Tigers are the one animal to stand up to a lion with more than a fight. A simple gaze from this beast is said to make the dangerous wild boars scatter. The very word has inspired many tales and stories and the beast has been known to attack the bravest of all kings – Genghis Khan. Treated as god in its surroundings, this adaptable beast is the real king!
Scientific Name: Panthera tigris
Vulnerability : endangered
Size: 2.6 m long
3 1/2 feet at shoulder height
Tigers are the largest of the original cats, the newly one recognised as Liger. The biggest of these is the Siberian Tiger. Each tiger is said to have a different marking on its coat, just like human fingerprints. On the back of both ears, the tiger is known to have white spots which it uses to communicate, flashing them at an enemy to show their anger. The biggest of the tigers are the Siberian Tigers found in the snow-covered forests of China and Russia. The tigers are powerful animals with most of their body made from muscle. They use their extremely long tail to shows signals and balance.
When a female is ready to mate, she sprays roars and grunts over her 1,000 square km range to let a male know. To be friendly they blow air out of the nostril and mouth and gently bite on the neck. About 100 days later, the mother gives birth to as much as four cubs in a den. She tries to do as much as she can to protect the young, without any help from the male, but usually half the litter dies from predators, enemies and starvation.
Tiger cubs are capable killers at eleven months old; this is when the mother starts teaching those skills like hunting, ambush and other skill for self-survival. The cubs stay with the mother for at least two years learning all they can before the mother drives them away so she may mate again. In between the mother is hostile towards any males, except the father of the cubs, and fights with them to protect her cubs. It is not uncommon for a male to kill a female’s entire litter to bring her back into mating season.
The tigers tend to stay in their own range living solitary lives, except on two occasions. Once is when the female is in season and another is when they co-operate, rarely, into killing a huge animal and share the meat. Tigers have no natural threats other than themselves but have been hunted in the past for their pelts and value in the Chinese medicine market. They almost always live in forest. Many tales in the past have been based on the tiger, especially ones on how they killed British soldiers and helped India gain revolution. In some countries they are hunted for money while in others they are worshiped – but even in these countries the tiger is poached.
One very famous tale about a tiger, due to its ambush like killing style is that is you wear a mask on the back of your head a tiger will never attack you as it thinks you are always facing it. Once a tiger becomes accustomed to human flesh, it will almost certainly strike again and again but most man-eating tigers are too old to hunt or live in the Bengal where human are remote but the dead bodies of them are washed down.
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