Tigers are scary and dangerous animals. But do you know that they often avoid humans? They do not attack humankind unless triggered or threatened to do so. They are one of the top predators in the world and are fearless and dangerous.
We have listed some exciting tiger facts for kids below hoping that you will have a great time reading them. So let us begin.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Tigers for Kids
Tigers are ferocious and elegant wild cat species. They have some amazing characteristics that make them so special and different from the other wild cat species. Let us see how they have become such popular mammals.
1. They are the largest wild cats
Tigers are the largest members of the Felidae family of wild cats that includes tigers, lions, leopards, and jaguars. The size of a particular tiger depends on its subspecies. On average, an adult tiger can be 10 feet long in body length and weigh 350 pounds.
They have 200 bones and 600 muscles in their body. The males are larger than the females. They have a big skull and powerful jaws.
They are very fast while hunting their prey and can run at a speed of 40 miles per hour. They also have a white circle behind their ears which looks like fake eyes to the predators.
2. All Tigers have unique stripes
All the tiger subspecies have stripes on their orange coloured fur which is unique just like the human fingerprints. You can not find two tigers with the same pattern of these stripes.
The fur colour varies in the different species. They can have darker or lighter fur colours along with broader or narrower stripes depending on the species.
Not all tigers have orange fur. There are white tigers as well that are born out of a rare genetic mutation. If you want to read more about the white tigers, read our article – 11 Engrossing Facts about White Tigers for Kids.
3. Tigers can hear infrasounds that humans can’t
The most developed sense in the tigers is their hearing ability. It helps them in hunting. They can even listen to the infrasounds that humans can not.
They also have excellent night vision, which is six times better than their day vision. That is why they do most of the hunting during the nighttime.
Their taste and smell senses are not that sharp, but it does help them in detecting particular tastes such as salty, acid, and bitter flavours and odours to detect signs from other tigers.
4. You can smell buttered popcorn in their territories
Tigers have various vocal, non-vocal, and body postures to communicate with each other or show a particular behaviour. They leave urine sprays that smells like buttered popcorn. They also leave faeces and marks on rocks and trees to mark their territory.
They are overprotective of their territories and show aggressive behaviour when some other tiger intrudes upon their boundaries.
It exposes its canine teeth when aggressive and hangs its tail down when calm and relaxed. Their ears and tails are held high when they show curiosity about other animals in the area.
5. The oldest fossil of the tigers is 2 million years old
The oldest fossil of the tiger found is believed to be 2 million years old. It was found in Gansu in China, suggesting that the tigers originated in Asia. The Javan tiger is considered to be the oldest species of tiger. Its fossils were found in China and Sumatra, dating 1.6 – 1.8 million years ago.
Various studies indicate that the tiger and the snow leopard are closely related and that they diverged around 3.9 million years ago from a common species. The earliest fossils suggest that the tigers were initially much smaller than the size they have adapted now.
6. They can survive up to 2 weeks without eating
Tigers spend a major amount of their time hunting, but not every hunt is successful. Nine out of ten hunts often go waste, but that single hunt can survive the tigers for a week. Tigers might not need to eat for a week after eating a large deer.
They can even hunt down animals that are larger than them, such as bears and water buffaloes. They do not eat at the site where they kill their prey and move it to some other place. It also covers its kill with leaves, grasses, and even dirt if it has to go away for some time.
They have a short intestine that can easily digest meat. They can eat around 60 pounds of meat in one go and at the same time can survive up to 2 weeks without food as well.
7. Their roaring sound can be heard over a mile
They roar to give a call to other tigers, during mating, and in hostile situations. It is a scary and loud sound that can be heard from over a mile away. But the cases of tiger roaring are very low. They can also imitate the call of other animals, such as sambhars, to attract their prey.
They give out a cough like sound when nervous and scared of other animals or human interference. They roar to announce their kill as well. Its roar is different from that of the other wild cats according to the experts.
8. Tigers bones are used in traditional Chinese medicine
The major reason for the illegal poaching of the tigers is their bones and skins that are sold in the market and makes huge money for the poachers. A tiger pelt amounts to almost 20,000 dollars.
Its paw is worth 1000 dollars, and the tiger bone in powdered form is sold 64 – 168 dollars per pound. The tiger wine is made out of tiger bone and liquor, and a case can fetch over 30,000 dollars. The bones are in huge demand for making traditional Chinese medicines.
9. The baby tiger cubs are born blind
The baby tigers are known as cubs and are born in a litter of 2-7 tigers. However, not all of them survive and dies soon after they are born. Tiger cubs are born blind and defenceless and depend on their mothers in the initial weeks.
The mother has been the sole caretaker of the cubs since her pregnancy. The birth weight of the tiger cubs is around 2 pounds. The male adult tigers often try to kill the cubs.
The cubs stay with their mother until eight weeks. They learn to hunt for their food between 8-10 months of age. After two years they become independent and leave their mothers to live a solitary life.
10. Tigresses are tolerant and protective mothers
The male tigers are dominating in nature. The females are more protective of their offspring. The male adults can kill the cubs to mate with their mothers but are often scared away by the mothers.
Tigers are solitary creatures and prefer to live in isolated areas. They mark their territories and often get into violent fights when some other tiger intrudes upon their territory. Although tigers often tend to avoid conflicts among themselves and fights are rare.
Females are more tolerant and even share spaces at times. Some researchers have suggested that the tigers can recognize each other as well.
11. Only 3% of the tiger population survived the last century
Tiger species have lost around 97% of their population in the last century. The reasons behind the reducing tiger population are illegal hunting, poaching, habitat loss, deforestation and shortage of enough prey.
Hunting is banned in all the countries where the tigers live, but some illegal poaching is still going on. The growth in the human population has resulted in large-scale deforestation to build houses, resulting in the loss of habitats for these tiger species.
Intensive farming and livestock grazing are also responsible for reducing the natural range of these tigers.
How many Different Types of Tigers are There?
There were nine tiger species in total, but three of them have become extinct. The extinct species are the Caspian tiger, which became extinct in the 1970s, the Javan tiger that survived until the 1980s, and the Bali tiger that became extinct as early as the 1940s.
Currently, there are six subspecies of the tiger, as mentioned below.
- Siberian Tigers are the largest among the tiger subspecies. They have fur paler than the other species. You can read our article, 11 Amazing Siberian Tiger Facts for Kids, for more information.
- Sumatran Tiger is found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It has the darkest coat of all tiger species.
- Bengal Tiger is the most numerous tiger species. They produce white tigers resulting from rare genetic mutations. Read our article, 11 Amazing Bengal Tiger Facts for Kids, for more information.
- Indo Chinese tigers are a bit smaller and darker than Bengal tigers. They live in hilly and mountainous forests.
- South China Tiger is found in Central and Eastern China. It is a critically endangered tiger species.
- Malayan Tiger is very similar to the Indochinese species of tigers and is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Thailand and Malaysia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tigers live in various forest areas depending on their species. They are mainly found in the Asian continent.
They are native to the continent of Asia and live in countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Tibet, and Cambodia.
The average weight of a tiger is 350 pounds. The weight depends on the species of the tiger.
The tiger goes by the scientific name of Panthera tigris.
The tiger is the largest cat species in the world.
They are carnivorous animals and eat animals such as cattle, horses, bears, elephants, and other large mammals.
An adult tiger can eat 40 – 60 pounds of meat in a day.
They sleep in their natural habitats and territories in the wild such as grasses, rocks, bushes etc.
They can have a body length of about 10 feet including their tail.
They can stand 3 feet tall.
The tigers can survive up to 15 years in the wild and up to 20 – 25 years in captivity.
The tigers can run at a top speed of 40 miles per hour.
The tigers can leap a jump of about 12 feet high.
Tigers communicate through vocal sounds, visual actions, scent and touch. They roar, growl, move their tails in a certain manner to communicate with other tigers. They mark their territories with urine scents and claw marks.
It helps them in hunting their prey by coming closer to them unnoticed. Their colour and stripes blend them into their surrounding grasses and bushes. Most of the tigers have these stripes on their bodies.
Tigers have four claws on each foot along with a dewclaw which is kind of an inner toe.
Tigers are nocturnal animals whose night vision is six times better than humans.
The Siberian tiger is the strongest tiger species.
Tigers are most afraid of fire like most animals. Unfamiliar noises and sounds also make them scared.
Tigers are not faster than lions. Lions can run at a speed of 50 miles per hour whereas the tigers run at 40 miles per hour.
India is the country with the largest tiger population of over 2,000 wild tigers.
The tiger is not the jungle king because it is a solitary animal and does not have leadership qualities. In contrast, the lion is a social and strong animal and leads its pride while controlling and commanding the group members.
These were some interesting tiger facts for kids. Tigers are in serious need of conservation, and we need to educate ourselves and ban places such as zoos and circuses that captivate these animals for their monetary purposes.