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why a tiger has stripes

Tiger stripes aren't just decoration or a warning, but camouflage, as this image shows.


back to Tiger main


Tigers are the biggest members of the cat family. While Lions are stronger and more ferocious, tigers are the biggest in size and weight, with a shoulder height of about 1 meter, a length of about 2.2 meters - not measuring the tail which is also about 1 meter long. Some tigers may be as big as 4 meters including tail. They weigh between 160-230 kg and may live up to 11 years.

The most common tiger is the Bengal Tiger, which lives in the area of India and surrounding nations. Bengal Tigers make up about half of all tiger population on earth, but tigers also inhabit other areas, for example Indo-China, in Sumatra, Java and Bali, and they even live in colder climates, such as the Siberian Tiger, whose fur is accordingly brighter. There are occasionally white tigers, which do not even have stripes (albinos) and white tigers, which do not have any darker fur, but retain the stripes, they are a rare genetic mutation. There are also black tigers, but those are extremely rare.

There are supposedly about 3200 tigers left in the world, which makes them a endangered species, particularly in the wild. More than half of all remaining tigers live in captivity.

white tiger

So-called White Tigers aren't actually white, as they retain their stripes, they actually look more like they have been bleached.

While they live in environments where temperatures range from -40 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius, they do not seem to enjoy extreme heat, why interestingly they are among the rare cats, which not only enjoy taking a bath in water, but are even excellent swimmers.

Tigers usually prey on large animals, such as deer and big wild pigs, yet they also enjoy Porcupine despite the challenge that Porcupines’ quills pose. Rarely do Tigers attack really large animals such as Elephants and Buffalo, and they also prey on domestic cattle, which can become a problem for the herders. Tigers are infamous for attacking and eating humans, but normally a fully healthy tiger will seek more attractive (and faster) prey. In fact many more tigers have been murdered by humans than vice-versa, usually as a trophy or a show of the prowess of the hunter, ending up as carpets or clothes for humans. While tiger hunting is forbidden nowadays, as is the trade of tiger furs, poaching is still common.

When it comes to eating, tigers are very economic, because after their feast, they hide the remaining carcass from carrion eaters, so they may come back for a second meal. Tiger hunting skills are only partly instinct, while a lot of their skills depends from learning from their parents and elders. This is why no tiger raised in captivity would be able to survive in the wild.

Standing at the top of the food chain, tigers balance the populations of both their prey animals and also of lesser predators, whom they sometimes employ to hunt for them.

Tigers are solitary beings and males will maintain a territory, which they mark with urine, feces and a special scent secreted from anal glands, as well as scrapings. If a tiger’s territory is challenged, he will vocally insist on his claims and may fight to the death if necessary should the invader not comply.

black tiger

Black Tigers are extremely rare.


As the fiercest animal in their habitat, tigers have always inspired a special fascination with humans. They have been worshipped as godlike creatures or as the symbols for kings and princes. In Hindu mythology the tiger is associated with the goddess Durga and in China they are one of the animals of the animal zodiac. (Chinese: 虎 hǔ)

People born in the year of the tiger are considered to be courageous, confident and adventurous, they are also said to have a strong sense of justice and to stand up for the weak. But the downside of their personality is, that they may be rebellious, overconfident and overly emotional, following their wild impulses now and then.

The year of the tiger is generally considered a lucky year, but also a year of surprises and sudden changes. It’s a year when everything is possible.


Size: 2.2m
Weight: 160-230kg
Lifespan: 11 years

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