Tigers are amazing kitties! They’re one of the most beautiful and majestic animals on the planet. Famed for their orange stripes, their fearsome claws, and their ear-shattering roar, these colossal cats are undisputed rulers of their domain.
Surviving on their strength and cunning, they stalk the earth alone. Their size and speed are more than enough to take down any prey of their choosing. They are masters of the sneak attack, and ferocious enough to capitalize on any weakness in their prey.
And, although they’re terrifying, I’m sure we’ve all thought about stroking one. It’s a terrible idea – a tiger is also one of the most lethal animals on the planet! But, despite their deadly reputation, it’s hard not to see a scaled up version of our domestic cats when you look at a tiger.
They’re so similar in so many ways! However, the tiger’s sheer scale alone sets it apart from not just our own cats, but any other feline. And, of course, a tiger doesn’t have someone buying pouches of cat food!
Tigers are amazing, and there’s so much to learn about them. Here are some of the most interesting facts about tigers – some of them may surprise you!
Top 15 Interesting Facts About Tigers
When it comes to the big kitties, the tiger is the biggest. Fully grown tigers are absolutely huge! Adult males can grow from between 8.2 to 12.8 feet (250 to 390cm) long. That means that if one stood up straight, it would almost certainly be taller than you – probably nearly twice as tall!
Male tigers are larger than female – but that doesn’t mean that females are small. Adult female tigers can grow from 6.5 feet to 9 feet (200 to 275 cm) long. Walking as they normally do, a tiger can be nearly 4 feet tall from paw to shoulder!
Even their tails are big, being on average between 24 and 43 inches (60 to 100 cm) long. That means that their tail alone is as big as a house cat!
Of course, you can’t be the biggest without being heavy too – and tigers are VERY heavy kitties! They can weigh up to 660lb (300kg) – that’s insane. That means they can easily be heavier than 3 or 4 people together! It’s scary to think of how something so absolutely huge can move so fast.
They don’t eat often – usually only about once per week – but when they eat, they eat big! A tiger is so big and heavy that anything it hunts is in real trouble – and it can easily kill an animal big enough to give it enough food to last a week or so.
All that size and weight has to be useful for something. And, indeed, it is – tigers are immensely strong animals! Their bite force alone is close to 10 times the strength of a humans. This lets them bite into their prey with their colossal fangs with ease.
If you were unlucky enough to be hit by a tiger’s paw – sorry to say, it’s probably game over! Not only are their claws deadly, they can just plain hit hard enough to do damage to animals like bears – so a human just doesn’t stand a chance!
There are actually surprisingly few crocodiles left in the wild. It’s actually a really small number – only around 3900 wild tigers are thought to exist. That’s in the whole world! Such a famous animal, that surely we all recognize, and yet there are so few of them.
There used to be more of them, but humans have changed the world so much that there aren’t as many places for tigers to live anymore. They used to live wild in many countries, but now around three quarters of the tigers that live are in India. Many of their other habitats have been destroyed!
Adult tigers have an absolutely terrifying roar! The sound of it is guaranteed to strike fear into anything that hears it. And, indeed, lots of things will hear a tiger when it roars. They’re loud enough to be heard from nearly 2 miles away!
2 miles is a long way though, right?
Well, not for a tiger! They’re extremely quick runners. They can run at over 37 miles, or 60 kilometers per hour. That’s faster than most cars travel in a city! All of a sudden, 2 miles doesn’t seem like a lot does it? They can cover that distance in less than 2 minutes!
Tigers have been around for millions of years! Fossils have been found in China of remains of tigers. They’re thought to be 2 million years old! Just for comparison – homo sapiens, the human species, has only been around for around 300,000 years. That’s nothing compared to tigers – we’re practically babies compared to them!
They Can Swim
House cats have a reputation for hating water. After all, it’s not as if cats usually need baths – they’re perfectly capable of keeping clean on their own! Whether their reputation for hating water is true or not, they can’t share that reputation with tigers.
Tigers are known to be great swimmers! They can use the water to hunt, and adult tigers can swim for several miles.
This is probably the thing that tigers are most famous for – their vivid stripes. They famously have orange fur with a white furry underside – and striking, unmistakable black stripes all over their bodies! Even their tails are striped!
These stripes act as camouflage – they help make it harder to see the exact shape of a tiger at a distance, making it blend in easier. In fact, there is a type of camouflage that humans wear called tiger stripe, that takes inspiration from these stripes!
…And So Is Their Skin!
It’s not just their fur that has these famous stripes though! A tiger’s stripes actually go all the way down to its skin. So, even if a tiger were to somehow lose a patch of fur, it would still keep the distinctive stripe markings – and therefore, still keep the ability to blend in with the background!
Those stripes aren’t for nothing, of course – they make the tiger a better hunter. A tiger’s roar is extremely loud, yes – but sometimes the tiger doesn’t want to be heard. A sneaking tiger is death walking in the long grasses.
Whatever prey it stalks is in big trouble – it won’t see the tiger coming, and won’t have any way of fighting it off.
It’s hard to tell what is scarier. Hearing the tiger, or not hearing the tiger!
When they’re cubs, tigers spend all of their time with their mother. Indeed., newborn tigers are helpless. They can’t even see – they’re born blind and won’t be able to see for nearly 2 weeks! However, when adulthood comes, a tiger must live and survive alone.
Unlike other creatures which live in packs, a tiger is a pure solo survivalist. Every day that it lives is down to its own skill, cunning, strength – and a bit of luck. No wonder an adult tiger is so tough!
They Can’t Purr
Unlike lots of other kitties – and certainly unlike the kitties that humans usually have as pets – tigers can’t purr! Most big cats can’t purr, except for cheetahs. They just don’t have the right parts for purring. Smaller cats purr by vibrating their larynx, making its hyoid bones resonate.
Big cats like the tiger have cartilage running up the hyoid bones preventing purring – but enabling them to perform their massive roars. Purrhaps that’s a fair trade!
They Only Eat Meat
Tigers are pure carnivores! That’s no surprise when you look at their claws and teeth. They eat many different types of prey in the wild – boars, rodents, bears, birds, buffalo – even rhinos and crocodiles! They’re true apex predators – and they have no time for anything but raw meat!
They’re The Kings Of The Jungle
Lions somehow stole this title from tigers. It’s completely unfair, for one key reason: lions don’t actually live in the jungle. Tigers do, and they rule it with an iron paw.
No wonder they’re called lions – they’re just not telling the truth!
3 Weird Facts About Tigers
Tigers also have a few strange facts about them!
Their Legs Are So Strong…
…that they can keep a tiger standing upright, even after death! Yes, really morbid and horrible, but apparently true – tigers have been found killed and yet still remaining standing upright.
They Can Mate With Other Big Cats
Although this tends only to happen in captivity, it’s actually possible for tigers to mate with other big cats – and have offspring with them! A tigon is the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, for example.
The more famous, and absolutely massive hybrid cat called the liger comes from a male lion and a female tiger. The biggest living cat on earth is called Hercules – he weighs 922lb, or 418kg! Hercules is a liger, which shows you just how huge these colossal hybrids can be.
They Have False Eyes
Tigers actually have a slightly weirder form of camouflage – false eyes! Called eyespots, or ocellus, these are markings on their ears that, from the correct angle, resemble eyes!
It’s thought that these may help protect tigers during vulnerable moments, such as drinking – any potential attackers may see the false eyes and think that the tiger can see them, even though it actually can’t!
Tigers are amazing, fascinating creatures. Hopefully this short guide has taught you some interesting facts about them!