Tiger is the biggest of all living cats today. It can reach the size of 12 feet. This means that if a tiger stands on its two legs it can touch the roof of a house.
The scientific name of tiger is Panthera tigris. It shares the genus panthera with other predators including leopard, lion, snow leopard, and jaguar.
There are 11 subspecies of a tiger but not all of them are alive today. Two species had become extinct in the prehistoric times.
Big cats live in Central Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeast Asia. They make homes in a wide variety of habitats such as tropical forests, mangrove swamps, open grasslands, deciduous forests, and thorn forests.
They like to make homes where there is dense vegetation and water.
Tigers are carnivores—they eat only meat. Big cats eat medium to large animals such as roe deer, chital, nilgai, wild boar, domestic buffalo, sambar deer, monkeys, hares, porcupines, birds, Malayan tapir, and fish.
They can also kill other large predators including striped hyenas, crocodiles, leopards, pythons, wolves, badgers, foxes, and bears.
White tiger is not a recognized subspecies of a tiger. It is a hybrid species. The white tiger is born as a result of inbreeding between the same genders. The inbreeding occurs in captivity therefore no white tiger is found in the wild. The inbreeding is illegal.
The black vertical stripes on a tiger’s coat are unique. It allows the cat to hide in bushes while hunting ungulates. Every individual tiger has unique stripes. No cat has stripes that match the others—not even within the same family unit.
At the start of the 20th century there were as many as 100,000 tigers worldwide. At the end of the 20th century there were as fewer as 6,000 tigers living.
Tigers do not have any natural predators in the wild except for humans. Humans have cut down forests—tiger’s primary habitat and hunted big cats at a massive scale.
Here’s a fun quiz to find out what kind of big cat are you.