Name: the tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest of the five species in the genus Panthera. The others being lions, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards. Collectively this group are known as the ‘big cats’.
Appearance: tigers are easily recognisable by the dark stripes on their orange fur. The stripes help to provide camouflage in long grass by creating alternating patterns of light and shade. The tiger is one of only a few striped cat species. It is not known why spotted patterns are more common among other cats.
Size: adult male tigers measure from 2.5 to 3.9 metres long and weigh between 90 and 300 kg. The largest tigers are the Siberian subspecies which have been known to weigh up to 465 kg.
Diet: they are carnivores, feeding on large and medium-sized mammals. Typical prey species include deer and wild boar although they have been known to eat monkeys, porcupine, fish, leopards, bears, and crocodiles.
Did you know: tigers have been a source of fascination for humans since ancient times. In Chinese mythology the tiger is the rival of the Chinese dragon. For Korean mythology the tiger is regarded as a guardian that drives away evil spirits and a sacred creature that brings good luck. More recently, in an online poll involving more than 50,000 people from 73 countries, the tiger was voted the world’s favourite animal.
Location: the tiger once ranged across Asia, from eastern Turkey to the Sea of Japan, and from northern Siberia to the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Since the early 20th century, tiger populations have lost at least 93% of their range and have been eradicated in many places due to hunting and habitat loss. Today the tiger’s range is fragmented, stretching from Siberian temperate forests to tropical forests in India and Sumatra.
BEST PLACES TO SEE tigers
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see tigers are as follows:
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Photo credit: andibreit under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay