How tigers ingest their food
Tiger - Full Version (text is read out)
Occurrence and habitat
The tiger is the largest of the living big cats.
Overall, one differentiates eight subspeciesthat differ in size, weight, coat color and pattern.
Three of these tiger races - the Bali tiger, the Java tiger and the Caspian tiger - are already extinct.
The five other species, the Bengal tiger or Bengal tiger, the Sumatran tiger, the Siberian tiger, the Indochina tiger and the South China tiger are also critically endangered and are under strict protection.
The largest subspecies and therefore also the largest living wild cat is the Siberian tiger.
Today tigers only live in about seven percent of their original range, and there are now more tigers in the zoological gardens than in the wild.
These big cats were once widespread west of India in the Middle East and Central Asia to eastern Turkey.
Today they only live in India, Siberia, Indochina, southern China and on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Depending on their range, tigers occur in very different habitats.
They are primarily forest animals and seek cover in the undergrowth.
Depending on the region, they live in tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous forests or coniferous forests and avoid open terrain.
There are often lakes or rivers in a tiger's territory, as tigers drink a lot of water and also like to swim frequently.
For their survival, the tigers need a habitat with dense vegetation, sufficient prey and proximity to water.
Appearance and build
Depending on the subspecies, tigers reach a length of 1 meter to 2.90 meters and a weight of 100 to 300 kg.
The females are slightly smaller and weigh less than the males.
The smallest tiger are the Sumatran tigers that live in Indonesia.
The largest and heaviest subspecies is the Siberian tiger, which has a head body length of 2 m or more, a 90 cm long tail and a weight of up to 300 kg (males).
The basic color of the eye-catching fur varies between golden yellow, ocher tones and red-orange, depending on the subspecies. On the underside, the fur of all tiger species is white.
The fur on the inside of the legs and around the eyes is also completely white.
The pattern from the dark black horizontal stripes is very different. It stretches from the head over the whole body to the tip of the tail.
This striped pattern is also found on the legs. In the northern subspecies of the tiger, the stripes are usually larger and lighter in color than in the tropical subspecies.
Most tigers have short-haired fur. Only with the Siberian tigers is it thicker and longer-haired because of the cold climate.
Tigers have five sharp, sickle-like, retractable claws on their paws that can reach a length of 10 cm.
Your typical Predator teeth, has short incisors and extremely long and strong canines.
The tiger features long sensitive whiskers on his head, which are particularly important when the tigers stalk a victim at night.
All of the tiger's senses are very well developed. His sense of hearing and smell are particularly well developed. His eyesight is many times better than that of humans.
Lifestyle and diet
The tiger is a predominantly nocturnal big cat. During the day it often stays in the shade and cools off in the water.
He usually lives as a loner and marks his territory with urine and scratch marks.
The territories of the females are usually much smaller than those of the males.
Tigers can climb very well, but they also move very light-footed on the ground.
If they chase their prey they are capable of a quick gallop.
The tigers feed on fresh meat and spend a lot of time hunting for prey.
They mainly hunt large mammals such as cattle, deer or wild boar.
They sneak as close as possible to their victims, only to overwhelm them after a jump or a short quick run.
When the tiger gets close enough to its prey, it jumps at it from behind with a tremendous leap to knock its canine teeth into its neck. He stands with his hind legs firmly on the ground to push his victim down.
The tiger kills smaller prey by biting the neck or paw, while the larger animals are killed by a throat bite.
Because tigers drink a lot of water, they often drag their prey near a watering hole. Here they cover their prey and guard it in order to drive away other prey animals.
They only attack humans when there is a severe lack of food.
Tigers are sexually mature from the age of four, the females reach sexual maturity a little earlier than the males.
A male and female only stay together for a few days to mate.
After a gestation period of 102 to 105 days, the female gives birth to two to five young, depending on the subspecies, which are initially blind at birth.
They are raised by the female alone and suckled in the first 6 months, but after the second month they also eat meat.
After six months, the young tigers increasingly go hunting with their mother.
They stay with their mother until around the age of four, after which they go their own way.
Female tigers therefore only mate every 3 to 5 years, as they need the time in between to raise their offspring.
In the wild, tigers rarely live to be more than 25 years old, with most of them dying between the ages of 17 and 21.
Tigers have no natural enemies other than humans.
They have been largely wiped out due to unrestricted hunting and poaching in the last century, the destruction of their habitat and the associated decline in their prey.
By the Washington Convention on Endangered Species, which came into force in 1973, the trade in big cat skins was at least officially ended, and the hunt for big cats fell sharply.
These and other protective provisions have so far been able to save the tigers from their ultimate extinction.
But since the tigers cannot find enough game for food, they sometimes become cattle robbers and in individual cases they attack people. As a result, the affected population does not see why the tigers should be protected.
And tigers are still being killed illegally for their beautiful fur.
Some parts of the animal's body are used in traditional Chinese folk medicine and some of them are sold at top prices.
Today India is home to most of the wild tigers.
Through various protection programs, the populations in India have recovered to such an extent that several thousand tigers are living here again.
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