A Majestic Creature
The tiger is the biggest cat in the world. Some male Siberian tigers can weigh as much as 570 pounds. They can stretch from 7 to 12 feet long.
It is the only big cat with stripes. The stripes help the tiger blend into forests and tall grasses. It hides in the vegetation, stalking its prey until it gets close enough to pounce.
Tigers have powerful teeth and claws. An adult tiger can kill an animal four times bigger than itself.
Tigers need to eat an amount of meat equal to about one deer a week. If there is a lot of prey in an area, tigers have smaller home ranges. For example, in some reserves in India, a tiger’s home range can be as small as 20 square miles.
But in areas where prey is scarce, such as in the Russian Far East, tigers need much more space. One tiger may claim up to almost 800 square miles of land for itself. Male tigers need more territory than females need.
Each tiger has its own territory. It hunts alone. Tigers come together to mate, and then the male leaves.
The mom cares for the cubs on her own. A mother tiger may have one to five cubs per litter, but often all but one or two die. Cubs stay with their mom for about two years.
Daughter tigers often set up their own territory near their mother’s. Tigers keep away from one another’s territory. But there are bigger home ranges where tigers might meet up as they hunt.
Tigers mark their territory by spraying urine. They also have scent glands in their faces and feet. They rub their faces against trees to mark their area and let other tigers know where they are. The Mini Page thanks Andrea Heydlauff, Panthera managing director, for help with this issue. Next week, The Mini Page is about castles.
The tiger is a symbol, or sign, of beauty and power throughout the world. In fact, the year 2022 is the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.
That is the world’s goal year for doubling tiger numbers. It is also the year tigers could vanish from the wild if nothing is done to save them. Tigers don’t purr, but they make a kind of chuffing sound in their throats when they are happy. Look through your newspaper for stories and pictures about tigers and other types of cats.
Tigers can live in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, dense tropical forests, or oak forests in areas with temperate climates (climates where temperatures don’t stay too hot or too cold). Tigers do need a good supply of water and prey.