Tigers are magnificent animals, although sadly endangered. Although many people know they are large, stripey cats who are carnivorous, here are 10 facts you didn’t know before about the wonderful animals.
1. The black markings on a tiger’s forehead look almost exactly the same as the Chinese character for “King”.
2. Tiger’s urine smells like buttered popcorn.
3. Tigers do not roar at humans or any other prey. They roar to communicate with far away tigers who might hear them. If a tiger is going to attack you, it won’t roar. It will hiss and fuff.
4. Tigers are the largest of all cat species.
5. A tiger’s skeleton looks so similar to a Lion’s skeleton that even experts have trouble telling them apart.
6. As with most domestic cats, a tiger’s skin is the same colour as the fur it is under, so a shaved tiger would have black and brown-orange stripes on its skin.
7. Tigers love to swim, and will often do so to catch turtles, fish, and other prey.
8. Tiger penises do not grow in size when aroused. They have barbs on their penises to help keep them from falling out during brief copulation.
9. Tigers prefer to hunt larger prey by ambush. This means that if it thinks you are looking at it, a tiger is less likely to attack. In india, some people take to wearing face masks on the back of their heads to prevent tigers from pouncing from behind.
10. Tigers cannot purr. A happy tiger will instead squint or close its eyes without sleeping.
A South China Tiger with kill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
11. A tiger’s stripes are unique, like human fingerprints.
12. Tigers mark their territory by urinating and scratching tree trunks. An easy way to tell that you are in a tiger’s area is to see large scratches and smell popcorn.
13. There are 9 subspecies of tiger alive today, and 3 recently extinct species (extinct in the last 80 years).
14. Tigers have such strong and well-built legs that even when dead they remain standing.
15. Tiger teeth can grow to 10cm long and can bite through bones with ease.
16. Tigers are not nocturnal (active at night) or diurnal (active at day). They are crepuscular (active at dawn and evening only).
17. Tigers have anticeptic saliva. When they lick their wounds they are also disinfecting them.
18. Like all cats, tigers can comfortably go for days without eating. However, due to their size, they starve more quickly, after only a few weeks.
19. Unlike house cats, tigers have round pupils and see in colour just like humans do. Even so, their night vision is 6 time better than humans’.
20. Tigers are born completely blind. Their eyes do not work until they are a few days old.