Yes, tigers do not belong to the warm climatic countries though they are found in the hot jungles of India and Indonesia. There are many evidences that tigers are unique amongst all cats with many features that make them stand out. Here are a few.
Researches show that the forbearers of tigers, the sabertooths or smiledons flourished just before the great ice age, and they did well even during the ice age. So, centuries of evolution has encouraged them to be the mammals of the nippy age.
Coming to the present-age tigers, they are believed to have appeared initially in the place which is now European part of Russia. They are also believed to have spread their reigns towards the eastern, southern and southeastern areas. They settled all over Asia before their only deadly competition – humans – wiped them out of most of their natural habitats.
So, their origin is the place which is chillier than most parts of Asia. Till today, the members of Panthera Tigris display many characteristics that animals of cold regions must have as a mandatory survival strategy.
In picture: Tiger resting in the shade of a bamboo bush at noon.
Here are a few morphological (physical) adaptations that tigers never let go:
- They are active in colder temperatures. Therefore, they hunt mostly in the dusk and darkness of the night. One fact is that they can get closer to the prey in the dark, but still, they show total discomfort hunting while the sun is on top of their heads.
- On sunny times of the day, they just laze around in some shade. They spend the hot periods sleeping.
- They love water. Possibly the only second cat species (after fishing cats) that love to play in water. Fishing cats are forced to be around water, as they cannot find fish on dry ground! Most cats, including the big cats hate the thought of getting wet.
- Their love of water is there to keep them cool. Even tigers do not appreciate water being splashed on their faces. Try and follow a tiger, and you would notice that if the water is turbulent, it would enter with its hind legs first followed by the forelegs and lastly the face.
- If a tiger walks for long in hot ground, its feet pads get swollen. It has to lie and cool down before the pads could return to normalcy.
- When the times are hot, even the naughtiest cubs do not play tag (normally their favorite game) until the air cools down.
- They get irritated soon in warmer climates and maintain really cool-heads during winter and colder climates.
- Tigers love to play with snow, because they know that this would keep them cooler.
- Even the tigers in hottest areas are loaded with lots of fur, which is designed to keep off chillness.
- The body temperature of the tigers tends to increase quickly by absorbing the heat in the air, and the heat retention is also very good, which is most required by the animals of the cold regions.
Next time, while visiting tigers, please check out other features that prove them to be from the tundra zones.