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Tigers (Panthera tigris) are native to Asia and for several years occupy less than 10% of their historical range of distribution, for which they have been included in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered of extinction. These beautiful and striking animals belong to the Felidae family and the Panthera genus which, together with lions, are felids o largest felines today.
Their characteristic size, in addition to other particular features, makes them be big predators within the forests where they usually live. In this AnimalWised article, we want to present you with information regarding how tigers hunt, so we invite you to continue reading so that you learn more about their strategic ways of capturing their prey.You may also be interested in: How do lions hunt? Index
- Characteristics of the tiger as a predator
- What animals do tigers hunt?
- How do tigers hunt their prey?
- Tiger conservation status
Characteristics of the tiger as a predator
Tigers are currently found in the tropical forests of Asia, although previously it was also possible to find them in dry and cold ecosystems. As we mentioned, they share the largest group sizes and weights with the lions, however, this trait varies between each of the existing types of tigers. On the other hand, a male tiger can weigh more than 250 kilos and measure from head to tail about 3 meters, while the females, which are usually smaller, weigh less than 200 kilos, with a size of just over 2.5 meters in length.
The typical coloration of the tiger is orange, in combination with white areas, especially in the ventral part of the animal, in addition, they have stripes that go from dark brown to black. The pattern of the stripes is unique in each individual and the females have less than the males. There are some variants in colors, but they do not have to do with the characteristics of a subspecies, but are due to changes at the genetic level with respect to coloration..
These animals have extremely strong teeth and claws. The teeth can measure up to about nine centimeters depending on the species and total thirty, while the claws are retractable and reach a length of about ten centimeters and, when necessary, they sharpen them on the trunks of the trees. Also, tigers have a excellent vision and even at night they can see quite accurately. The sense of hearing, meanwhile, is also quite acute in these felines.
They are extremely territorial and lonely, so they do not live in herds. Generally, the territories of the males do not overlap, as this would generate confrontations, while the females can establish theirs close to their mothers. These also eventually enter the territory of a male, but without causing any duel..
What animals do tigers hunt?
Tigers are animals that carry a exclusively carnivorous diet and in their natural habitat they especially feed on live prey, which they hunt with considerable strength and agility. These felids have a preference for hoofed animals that are in their expanding range, however, can greatly extend their diet, especially if they are hungry. It is estimated that they require killing between 50 to 60 animals per year to keep in good condition.
Depending on the size of the prey, the tiger's diet can last several days, usually starting by devouring the viscera and internal parts of the animal, from which it obtains an important contribution of fats, vitamins and fiber. Later, it usually consumes what corresponds to bones and cartilage, from which it will also obtain proteins and minerals. After having fed properly, they generally begin a fasting period. Among the various animals that a tiger can eat, we find:
- Deer of various species
- Gaur or Indian bison
- Wild pigs
- Young elephants
- Young rhinos
For more information, you can consult this other article about ¿What does Tigers eat?
How do tigers hunt their prey?
Nature has endowed these felids with both bodily and behavioral strategies that make them very fierce and effective hunters. Tigers can hunt small prey like a 20-kilo deer, but they don't hesitate to attack a large gaur or bison if they get the chance. Let's see how they do it.
Tiger hunting strategies
When hunting, they first identify their prey, which they do stealthily and camouflaged, generally in the vegetation. They stay behind the potential victim or in a lateral position until they decide to go after her. A tiger when setting out to hunt can quickly reach 80 or 90 km / h, besides giving jumps of about 9 meters.
Once they are close to the animal, they propel themselves with their hind legs in a great jump, support their heavy and muscular body on the prey, push it and end up knocking it down. Once they have caught it, in the case of small or medium-sized animals they cut the spinal cord behind the head, but if on the contrary it is larger, they choose to slaughter it right in the throat with their powerful jaws. In all cases, tigers seek a quick death to his victims.
Once it has achieved the death of its prey, it moves it to a place where it can eat it calmly and, if necessary, hide the remains to continue devouring it later. When eating, it uses its sharp claws and large teeth, thus tearing the food.
¿How tigers hunt in the water?
Tigers are excellent swimmers, so they are capable of attacking prey in the water. However, reports indicate that in very deep water they can be killed by large crocodiles, while in areas close to shore or on land they practically never lose a match.
¿Tigers hunt in packs?
Tigers are solitary animals, so nor do they live nor do they hunt in a herd. Due to the fact that they hunt alone, when they want to hunt large species such as elephants or rhinos, they look for young, sick or that have been far from the herd, since, otherwise, due to their enormous size, they would be very difficult prey to knock down. for the tigers.
¿When do tigers hunt?
Like other cats, such as lions, lions often hunt at night and they can eat up to 25 kg in a single night.
Tiger conservation status
With human population growth, the habitats of tigers and people have become very overlapping, which has resulted in the occurrence of fatal accidents of these cats towards people, generating a massive hunt of these for fear of their possible attacks.
On the other hand, the regrettable increase in demand for its skin, bones, teeth and claws has also made the illegal commerce press on the killing of the species, finally placing the tiger in Danger of extinction. As with other animals at risk, the future of these cats depends, on the one hand, on government actions and the implementation of appropriate policies for their protection, in addition to the massification of educational programs that encourage respect and appreciation for animal diversity.