Tiger Panthera tigris
Size1.46–2.9m (with large variations, according to the sub-species)
Weight100–150kg (Sumatran tiger), 180–300kg (Siberian tiger)
Birth2–3 on average (birth weight: 780–1,600g)
Life-spanup to 25 years in zoos
carnivorous (deer, wild pigs…)
Asia (Russian Far-East, India, Vietnam, China, Sumatra)
tropical forest, mangroves, conifer forests, deciduous forests
Of the 8 tiger sub-species, only 5 survive in the wild: the Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, Indochinese tiger, Sumatran tiger and South China tiger. There are significant differences in their size and colouring: tigers from South-East Asia generally have darker coats with more stripes than those from more northerly regions. Their fur is quite short except in the case of the Siberian tiger in winter, when its hair is long and thick.
The tiger is the largest feline and the only one with a striped coat. The number and arrangement of these are unique to individuals, rather like human fingerprints. Unlike most other wildcats, tigers like water and are good swimmers. In tropical climates, they like cooling off in it.
Fearsome predators, tigers hunt between dusk and dawn. Their powerful jaws give them a fatal bite, although not all attacks are successful. They bite smaller prey on the back of the neck, thus breaking their vertebrae and spinal cord. They bite larger prey on the throat and then suffocate them. Tigers generally only attack people when they are sick or injured and unable to hunt their normal prey.
Hunting for the illegal trade in skins, bones and their derivatives constitutes the main danger to tigers. The 5 sub-species are equally endangered by the destruction of their habit, the dwindling of their prey and conflicts with humans. The total tiger population is estimated at less than 4,000 in the wild.
Status in the wild (Source: IUCN)
- Not evaluatedNE
- Data deficientDD
- Least concernLC
- Near threatenedNT
- Critically endangeredCR
- Extinct in the wildEW