Wildlife: Look into the Eyes of the Tiger; They don’t like losing the element of Surprise
If you ever encounter a tiger in the wild (or if you do one in your dreams :-)), look in the eyes and slowly back far, far away while keeping eye contact with him and he is less likely to kill you. Chances are you’re in his territory and he wants you to leave more than he wants to eat you. Tigers prefer to hunt by ambush, so by looking a tiger in the eyes you are showing him you know he is there. Now he has lost the element of surprise, and will most likely go find something else to feast on.
In 1986, many villagers from the Sundarbans (India), tried wearing human masks on the back of their heads, when out walking, to prevent being attacked by tigers from behind. (The masks worked initially until the tigers figured out the trick)
I hope you loved what you read 🙂 Here are some more very interesting facts about tigers which should pretty much everything you want to know about Tigers:
- Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength. They weigh up to 300 kgs (700 pounds).
- A backhand from a tiger can kill you. While tigers prefer to use their massive teeth to crush their victim’s neck, a single strike is enough to do the job. One swipe from a tiger’s front paw is strong enough to smash a bear’s skull and even break its spine.
- The largest subspecies, the Siberian tiger, grows to over 3.5m long with a mass of over 300kg. The smallest subspecies, the Sumatran tiger, is only around 2m long and 100kg when fully-grown.
- A tiger’s legs are so powerful that they can remain standing even when dead
- The tiger is capable of killing animals over twice its size; it is one of nature’s most feared predators.
- Tigers can leap distances of over 6m, and jump up to 5m vertically
- Today, there are only five subspecies of tiger: Bengal, South China, Indochinese, Sumatran and Siberian. Sadly, three subspecies of tiger have become extinct – Caspian, Bali and Javan
- The Balinese tiger was purposely hunted to extinction…Due to the Balinese cultural belief that tigers represent evil and destruction. Above is one of the only known photographs of a Balinese tiger.
- Like its ancestor, the sabre-tooth cat, the tiger relies heavily on its powerful teeth for survival. If it loses its canines (tearing teeth) through injury or old age, it can no longer kill and is likely to starve to death.
- Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories (up to 100sq km in size) to keep their rivals away.
- Every tiger in the world is unique – no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
- They are powerful nocturnal hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. A Bengal tiger can eat 21kg of meat in a night and can kill the equivalent of 30 buffaloes a year.
- The roar of a Bengal tiger can carry for over 2km at night.
- They may be big and heavy, but tigers are by no means slow movers. In fact, at full speed they can reach up to 65km/h!
- Although tigers are powerful and fast over short distances, the Bengal tiger cannot outrun fleet footed prey such as deer. Instead it uses stealth to catch its victims; attacking from the side or the rear.
- Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage.
- If the kill is large, the tiger may drag the remains to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves, then return to it later.
- As well as game animals, it preys on wild boar, monkeys, lizards and occasionally porcupines.
- Females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are 18 months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, when they disperse to find their own territory.
- Unlike other cats, tigers are good swimmers and often cool off in lakes and streams during the heat of the day.
- Tigers are completely blind for the first week of their life. About half do not survive to adulthood
- The white spot on the back of their ears is called an ocelli
- Tigers have antiseptic saliva
- The tiger’s tongue is covered with numerous small, sharp, rear-facing projections called papillae. These papillae gives the tongue is rough, rasping texture and is designed to help strip the skin, feathers, fur and meat right off its prey.
- Tigers have eyes with round pupils, unlike domestic cats, which have slitted pupils. Tigers’ night vision is about six times better than humans
- Most tigers have yellow eyes, but white tigers usually have blue eyes, due to the gene for blue eyes being linked to the gene for white fur. The gene for being cross-eyed, or boss-eyed, is also linked, so many white tigers have crossed blue eyes.
- The markings on a tiger’s forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for king, giving tigers a cultural status as a regal animal.
- Just like house cats, the markings on a tiger’s fur are also found on their skin, so even a shaved tiger would still show its stripes.
- Tigers cannot purr. To show happiness, tigers squint or close their eyes. This is because losing vision lowers defense, so tigers (and many other cats) only purposefully do so when they feel comfortable and safe.
- Tigers are solitary creatures and it actually fairly rare to see them group together in the wild. The exception to this, of course, is a mother and her cubs.
- A group of tigers is called an ambush or a streak
- Tigers scratch trees and use their urine to mark their territories. Their urine smells strongly of buttered popcorn.
- Tigers can tell the age, gender, and reproductive condition of other tigers by subtleties in the smell of urine markings.
- Male tigers have larger territories than females, so that the areas overlap and the tigers can mate. Adult female territories generally never overlap with those of other adult females, and adult male territories do not overlap with those of other adult males.
- Tigers do not normally roar at other animals, but instead they roar to communicate with far-off tigers. A tiger about to attack will therefore not roar, but might hiss and fuff instead.
- They’re nicer than lions. Unlike lions, who would fight to the death over a kill, when a tiger crosses paths with another tiger while hunting, they often share the meal together. Also, when several tigers are present at a kill, the males will wait for females and cubs to eat first, again, unlike lions, which do the opposite. Tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and simply wait turns.
- Tigers have very diverse diets.Tigers feed on deer antelope, wild boar, and buffalo. But did you know they also eat a variety of birds, fish, rodents, small elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, and even leopards
- Tigers do not normally view humans as prey.Tigers will only attack a human if they feel threatened. Or if they’re really really hungry. If you were to ever encounter a tiger in the wild, slowly back far, far away while keeping eye contact with him. Chances are you’re in his territory and he wants you to leave more than he wants to eat you.
- A small number of tigers develop a taste for human flesh and become man-eaters. One tigress defended her cubs against unwitting humans and subsequently began preying on humans almost exclusively. She is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 430 people.
- Due to their instinctive ambush hunting, even man-eating tigers do not directly enter human settlements, but stay near the outskirts and attack solitary people. They tend to hunt at night when humans are less able to see them sneak up.
- Only one in ten tiger hunts are successful, so tigers typically go several days without eating before gorging themselves on over 30kg of meat after a triumphant hunt.
- Although tigers can comfortably fast for several days, they starve more quickly than other animals due to their immense size. A tiger will starve to death in only two or three weeks, whereas humans take 30-40 days.
- Tigers are very adaptable in their hunting techniques. Although they prefer to kill by attacking the neck, they do not do so when they recognize it is inappropriate. A large crocodile might bite down on a swimming tiger, which will immediately blind the reptile by striking it in the eyes. A crocodile’s neck is covered with thick amored skin, so the tiger will instead flip the animal over and eviscerate its soft belly.
- Tigers have been known to imitate the call of other animals to successfully attract prey…
- Tigers have a brain that weighs over 300g…It is the 2nd largest brain of all carnivores, the largest being the brain of a polar bear.
- Tigers are adept swimmers. Unlike almost all other big cats, they enjoy bathing and often play in the water. As adults, they often swim several kilometers to hunt or to cross rivers. The only other big cat that doesn’t mind getting wet is the black panther. However, they don’t seek out water or play in the water like tigers do.
- Unlike many other animals, tigers do not drink water by lapping it up on the top of their tongue, due to their tongue bristles. Instead, they cup the back of their tongue to flick water droplets into the air, which they then close their mouth over.
- Tigers live for about 25 years both in captivity and in the wild
- Tigresses are fertile for a period of only four or five days throughout the entire year. During this time, they mate frequently. They are pregnant for a little over three months, and usually give birth to two or three cubs.
- Tiger’s genital organ do not become erect when aroused. Instead, they contain a bone (called a baculum) and are covered with barbs which help maintain connection during copulation.
- They have an amazing short term memory. Cats in general have been found to have a better memory than any other animal, including humans, being several hundred times better than dogs and dozens of times better than primates. Tigers’ short-term memory alone lasts about thirty times longer than humans’, and their memories are made with stronger brain synapses, meaning that they can remember more and do not forget things as easily as we do.
- There are a greater number of tigers in captivity in the US alone than there are wild tigers left on earth
- The white tiger has become even rarer in the wild due to trophy hunting or capture for the exotic pet trade. There have been no recorded sightings of these elusive predators in the wild for the past 50 years. Today, the white tiger can still be found in a handful of zoos and animal sanctuaries.
- It has been estimated that all the last remaining subspecies of tigers could become extinct in the wild in as little as 15 years. We have lost 97% of the wild tiger population in the last century, and numbers continue to get lower. India being the only exception of where tiger population continues to grow (1411 in 2006 and 2226 in 2014)
- These fierce felines have walked the earth for a long time. Fossil remains of tigers found in parts of China are believed to be 2 million years old.
- Less than 100 years ago, tigers could be found throughout Asia. Sadly, hunting and habitat loss have put populations at risk, and today their range has been reduced to around 7% of its former size. That’s why we need to do all we can to protect these beautiful beasts!
- In China, poaching tigers or using them for traditional medicine has been illegal for many years and is punishable with death. In traditional medicine, there are many more potent and easily available medicines than tiger parts, which were historically used more for their exotic status than for any purported medicinal properties.
- It is a common misconception that various tiger parts are used in traditional medicines chiefly as expensive aphrodisiacs. They are actually considered mostly to be treatments for arthritis and digestive problems in traditional medicines. In modern times, the misconception is gradually starting to lead to their use as said aphrodisiacs.
- Unfortunately, tigers are still poached in some areas of Southeast Asia for consumption in traditional medicines, especially in Laos and Cambodia.
- Tigers can mate with lions and other cats in captivity to produce hybrids. Through genetics, male lions normally try to make their offspring as large as possible, but are counteracted by female lions, who make offspring smaller. Tigers have no such controls, so a male lion and a female tiger produce enormous offspring, ligers, whereas a female lion and a male tiger produce the much smaller tiglon.
- Tigers can produce sterile offspring with cats other than lions. Leopards and tigers interact in the wild and sometimes naturally produce offspring. These are slightly smaller than tigers and have stripes that break up along their lengths into clusters of spots.
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