120 kg. The Malayan tiger diet includes: deer, wild pigs, and cattle. The IUCN listed the Malayan tiger as Endangered with the latest population estimated around 600-800 tigers in the wild.
The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) native only in Sumatra, Indonesia, is the smallest extant subspecies of tiger. They inhabit dense forests. It sports narrower stripes than other species and has webbed feet. Sumatran Tigers commonly prey on larger ungulates, like Wild Boar, Malayan Tapir and deer, and sometimes also smaller animals, like mice, fowl, monkeys, fish and crocodiles. Sumatran tigers can live about 10 to 15 years in the wild. Currently listed as critically endangered, the wild population is about 400 and 500 and 210 captive individuals live in zoos.
The largest subspecies of tiger Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), inhabits mountainous forest of the Amur-Ussuri region of Siberia, Russia. Adult males can reach 270–330 cm in length and weigh 180–306 kg. Siberian tigers sport thick coat with paler golden hues mark with fewer stripes. During winter, it wears a white coat. These fierce carnivores prey on deer, antelopes, wild boar, cattle, buffalo and young elephants. Another endangered species of tigers, the current Siberian population is estimated around 400 animals in the wild. Siberian can live up to 25 years.
South China Tiger
The most critically endangered subspecies, the South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), lives in forests of China. One of the smaller subspecies, South China tigers measure from 2.2–2.6 m in length and weighs between 127 and 177 kg. They sport a much thinner stripes than that of other subspecies. One of the 10 Most Endangered Animals in the World, there are about less than 20 animals in the wild and 59 captive all within China. In November 2007, the first known South China tiger was born in South Africa.
The white tiger, technically as known as chinchilla albinistic, is a popular tiger mutation mostly found in zoos. White tigers are born only to Bengal tigers whose parents carry recessive genes required for white coloring. Typical white tiger has white fur, blue eyes, and a pink nose. Adult males measure 3 m long and weigh 180-285 kg. These cute tigers are slow climbers, but are good swimmers. White tigers are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar inhabiting forests, mangroves and swampy areas.
Golden Tabby Tiger
Like the white tigers, golden tabby tigers are Bengal tigers born from parents who both carry yet another recessive genes needed in color variation. Sometimes known as “strawberry tigers”, they are larger than normal orange tigers, have thicker fur than normal, light gold fur and faint orange stripes. Currently, the estimated population of golden tabby tigers is believed to be around 30 or less.
There are also unverified reports about the Maltese tiger, or blue tiger. In 1910, Harry Caldwell reported that he spotted one outside Fuzhou, China. Another report stated that a Maltese was spotted during the Korean war. Maltese tigers are said to have bluish fur with dark grey stripes. Since there is no hard evidence to support the existence of Maltese tigers, then are Maltese tigers just mythical tigers? Or could they may have once lived, but is now extinct.
A liger is the offspring of a male lion and a tigress. This big cat appears to be giant lion sporting mute stripes. In other cases, individuals grow impressive manes. Nevertheless, most ligers simply love swimming which is against the nature of lions. On average, ligers are between 10 to 12 feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds or more. There is also another hybrid known as tigon, the offspring of a lioness and a male tiger.