Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora

Conservation Status



16 – 18 years


Male: 90 – 310 kg (Adult), Female: 65 – 170 kg (Adult)


  • The tiger is the largest cat in the world.
    • Siberian tigers can reach up to 3.9 m and weigh up to 300 kg. Males are about 70% heavier than females.
    • The Sumatran tiger, is just about 70 to 140 Kg.
    • This is partly explained by Bergmann’s law, which says animals in colder climates grow larger than animals than animals in warm climates. This is partly due to thermoregulation. It’s easier for a big boy to retain heat warm than a skinny boy. This is because big boys have a smaller surface-to-mass ratio, so they radiate heat more slowly.
  • It feeds mostly on ungulates like deer and bovines. But they will also eat anything they can catch, including predators such as sloth bears, snakes, and crocs.
  • It is a mostly solitary animal.
  • It is an endangered species and has lost 50% of its range in the past 3 generations.
  • It’s native to some of the world most densely populated areas (South and Southeast Asia). rDuring their prime, they were common across all of Asia, from the Pacific to the Black sea. But today, they only exist in relatively small, patchy populations.



  • Some notes on their evolution:
    • Despite their size, the tiger’s closest relative is the snow leopard. Their last common ancestor lived about 2.8 million years ago. Their ancestor lived somewhere in Asia, but then tigers established themselves in the forests of the south of Asia, and snow leopards moved to the colder and more mountainous Central Asia.
    • After the snow leopard, their closest relatives are the jaguar, lion leopard. Their last common ancestor live about 3.7 million years ago.
    • These, along with the clouded leopard, are the members of the Panthera family. They’re the dominant species in their ecosystems and have incompletely ossified hyoid bones, which allow them to roar. No other cat species can roar.
    • Their roar can be heard up to 3 km away.
    • Their bones are very similar though and it’s very hard, even for experts, to tell the skulls of a lion and tiger apart.
    • 73,000 years ago they almost went extinct due to the massive Toba volcanic eruptions, which eliminated several mammals species in Asia. Only a small group of tigers survived, and they repopulated the continent.  But there was a population bottleneck that cost them a lot of genetic diversity.
    • Today there are 7 different subspecies. They’re different sizes as they’ve adapted to their environment and available prey.
  • You would think that being orange with black stripes is a bad, but their camouflage is really good for environments with a lot of vertical lines, such as tall grass. Also, they may look orange to us, but bovines can see fewer colours than us. To them, tigers are hard to spot in the grass.
    • Side note. It’s still unknown why spots and rosettes(like leopards and jaguars) are more common than stripes among big cats
  • The tiger has white spot in the back of its ear. This is a fake eyespot and it’s believed to be used for intraspecies communication.
  • They can mate year-round. Gestation is about 3 to 4 months. Babies are born weighing about 1 Kg. Moms lactate for up to 6 months. Males will kill babies to make females receptive again. About 50% of babies die within the first 2 years.



  • Tigers like to live in areas with dense vegetation and close to water.
  • The live mostly solitary lives and maintain huge ranges. Male and female ranges overlap.
  • They like to stay cool by jumping in ponds. They’ re very good swimmers and can swim up to 7 km at a time, or 29 km in a day.
  • Males initially try to establish territory near their mom. But eventually they can travel vast distances to make a new territory far away from home. To do this they have to find an area without other tigers, or challenge an older male for territory.  This is the most dangerous times in a tiger’s life.
  • After they find a range, they mark it with urine and anal gland secretions. 
  • Contrary to other species of big cats, tigers seem to be willing to share their catches with others, and sometimes even let cubs eat before they’ve had their fill.
  • Besides roaring, tigers use other vocal communications such as chuffing, moaning, hissing, growling, and meowing. 
  • There are man-eater tigers, but they’re usually older tigers who are too old to catch other animals. We’re the easiest thing to catch out there.
    • The exception is the sundarbans. This is a coastal forest at the border of India and Bangladesh. Healthy tiger hunt people, and up to 50 people are killed every year.
  • Their preferred method if killing is biting down on the throat and letting their prey die of asphyxiation. This method allows them to kill prey of up to 1 ton (water buffalos). No other predator can catch animals that big.
  • They can go up to 2 weeks without food, and then can gorge themselves by eating over 30 kg of meat.
  • Most tigers, eat their own catch, but during rough times they’re known to steal prey from other smaller predators such as hyenas and leopards. 


Quick Facts

  • Tigers can be bred with lions and create infertile offspring. When it’s a male lion and a female tiger, they create a liger. These guys are huge and can grow up to 3.5 m and weigh 450 kg. When it’s a male tiger and a female lion it’s called a tigon. But they’re not as big as the liger.
    • This is because male lions have a growth-promoting gene and lionesses have a growth-inhibiting gene. In the absence of the lioness’ gene, the male lion’s offspring grows a lot.
    • As a side note, although hybrids are cool. They’re completely useless in terms of conservation and some people even consider them unethical.
  • They have the longest fangs among all big cats: 9 cm (3.5 inches)
  • Some bengal tigers have a recessive gene that makes them white. For a kitty to be born white, both parents must be white.
    • Because of this, zoos have done a lot of inbreeding to get white tigers, and the effects are starting to show.
  • As usual, one of the main reasons for their disappearance is because they’re used in traditional medicine.
  • There are about 3,000 wild tigers left. The average attendance of the New York Yankees is 43,000. So when you’re there, there are 12 times more people around you than there are wild tigers in the entire world.