Biology

6 facts about tigers that might surprise you

The tigers are very rare animals to see in nature today , because the activities of man have limited their territory because they have been hunted excessively. There are believed to be more tigers in US zoos and sanctuaries alone than in the wild in the rest of the world. In this post we tell you much more information about the tiger.

General characteristics

The tiger ( Panthera tigris ) is the largest species of felidae and the most recognizable, due to the unique pattern of its skin with dark vertical stripes on a reddish-orange background. Within the genus Panthera sp. there are also the lion, the leopard, the jaguar and the snow leopard .

facts about tigers
facts about tigers

They are territorial and generally solitary animals, requiring large hunting areas. In general, each sub-species is endemic to certain regions (it only lives in special areas), which together with the belief that whoever kills it receives its strength, that it serves as medicine or because of the beauty of its skins, has led them to extinction limit.

Tiger subspecies and threats

There are 6 subspecies of tigers:

  • The Bengal tiger is the most exhibited in zoos, which does not exempt it from being in danger of extinction along with the other six subspecies, which are also less numerous.
  • The Malayan tiger is the smallest of them all and lives on the Malaysian peninsula.
  • The Indochinese tiger lives in the ancient area of ​​Indochina (South China, Vietnam …) and is highly threatened by hunting for traditional Chinese medicine.
  • The Siberian tiger is the largest of all but it is also seriously threatened by inbreeding problems caused by its small population.
  • The South China tiger, along with the Siberian tiger, is one of the most threatened and its population is expected to last no more than 10 years.
  • The Sumatran tiger is another subspecies with a very pessimistic future. His face is hairier than the rest and his size is also small.

Tiger stripes

Scientists speculate that tiger stripes are an evolutionary adaptation to the environment and that their objective is to serve as camouflage to go unnoticed; They are like human fingerprints , no tiger will have the same stripe pattern. The Sumatran tiger is the one with the largest number of stripes of all the subspecies and the Siberian is the one with the smallest.

Tiger prey

While tigers often hunt ungulates such as deer and bovidae, they are also capable of fishing and trapping small mammals and birds. In fact, the tiger is the only one of the felines that bathes and even plays in the water, unlike the others, who tend to show a singular aversion to getting wet.

Unlike lions, who would fight to the death for prey and are the first to taste it, when one tiger crosses another during the hunt, they often share food together and if there are several tigers together, the males will wait for it. females and cubs eat first.

Sight and jumps

Tigers have keen night vision and are able to distinguish some colors, but the most important thing is that their sight is so precise, that combined with the strength of their musculature and their enormous height (they can surpass the meter twenty to the withers) they are capable of making the second largest jumps among mammals (only surpassed by those of the puma), reaching lengths of up to 10 meters and at the same time catching prey.

Balinese tiger

This species ( Panthera tigris balica ) has been considered extinct since 1937 and owes its disappearance to the belief that these tigers were evil and predatory beings. In fact, its sport hunting was encouraged and eventually it was hunted down to the end of the species.

White tigers

Thanks to a modification of the genes that only occurs among the subspecies of the Bengal tigers ( Panthera tigris tigris ), which is also the most numerous and despite that is in danger of extinction (barely 1,400 specimens of wildlife).

The reddish part of the skin has a creamy white tone, due to the lack of phelomelanin , although the stripes follow the same patterns as their congeners. It has blue eyes, its nose is pink and it is not just another species, but a genetic variation (a form of albinism) of which there are only 200 specimens.

The inbreeding (cross between close relatives) makes pups born with very short legs (genetically retraction of tendons), kidney problems or twisted neck. Interestingly, all white tigers present strabismus (crossed eyes), if they feel confused or stressed.

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