t’s been a looong while since I posted something but since I now have all the time in the world (sheepish grin), I’m catching up on the backlogs starting with my visit to Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai last March.
I’ve compiled 17 interesting facts about this regal kitty together with the pictures of the time I spent with them:
- The name ‘tiger’ is taken from the Greek word tigris, a derivative of the Persian word for arrow, referring to the animals great speed
- Tigers are solitary hunters and rarely form groups. When they do the proper name is a ‘streak‘ or an ‘ambush’ of tigers
- The markings on a tiger’s forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for king, giving tigers a cultural status as a regal animal.
- The stripes on each tiger are unique, like human fingerprints. They will also still be visible on their skin even when tigers are shaved of their fur.
- When several tigers are present at a kill, the males will often wait for females and cubs to eat first, unlike lions, which do the opposite. Tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and simply wait turns.
- Tigers cannot purr. To show happiness, tigers squint or close their eyes. This is because losing vision lowers defense, so tigers (and many other cats) only purposefully do so when they feel comfortable and safe.
- Tigers can sprint at over 60km/h for short distances.
- Of all the big cats, only the jaguars and the tigers are great swimmers. Tigers can swim up to 4 miles.
- White tigers have blue eyes. But all tigers have round pupils unlike those of a house cat’s which are slitted.
- Although they favor killing using their 10cm teeth, tigers will sometimes use their paws. One swipe from a tiger’s front paw is strong enough to smash a bear’s skull or break its back.
- Tigers have antiseptic saliva. They lick their wounds to disinfect them.
- Despite not being strongly adapted to the dark, tigers’ night vision is about six times better than humans’.
- Tigers scratch trees and use their urine to mark their territories. Their urine smells strongly of buttered popcorn.
- Tigers have color vision like humans.
- Tigers can mate with lions and other cats in captivity to produce hybrids. Through genetics, male lions normally try to make their offspring as large as possible, but are counteracted by female lions, who make offspring smaller. Tigers have no such controls, so a male lion and a female tiger produce enormous offspring, ligers, whereas a female lion and a male tiger produce the much smaller tiglon.
- Three of the nine subspecies of the modern tiger are now extinct. The remaining 6 are all endangered.
- There are approximately only 3,500 tigers left in the wild. Although the numbers are greater for tigers in captivity.
It was a beautiful experience to have gotten up close and personal with these mighty felines. For more information on Tiger Kingdom, you can visit their website: http://www.tigerkingdom.com/Home.htm
- White Bengal Tiger Characteristics (whitebengal304.wordpress.com)
- Knowledge About TIGERS (geniusidentity.wordpress.com)