Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
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Facts about tigers
- Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
- The tiger is capable of killing animals over twice its size; it is one of nature’s most feared predators.
- Like its ancestor, the sabre-tooth cat, the tiger relies heavily on its powerful teeth for survival. If it loses its canines (tearing teeth) through injury or old age, it can no longer kill and is likely to starve to death.
- Tigers live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories (up to 100sq km in size) to keep their rivals away.
- They are powerful nocturnal hunters that travel many miles to find buffalo, deer, wild pigs, and other large mammals. A Bengal tiger can eat 21kg of meat in a night and can kill the equivalent of 30 buffaloes a year.
- The roar of a Bengal tiger can carry for over 2km at night.
- Although tigers are powerful and fast over short distances, the Bengal tiger cannot outrun fleet footed prey such as deer. Instead it uses stealth to catch its victims; attacking from the side or the rear.
- Tigers use their distinctive coats as camouflage (no two have exactly the same stripes).
- If the kill is large, the tiger may drag the remains to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves, then return to it later.
- As well as game animals, it preys on wild boar, monkeys, lizards and occasionally porcupines.
- Females give birth to litters of two to six cubs, which they raise with little or no help from the male. Cubs cannot hunt until they are 18 months old and remain with their mothers for two to three years, when they disperse to find their own territory.
- Like domestic cats, all tigers can purr. Unlike their tame relatives, however, which can purr as they breathe both in and out, tigers purr only as they breathe out.
- Unlike other cats, tigers are good swimmers and often cool off in lakes and streams during the heat of the day.
- Although tigers belong in the wild they are still used by travelling circuses in the UK.
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