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Tigers of the World: Facts and Different Species

Donna loves writing about the big cats of the wild, she loves all cats big and small! Join her as journies to her Big Cats Series!

Tigers of the World!

Tigers of the World!

Tigers of the World: Scientific Names

How many species and subspecies of tigers are there extinct and living? Tigers once roamed across Asia from Turkey to Eastern Siberia as well as across large parts of South and Southeast Asia. Here is a list of tigers that are struggling to survive in the wild today and those who are now considered to be extinct.

Endangered Species

  • Sumatran Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sumatra (smallest species) –Critically Endangered
  • Siberian Tiger (aka Amur Tiger) – Panthera Tigris Altaica (largest species) – Endangered
  • Bengal Tigers – Panthera Tigris Tigris – Endangered
  • Indochinese Tiger – Panthera Tigris Corbetti – Endangered
  • South China Tiger – Panthera Tigris Amoyensis – Critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild.
  • Malayan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Jacksoni – Assumed Endangered

Extinct Tiger Species

  • Bali Tiger – Panthera Tigris Balica – Extinct since 1937
  • Caspian Tiger Panthera Tigris Virgata – Extinct since 1950s
  • Javan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sondaica – Extinct since 1970s

Tigers are territorial and generally solitary animals, except for mating season. They are also charismatic megafauna, which means they are large animals with popular mainstream appeal in society. Megafauna means “large enough to be seen with the naked eye" or "a large mammal of a particular region."

Map of Where Tigers Roam

Map of Where Tigers Roam

Global Population

In the 1900s, an estimated 100,000 wild tigers roamed the world, and now only around 3,200 exist—and most of that percentage are tigers that live in captivity! It's heartbreaking to know such a beautiful animal is almost non-existent, mostly due to poaching for their bones, skin and other body parts.

Fragmentation, reduced food supply (again, because humans took it from them), and habitat destruction by builders and the logging industry are all forcing tigers closer to human populations, which causes danger for both the tigers and humans.

Men hunted these wild tigers for their own pleasure and greed, and then on top of all that, they cleared most of the land that tigers hunt on so that starvation is another threat to these beautiful cats!

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) counts the number of tigers in the wild at 3,890.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) counts the number of tigers in the wild at 3,890.

Where Do Tigers Live?

As of 2016, it has been reported that although tigers are native to Asia, their range is much smaller than it used to be, formerly including:

  • Southeast Asia
  • India
  • Western China
  • Some parts of Russia

Location of Tiger Breeding Populations

  • Bhutan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Nepal

Habitat

In regards to their habitat, tigers live in a range of environments, but usually prefer areas with dense coverings, like forests, with access to water and plenty of prey to hunt. They also live in secluded areas such as in caves, among dense vegetation, or in hollow trees.

Tigers live alone in scent-marked territories that vary depending on the availability of prey; usually only one area can support a hungry tiger. Thus, each individual tiger knows their own territory and it’s big trouble if another tiger doesn’t honor the claimed territory.

As of 2010, officials representing China’s Jilin Province and Russia’s Primorsky Province and areas just north of the Korean Peninsula signed an agreement to set up protected areas straddling their countries with common borders to safeguard the tigers.

Breeding Season

Breeding Season

Tiger Reproduction

Female tigers reach sexual maturity at around 3 to 4 years old while the males mature later at around 4 to 5 years old. There is no particular breeding season with female tigers entering oestrus (or becoming “in heat”). Therefore, they are able to conceive every 3-9 weeks!

The females attract their mates by letting them know they are ready to produce by either repetitive vocalizing that consists of roars and moans or by marking their territory with distinctive smelling urine.

When a receptive tigress and a tiger meet, they perform a courtship ritual by moving in circles and vocalizing; Both growl and approach and separate successively in the process of mutual recognition and when mutual trust is found and they agree to mate, the female begins to lick, groom and caress the male with the snout and then wallow on the ground and lie face down, indicating that she is ready. Then mating begins, and the process is repeated several times during the heat period for about 5 or 6 days.

How Long Is the Gestation Period?

The cubs are born 16 weeks after copulation. The mother tiger has anywhere from 2-6 cubs and the male does not take part in the rearing of the cubs! The mother tiger then gives birth in a sheltered area such as in tall grass, in a dense thicket, cave or rocky crevice.

The mother will lactate for 5 to 6 months and at that time the cubs will be weaned and they start to go with their mother on territorial walks and are then taught how to hunt.

Mother tiger and her cub!

Mother tiger and her cub!

Cubs Hunting Lessons Begin

Tiger mothers begin to teach their cubs hunting lessons when the cubs are around six months old and they will become successful hunters around 11 months old and will be independent hunters by 18 months old. However, the cubs will remain with their mother for 2 to 3 years and then after that, they go away to find their own territory and have cubs of their own when they reach sexual maturity.

Sometimes the female cub will overlap a little with their mother’s territory as long as there is enough food to sustain them. The males, however, will establish their own territories. And if they are on alpha male tiger territory, the alpha male may let this junior male tiger remain on his territory and when that junior cub reaches full maturity, they will fight to take over said territory, sometimes fighting to the death.

Alpha Male Tiger

Alpha Male Tiger

The Power of the Alpha Predator

Tigers are powerful alpha predators: “An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator, is a predator residing at the top of a food chain upon which no other creatures prey. Apex predators are usually defined in terms of trophic dynamics, meaning that apex-predator species occupy the highest trophic levels or levels and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems.” (wikipedia.org)

And these alpha predators are capable of killing animals twice their size! Plus, tigers are crepuscular animals which means they would rather hunt at twilight whereas our domesticated feline children are considered nocturnal.

These twilight hunters will travel many miles to hunt on a variety of animals such as:

  • Deer
  • Buffalo
  • Wild Boar (Native ungulates or “hoofed mammals” are their favorite.)
Beautiful White Bengal tiger

Beautiful White Bengal tiger

Tiger Facts

  • Tigers can consume up to 40 kilograms (88.2 pounds) of meat in a single meal; however, they tend to eat smaller amounts.
  • Tigers are one of nature’s most feared predators and the largest of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
  • They jump up to 33 feet in a single leap!
  • The tiger’s roar can be heard up to 1.8 miles (3 kilometers)
  • It is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam
  • Tigers also appear on many flags and coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams.
  • No two tigers have the same stripes; they're each different, thus enabling individual tigers to be identified by their unique markings. It's just as human fingerprints are not the same either.
  • The word “tiger” comes from the Greek word “Tigris”, which probably originated from a Persian word meaning “arrow.”

More Tiger Fun Facts

  • The English word “Tigress” was first documented in 1611.
  • The tiger’s scientific name is Panthera tigris.
  • Males are larger than females; for instance, a Siberian male tiger weighs in at 660 to 700 pounds and grows to 10.5 feet (which is as tall as a one-story building). The female weighs in at 200 to 370 pounds and measures in at 8.5 feet (2.6 m).
  • In China and other parts of Asia, some people believe that various tiger parts have medicinal properties, including pain killers and aphrodisiacs.
  • In Ancient Roman times, tigers were kept in menageries and amphitheaters to be exhibited, trained and were provoked to fight against humans and various exotic beasts.
Tigers love water to keep them cool

Tigers love water to keep them cool

Tigers Have the Largest Canines

  • Tigers love water. A tiger might spend the day relaxing in a pond or a river to cool off during the hot days of summer!
  • Tigers hunt in the water and catch prey.
  • Tigers have the largest canines of all the big cat species.
  • Their teeth are razor sharp and can grow up to 3 inches in length!
  • An adult tiger tail can grow up to 3.3 feet in length. The tail is used to communicate just like our cats. If relaxed, the tail will hang loosely.
  • When a tiger is aggressive, he will move his tail quickly from side to side. He also holds it low and twitches it every now and then. Just like our furry babies, therefore, we can learn a lot from these big cats and apply these facts to get to know our felines.
  • When several tigers are present at a kill, the males will often wait for females and cubs to eat first. Unlike lions, which do the opposite, tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and simply wait for their turns.
  • The markings on a tiger’s forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for “King”, giving tigers a cultural status as a regal animal.

The Most Beautiful Big Cat in the World

Tigers are the most beautiful cat and they have had some pretty rough times. These Alpha Kings of the Big Cat world are even bigger than your average Lion.

If only there were more Tigers in the wild instead of in captivity perhaps they would thrive and multiply and only if humans would give them their space and quit taking their land and their food resources then just maybe these awesome cats will have a chance to grow in numbers.

These big cats are smart and extremely intelligent and I think that we can learn so much about our felines by watching their big brothers and sisters in the wild!

Resources:

© 2020 Donna Rayne

Comments

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on September 16, 2020:

Thank you very much!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 11, 2020:

A very well written and well researched article about the Tigers of the World.

I find these wild animals, most fascinating. And, I have been fortunate to see them, in the National parks of India.

Thank You for sharing this wonderful and informative article.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on April 03, 2020:

Thank you, Devika, I noticed that when I first got here and I removed it. But, I thank you for telling me. I'm glad you liked my article.

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 03, 2020:

Hi Donna Rayne firstly I would like to let you know that the video is not available maybe the link is broken. I like tigers you have a well-researched hub on these species.

Big cats such as tigers are beautiful and shouldn't be destroyed by humans intentionally or at all. Rough times can ruin the life of a tiger.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 10, 2020:

Haha, thank you so much, Peggy :) I'm glad you like it!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2020:

It is a shame that the population of tigers in the wild is so decimated. They are magnificent animals. I learned so much by reading your article about them. The one thing that is likely to stick in my mind is the odor of their urine the next time I eat popcorn. Haha!

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 10, 2020:

Yes, they are beautiful and mysterious! I love these big cats. Have a great day and I would love to see some of your drawings of them.

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 08, 2020:

I've always loved drawing and painting these big cats. There is something really intriguing about the facial structure and the stripes.

Blessings,

Denise

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 08, 2020:

Thank you very much, Eiddwen, I look forward to following you too and there is more to come in my Big Cat Series. I'm working on the Bengal Tiger right now :) But, that's our secret shhh...

Eiddwen from Wales on March 07, 2020:

Being a cat lover this very interesting hub on these beautiful big cats was indeed a treat for me. Thank you for sharing Donna and I now look forward to following you on here.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, Manatita, they are very beautiful but deadly!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Thank you so much, JC. Have a super great day!

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

You're welcome Bill and thank you!

Enjoy your day!

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela. I know it happens to a lot of wildlife because man wants their skins, bones, and more to sell and they're worth a lot more dead than alive according to the poachers.

Have a happy day,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Hahaha sorry about that Flourish! That cracked me up! Have a great day!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Yes, it is Lorna and I pray the laws in place to protect all wildlife make a difference and tigers won't be a thing of the past.

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Thank you Umesh, I appreciate that!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 04, 2020:

Oh, that is wonderful news, Rosina! I'm happy to know my articles are helping you and showing you their true beauty!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

manatita44 from london on March 04, 2020:

The swim is impressive! Great to know info. You describe them as charismatic! I dare say you're right but scary too and ferocious by some accounts.

I was looking at the different nations. Yes, they do look different. Beautiful animals but what a great reduction.

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on March 04, 2020:

Donna...excellent article.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 04, 2020:

I always love to learn about stuff like this, so thanks for the informative and interesting article.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 04, 2020:

The tiger are gorgeous and I really enjoyed your article. Poaching also makes me angry as it happens to elephants and so many other anitmals. It is funny that their urine smell like buttered popcorn and that they can tell so much by smelling the urine.

Very good article, Donna!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 04, 2020:

They are simply stunning animals and I cannot fathom people hurting them. So majestic. Thanks to you I will never think of the smell of buttered popcorn quite the same! Oh my!

Lorna Lamon on March 04, 2020:

An excellent and informative article Donna with beautiful photos. It's sad that like many other wonderful animals they are under threat for the reasons you mention. Seeing these incredible animals in the wild may soon be a thing of the past. A really enjoyable read - loved it.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 03, 2020:

Well researched and well compiled article. Good work. Nice reading. Thanks.

Rosina S Khan on March 03, 2020:

A beautiful, informative piece about Tigers of the world. Watching your enthusiasm for these wild creatures, I am also beginning to appreciate them and become a fan of them. I found Tigers scary before but now reading your wonderful hub, my feelings about them are taking a shift. Thank you, Donna, for such a wonderful contribution.

Donna Rayne (author) from Greenwood, In on March 03, 2020:

Thank you all so much, Eric, Ivana and BushraI appreciate all your comments and that you liked my article!

Blessings,

Donna Rayne

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 03, 2020:

We are blessed by you nicely written work here. My son votes for Siberian. I go Indochina. We must love our creatures.

Ivana Divac from Serbia on March 03, 2020:

Thank you for this beautiful article. So informative!

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 03, 2020:

Sometimes Indian tigers cheerfully stroll into Pakistan without so much as a by your leave. Marvelous how animals, birds, and plants couldn't care less for passports and visas!

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