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Tiger Facts for Kids

Rujuta Borkar
Tigers are one of the most feared and awed animals to stride this planet. There are numerous facts associated with this majestic creature.
Majestically beautiful. Dangerous and strong.
Stripes like wildfire - black and long.
Eyes like shining beacons of terror.
Striking over, like another death bearer.
Stride akin that of controlled gait
The nails of steel to trap its bait.
The tiger is all that and more...much more. A creature that evokes emotions of awe and terror. But there's more to this wild animal than just that. Like all creatures of the wild, the tiger has certain characteristics that make it a thing to be feared and revered. Yet, what's saddening is that the tiger is in grave danger of becoming extinct.

Facts about Tigers for Kids

It's safe to assume that you've seen a tiger on TV or in the zoo, and you have of course thought what a magnificent creature it is, right? But given all that, how much do you really know about the species? To give you more information on the same, here is a detailed account of the creature and all there is to know about it.

The Feline Family

Tigers belong to the feline family and their scientific name is Panthera Tigris. They are the biggest species of the cat family. Today, there are mainly 6 species of tigers that inhabit the planet. They are as follows.

Bengal Tiger
Sumatran Tiger
Indochinese Tiger
South China Tiger
Siberian Tiger
Malayan Tiger
There were 3 other tiger species as well, namely the Caspian, Javan and the Bali tigers. But these are now extinct and the remaining 6 are well on their way to extinction as well.
What of the white tiger then? Is it a separate species? There is a misconception that the white tiger is a subspecies of the tiger, but that is not the case at all. The white tiger was an accident that came to be due to pure mutation.
A recessive gene is responsible for the color of their coats. White tigers are very, very rare and are bred by mating the Siberian and Bengal species. These tigers cannot survive in the wild because of their distinct coat color because it would fail to camouflage them. These tigers are thus only bred in captivity.

Physical Features

The tiger's majestic coat is its unique feature. Its coat ranges from yellowish orange or brownish white in color and is flanked by distinct black stripes. Each tiger has over a hundred stripes. These stripes are different in every tiger and the pattern will never be the same in any two, just as the fingerprints are never the same in two human beings.
Not only do these stripes lead to a tiger looking majestic, but they also act as a great tool for camouflage in the wild, since they allow the coat to blend perfectly well with the forest colors.
A tiger can weigh as 660 pounds (300 kg), with male tiger weighing more than a female tiger. A tiger can be around 11 feet (3.3 m) in length. The Siberian tiger is the biggest species among all tigers. They can weigh approx 700 lbs and grow to about 13 feet in length. The Sumatran tiger is the lightest of all the species weighing around 110 kg (250 pounds).
A tiger's tail is about a meter (3 foot) long. The tail is essential in lending balance to the tiger when it is running after its prey.

Food Habits

Tigers are carnivores, which means that their food habits consist primarily of meat. They eat animals, both, small and large that range from frogs, birds and turtles to deer and buffaloes.
Tigers can consume up to 60 pounds of meat in one night. And while this is an interesting fact, what is more interesting is that they can go without food for a week at a time. Tigers usually hunt at dusk and during the night because it helps to camouflage them well. Tigers can see perfectly well in the dark, so hunting is never a problem.
When a tiger spots a prey, it will creep as close to it as possible and then run after it in full speed. If it's a small animal, the tiger will knock it off its feet using its sheer might and claws. Then using its teeth, it will strangle the animal's throat and break off its neck (in case of a smaller animal).
In case of larger animals, the tiger will strangle them at the onset so that he can overpower them and they do not struggle. When the tiger is done feasting on its prey, it will cover it up with leaves and mud and hide it so that it can come back and feed on it later. This practice continues till the meat is gone.

Fun Tiger Facts for Kids

► A baby tiger is called a cub and every litter usually has 1-6 cubs (typically 2). Most cubs die before they are two years old.

► A cub will stay with its mother till the age of 2. After which it will go on to be on its own.
► The cubs will follow their mother on her hunts after 6 months. While they learn to kill prey at age one, they will not go on to be on their own till age 2.

► The mother takes care of the cubs all by herself with no help from the father.
► Tigers are highly territorial and live alone (except when the mother raises her cubs). A male and female tiger will come together for mating and then go their separate ways.

► Tigers mark their territory by peeing around the ground and the surrounding plants. They also scratch the trees for the same purpose.

► A group of tigers is called an ambush or streak and their cry is known as a growl.

► A tiger's cry can be heard up to 2 miles (3 kms) away.
► Less than 10% of a tiger's hunting expeditions are successful.

► Tigers are excellent swimmers and can swim a distance of 6 Kms at one time.

► They can reach a maximum running speed of 65 kph.
► Tigers can easily climb and jump over 5-6 meters in length.

► One of the most interesting facts about white tigers is that these species carry a rare gene which leads to their white skin. This gene is present in one among ten thousand tigers.
► Most species of tigers are completely extinct. And all tigers fall under the category of endangered species due to human hunting and poaching and due to the depletion of natural habitats (also due to humans).
► More tigers are held privately as pets than there are in the wild. In captivity, tigers can live up to 26 years.

► When a tiger breeds with a lion, it gives rise to hybrids. These are called ligers and tigons.
► A tiger will keep its claws sharp by pulling them into a protective sheath. The claws are essential when it comes to hunting.

► A tiger will retract its claws when it walks. Thus you'll never find claw marks on its tracks.

► Tigers love the water and are the only cats who are known to cool off by rolling about in the water.
These facts on tigers will improve the kids' knowledge about tigers, and more so will make them aware of the danger that they are in. If their destruction continues in the same manner as is happening today, it won't be long before kids will only know about them through books and stories. And we don't want that happening, do we?