Welcome to another 10 animal facts, this time it is the turn of the tiger. The true king of the jungle.
1. Big cats
The tiger is the biggest species of the cat family, they can reach a length of up to 3.3 metres (11 feet) and weigh as much as 300 kilograms (660 pounds). That’s a lot bigger than your common house cat and would not be pleasant to have on your lap at all.
2. Ambush or streak
A group of tigers is known as an ‘ambush’ or ‘streak’. Tigers are excellent ambush hunters and they are quick which could be how they got such a group name. Or a group of them were caught streaking.
3. Good swimmers
Unlike other cats, tigers like water and are good swimmers. They can swim up to 6 kilometres. So you know don’t think you can escape one by swimming away.
4. Faster than a bolt
Tigers have been known to reach speeds up to 65 kph or 40 mph. For comparison Usain Bolt has reached a top speed of 30 mph when he set a world record of 9.58 seconds for the 100m race in Berlin in 2009. You’re not going to outrun a tiger over a short distance then.
They can run, they can swim, and they can jump. Tigers can jump 5 metres (16 feet) vertically or jump a distance of 6 metres (19 feet). Still that doesn’t beat the world record long jump which stands at 8.95 metres (29.25 feet). Take that tigers.
The roar of a Bengal tiger can carry for over 2km at night. It’s quieter at night which is why it carries further, still it must be a scary sound to hear if it is that loud.
7. No two tigers are the same
No two have exactly the same stripes, much like human fingerprints the stripes on each tiger are unique. Which is useful if you keep multiple tigers and want to be able to tell them apart.
“This one is Daisy and that one in the corner with the ‘Z’ stripe in the middle is Tabitha”.
8. Importance of teeth
Tigers rely heavily on their powerful teeth for survival. If a tiger loses its canines (tearing teeth) through injury or old age, it can no longer kill and is likely to starve to death. If one species was in desperate need of dentistry then it would be tigers.
9. More tigers held in private
There are more tigers held privately as pets than there are left in the wild. I suppose the good news is that there are some left?
10. Very few in the wild
There are as few as 3,200 tigers that exist in the wild today.
To break it down by type:
Bengal tiger: Less than 2,000
Indochinese tiger: 750-1,300
Siberian tiger: Around 450
Sumatran tiger: 400-500
Malayan tiger: 600-800
South Chinese tiger: Extinct in the wild
Caspian tiger: Extinct
Javan tiger: Extinct
Bali tiger: Extinct
So that’s three totally extinct, one extinct in the wild, and five shockingly close to the brink of extinction in the wild. Not a happy thought.