Welcome to this article about the Bengal Tiger! The tiger is one of the largest subspecies of the big cat family. This magnificent beast also happens to be the national animal of India and former Bengal where its image has been closely associated with the culture and history of the Indian subcontinent. Let’s take a look at some of the facts behind the Bengal Tiger!
Scientific and Physical Characteristics of Bengal Tigers
- The scientific name of the Bengal Tiger is Panthera tigris tigris.
- Based on genetic studies, it has been discovered that the tiger arrived in the Indian subcontinent around 12,000 years ago.
- The physical outlook of the Bengal Tiger is beautiful but fierce. It is well-built with thick, muscular legs, strong jaws, and stout teeth. The teeth are one of the longest across all cat species.
- The tiger has a characteristic coat pattern. It is usually yellow-orange with deep brown stripes that run vertically across the coat. The inner areas such as the belly region and limbs tend to be white or cream-colored.
- In rare variants of the Bengal Tiger, a genetic mutation causes the coat to be completely white with black stripes. These variants are usually detected in areas such as Assam and Bihar in Northern India. However, this should not be confused with albinism.
- The vivid coloration of the coat enables the tiger to be skilled in camouflage, although this may differ from individual to individual.
- An amazing fact about the stripe pattern of the Bengal tiger is that no two tigers share the same pattern. Each tiger has their own, unique version of the pattern which is similar to that of a human fingerprint!
- The males tend to be larger and heavier than the females. Males can be as long 120 inches with a weight of up to 550 lbs. Females are around 100 inches in length with a weight of around 300 lbs.
Bengal Tigers Habitat and Distribution
- Bengal Tigers are exclusive to the Indian subcontinent and are mostly concentrated in the North-Central regions. They are also found (in smaller populations) in parts of Southern China and Myanmar.
- The Bengal Tiger is a heavily endangered species with only around 2500 individuals remaining in the world. The population in India alone is around 1900. Rigorous conservation efforts are currently been made in order to sustain the populations.
- Their habitats tend to be in the tropical rainforest regions, mangroves as well as tall grass and marshy areas.
- Population decline has mostly been due to poaching and habitat loss. These animals are sensitive to climate change, particularly those that live in mangrove regions (which are associated with rising sea levels). This is a sad fact about Bengal tigers.
- Due to most of the conservation programs, tigers tend to be restricted to areas within these conservation units and care has been made to ensure that there is an abundance of prey within their territories.
- Adults will confine their movements to specific habitat ranges where they satisfy the needs in terms of food, water, and shelter. They tend to communicate with other tigers within their home range and each tiger is well aware of the other’s activities and movements.
- An adult male’s home range is around 200 sq km during the summer and 100 sq km during the winter. Within this range live the female and her cubs.
- The ranges occupied by an adult male will be exclusive to that individual alone and they will not tolerate other males usually in order to maintain the mating rights with his female counterpart.
Bengal Tigers Behaviour and Diet
- The family unit of a tiger usually consists of the female and her cubs. They rarely tend to meet with the male.
- Tigers are fairly solitary individuals and will hunt by themselves rather than in packs.
- Through radio-collaring and tracking of the movements of cubs, it has been found that, on average, a tiger will depart from their birth areas at around 19 months of age.
- The tiger is a carnivorous animal. Its primary diet is ungulates including gaur bison, deer such as the Sambar and Chital. They also feed on water buffaloes, wild boar and grey langur monkeys around a range of other mammals. Smaller prey includes hares and porcupines.
- During periods of food scarcity, they have also been known to attack and consume humans.
- In terms of their hunting style, tigers will attack their prey from the side or behind (which is aided by their camouflage) from a close distance. They will kill and then drag their prey to a further distance before consuming it.
I hope that these facts about Bengal Tigers were informative to you. If you want to learn more about other animals, visit animal facts page.