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Tiger (Panthera tigris) Fact Sheet: Summary

Tiger (Panthera tigris) Fact Sheet

a tiger

Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

 

Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Describer: Linnaeus (1758)

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae - all modern cats

Subfamily: Pantherinae

Genus: Panthera

Species: Panthera tigris - tiger

Subspecies: P. t. altaica - Amur tiger (a.k.a. Siberian tiger)
Subspecies: P. t. amoyensis - South China tiger (possibly extinct in wild)
Subspecies: P. t. balica - Bali tiger (extinct)
Subspecies: P. t. corbetti - Indochinese tiger
Subspecies: P. t. jacksoni - Malayan tiger
Subspecies: P. t. sondaica - Javan tiger (extinct)
Subspecies: P. t. sumatrae - Sumatran tiger
Subspecies: P. t. tigris - Bengal tige
Subspecies: P. t. virgata - Caspian tiger (extinct)

Body Weight:
Males: 100-261 kg (220-575 lb); up to 325 kg (716 lb) in zoos
Females: 75-177 kg (165-390 lb)

Head-Body Length :
Males: 189-300 cm (6.2-9.8 ft)
Females: 146-177 cm (4.8-5.8 ft)

Shoulder Height: 80-100 cm (2.6-3.3 ft)

Tail Length: 72-109 cm (2.4-3.6 ft)

Pelage: Black or brown stripes on a red-orange to golden yellow background.
Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology
Distribution
  • Bengal Tiger - Indian sub-continent (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh)
  • Indochinese Tiger - Indochina (north of Malayan peninsula)
  • Malayan Tiger - Peninsular Malaysia
  • Sumatran Tiger - Island of Sumatra
  • Amur Tiger - Russian Far East (Eastern Russia and NE China)
  • South China Tiger - China/Korea

Habitat: Extremely varied; from tropical rain forest to temperate conifer-deciduous forest.

IUCN (ver. 3.1): All subspecies of conservation concern

  • Endangered
    • Bengal tiger (assessed in 2010)
    • Indochinese tiger(assessed in 2010)
    • Amur tiger(assessed in 2010)
    • Malayan tiger (assessed in 2008)
  • Critically Endangered
    • Sumatran Tiger (assessed in 2008)
    • South China Tiger, possibly extinct in the wild (assessed in 2008)

CITES Status: All species listed on Appendix I

Wild Population: 3,100-3,200 is the generally accepted estimate (as of 2014)

Activity Cycle: Active day and night when not hunted by humans.

Social Groups: Solitary, except for females with cubs. Mating pair forms a  temporary association.

Territoriality: Females hold small, mutually exclusive territories. Males hold territories which include as many female ranges as possible; male ranges do not typically overlap.

Communication: Vocalize and scent mark. Roar, purr, grunt, miaow, woof, growl, and hiss. Also produce a sambar, deer-like call. Scent-mark throughout territorial range. Visual signals used in close proximity; posture, facial expression signal intention.

Diet: Consume large and medium deer, wild pigs, antelope, water buffalo, and wild cattle.

Hunting Behavior: Hunt alone, solitary. Stalk-and-ambush prey. Kill by bite to back of neck or strangulation with a throat bite.

Threats: Humans are the only serious predator. Endangered due to hunting, poaching, and trade in tiger parts. Male tigers will rarely kill cubs. Injury from porcupine quills common. Shortage of prey limits available habitat. Habitat loss/fragmentation critical.
Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity: Males: 4-5 years; females: 3-4 years.

Gestation: Average 103-106 days; range 97-110

Litter Size: 2-3 cubs most often; 1-7 possible

Neonate Weight: 780-1600 g (1.7-3.5 lb)

Age at Weaning: 3-6 months

Longevity: Up to 26 years in managed care and in the wild

Feature Facts

  • Fur appears in a variety of colors, from tan-orange to white, with black stripes
  • Usually found in dense vegetation and close to water
  • Stalk-and-ambush hunters; activity patterns shift with those of their prey
  • Acute sense of hearing
  •  
  • Unlike lions, solitary and roar infrequently
  • Powerful leaping, tree climbing, and swimming abilities
  • In the wild, cubs remain with their mothers for up to two years
  • Tigers and humans compete for the same prey
  • Habitat destruction, persecution, and poaching for trade related to traditional medicine pose key threats to tiger survival


San Diego Zoo Global

  • San Diego Zoo - 3-acre Tiger River rain forest ecosystem opened in 1988. Resident as of July 2013: 1 male, 2 female Malayan tigers (P. t. jacksoni, recently confirmed distinct subspecies by genetic studies).
  • San Diego Zoo's Safari Park - 5-acre Tull Family Tiger Trail opened in May 2014 (forested habitat including ponds, climbing rocks, birthing den for Sumatran tigers).

About This Fact Sheet

© 2015-2018 San Diego Zoo Global. Updated August 2013. Minor updates to Conservation and Managed Care 2017. Subspecies taxonomy updated Oct 2018.

How to cite: Tiger (Panthera tigris) Fact Sheet. c2009-2018. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/tiger.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Jan 15)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org.

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