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The Big Cat Series – Tigers of The World

Updated on March 3, 2020
Donna-Rayne profile image

Donna loves writing about the big cats of the wild, she loves all cats big and small! Join her as journies to her Big Cats Series!

Video Courtesy of Nat Geo WILD

Tigers of the World – Scientific Names

How many species and subspecies of tigers are there extinct and living? Here is a list of tigers that are struggling to survive in the wild today and those who are now considered to be extinct.

Endangered Species

  • Sumatran Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sumatra (smallest species) –Critically Endangered
  • Siberian Tiger (aka Amur Tiger) – Panthera Tigris Altaica (largest species) – Endangered
  • Bengal Tigers – Panthera Tigris Tigris – Endangered
  • Indochinese Tiger – Panthera Tigris Corbetti – Endangered
  • South China Tiger – Panthera Tigris Amoyensis – Critically endangered, possibly extinct in the wild.
  • Malayan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Jacksoni – Assumed Endangered

Tigers of the World!
Tigers of the World! | Source

Extinct Tiger Species

  • Bali Tiger – Panthera Tigris Balica – Extinct since 1937
  • Caspian Tiger – Panthera Tigris Virgata – Extinct since 1950s
  • Javan Tiger – Panthera Tigris Sondaica – Extinct since 1970s

Tigers are territorial and generally solitary animals except for mating season and they are also charismatic and megafauna which means “large enough to be seen with the naked eye and a mammal in a particular region.”

Tigers once roamed across Asia from Turkey to Eastern Siberia as well as across large parts of South and Southeast Asia.

Map of Where Tigers Roam


Global Population:

In the 1900’s an estimated 100,000 wild tigers roamed the world and now only around 3,200 exist and most of that percentage are tigers that live in captivity! This makes me so angry to know such a beautiful animal is almost non-existent and mostly due to poaching for their bones, skin and other body parts.

Including fragmentation, reduced food supply (again because the man took it from them) habitat destruction by builders and the logging industry while forcing the tigers closer to the human population causes danger for both the tiger and humans!

They hunted these wild tigers for man’s own pleasure and greed I mean, seriously something is wrong with this and then on top of all that, they clear most of the land that tigers hunt on and starvation is one culprit for these beautiful cats!

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) counts the number of tigers in the wild at 3,890.


Where Do Tigers Live?

As of 2016, it has been reported that although tigers are native to Asia, their range is much smaller than it used to be such as:

  • Southeast Asia
  • India
  • Western China
  • Some parts of Russia

Breeding Populations In:

  • Bhutan.
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Nepal

In regards to their habitat, tigers live in a range of environments, but usually prefer areas with dense coverings, like forests, with access to water and plenty of prey to hunt, they also live in secluded areas such as in caves, among dense vegetation or hollow trees.

Tigers live alone in scent marked territories that vary depending on the availability of prey and usually only one area can support a hungry tiger, Thus, each individual tiger knows their own territory and it’s big trouble if another tiger doesn’t honor the claimed territory.

As of 2010, officials representing China’s Jilin Province, and Russia’s Primorsky Province and areas just north of the Korean Peninsula signed an agreement to set up protected areas straddling their countries with common borders to safeguard the tigers!

Tigers of the World – Breeding Season


Tiger Reproduction

Female tigers reach sexual maturity at around 3 to 4 years old while the males mature later at around 4 to 5 years old! Interesting to say the least! There is no particular breeding season with female tigers entering oestrus which means “in heat”. And therefore, they are able to conceive every 3-9 weeks!

The females attract their mates by letting them know they are ready to produce by either repetitive vocalizing that consists of roars, moans, and other odorous excretions. and marking their territory with distinctive smelling urine.

When a receptive tigress and a tiger meet, they perform a courtship ritual by moving in circles and vocalizing; Both growl and approach and separate successively in the process of mutual recognition and when mutual trust is found and they agree to mate, the female begins to lick, groom and caress the male with the snout and then wallow on the ground and lie face down, indicating that she is ready. Then mating begins in which the process is repeated several times during the heat period for about 5 or 6 days.

Did You Know?

Tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn and tigers can tell the age, gender, and reproductive condition of other tigers by just smelling the urine markings and therefore giving them an invitation to dinner and a movie… thus popcorn and treats… haha oh yeah it’s primitive!

How Long Is The Gestation Period?

The cubs are born 16 weeks after copulation and the mother tiger has anywhere from 2-6 cubs and the male does not take part in the rearing of the cubs! The mother tiger then gives birth in a sheltered area such as in tall grass, in a dense thicket, cave or rocky crevice.

The mother will lactate for 5 to 6 months and at that time the cubs will be weaned and they start to go with their mother on territorial walks and are then taught how to hunt.

Mother tiger and her cub!
Mother tiger and her cub! | Source

Cubs Hunting Lessons Begin

Tiger mothers begin to teach their cubs hunting lessons when the cubs are around six months old and they will become successful hunters around 11 months old and will be independent hunters by 18 months old. However, the cubs will remain with their mother for 2 to 3 years and then after that, they go away to find their own territory and have cubs of their own when they reach sexual maturity.

Sometimes the female cub will overlap a little with their mother’s territory as long as there is enough food to sustain them and the males, however, will establish their own territories. And if they are on alpha male tiger territory, the alpha male may let this junior male tiger remain on his territory and when that junior cub reaches full maturity, they will fight to take over said territory sometimes fighting to the death.

Alpha Male Tiger

Alpha Predator
Alpha Predator | Source

The Power of the Alpha Predator

Tigers are powerful alpha predators: “An apex predator, also known as an alpha predator, is a predator residing at the top of a food chain upon which no other creatures prey. Apex predators are usually defined in terms of trophic dynamics, meaning that apex-predator species occupy the highest trophic levels or levels and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems.”

And these alpha predators are capable of killing animals twice their size! Plus, tigers are crepuscular animals which means they would rather hunt at twilight whereas our domesticated feline children are considered nocturnal, read my article How Does My Cat See This World?

These twilight hunters will travel many miles to hunt on a variety of animals such as;

  • Deer
  • Buffalo
  • Wild Boar; native ungulates “hoofed mammals” are their favorite.

Did You Know?

Tigers don’t like wasting food so, when they have leftover food from a very large kill they will drag it to a thicket and loosely bury it with leaves and when they are hungry later on they will go back and finish eating it.

Amazing Tigers Facts

Beautiful White Bengal tiger
Beautiful White Bengal tiger | Source

Tiger Facts

  • Tigers consume up to 40 kilograms (88.2 pounds) of meat in a single meal however, they tend to eat smaller amounts.
  • Tigers are one of nature’s most feared predators and the largest of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.
  • They jump up to 33 feet in a single leap!
  • The tiger’s roar can be heard up to 1.8 miles (3 kilometers)
  • It is the national animal of India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam
  • Tigers also appear on many flags and coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams.
  • No two tigers have the same stripes and are different thus enabling individual tigers to be identified by their unique markings.
  • Just like human fingerprints are not the same either.
  • The word “tiger” comes from the Greek word “Tigris”, which probably originated from a Persian word meaning “arrow.”


Other Fascinating Facts

  • The English word “Tigress” was first documented in 1611. The tiger’s scientific name is Panthera tigris.

  • Males are larger than females, for instance, a Siberian male tiger weighs in at 660 to 700 pounds and grows to 10.5 feet
    • (which is as tall as a one-story building)
  • While the female weighs in at 200 to 370 pounds and measures in at 8.5 feet (2.6 m)
  • In China and other parts of Asia, some people believe that various tiger parts have medicinal properties,
    • Including pain killers and aphrodisiacs.
  • In Ancient Roman times, tigers were kept in menageries and amphitheaters to be exhibited, trained and were provoked to fight against humans and various exotic beasts.

Tigers Love Water

Tigers love water to keep them cool
Tigers love water to keep them cool | Source

Tigers Have the Largest Canines

  • However, a tiger spends the day relaxing in a pond or a river to cool off during the hot days of summer!
  • Tigers hunt in the water and catch prey.
  • Tiger has the largest canines of all big cat species
  • His teeth are razor sharp and can grow up to 3 inches in length!
  • An adult tiger tail can grow up to 3.3 feet in length. The tail is used to communicate just like our cats. If relaxed, the tail will hang loosely.
  • Aggressive- the tiger will move his tail quickly from side to side
  • He also holds it low and twitches it every now and then
  • Just like our furry babies, therefore, we can learn a lot from these big cats and apply these facts to get to know our felines.
  • 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 for their turns.
  • The markings on a tiger’s forehead closely resemble the Chinese character for “King”, giving tigers a cultural status as a regal animal.

Amazing White Tiger Swimming [RARE] /Animaltube.TV

The Most Beautiful Big Cat in the World- Tigers

Tigers are the most beautiful cat and they have had some pretty rough times. These Alpha Kings of the Big Cat world are even bigger than your average Lion.

If only there were more Tigers in the wild instead of in captivity perhaps they would thrive and multiply and only if humans would give them their space and quit taking their land and their food resources then just maybe these awesome cats will have a chance to grow in numbers.

These big cats are smart and extremely intelligent and I think that we can learn so much about our felines by watching their big brothers and sisters in the wild!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Donna Rayne


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    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      2 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Haha, thank you so much, Peggy :) I'm glad you like it!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      It is a shame that the population of tigers in the wild is so decimated. They are magnificent animals. I learned so much by reading your article about them. The one thing that is likely to stick in my mind is the odor of their urine the next time I eat popcorn. Haha!

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      2 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Yes, they are beautiful and mysterious! I love these big cats. Have a great day and I would love to see some of your drawings of them.


      Donna Rayne

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      I've always loved drawing and painting these big cats. There is something really intriguing about the facial structure and the stripes.



    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you very much, Eiddwen, I look forward to following you too and there is more to come in my Big Cat Series. I'm working on the Bengal Tiger right now :) But, that's our secret shhh...

    • Eiddwen profile image


      3 weeks ago from Wales

      Being a cat lover this very interesting hub on these beautiful big cats was indeed a treat for me. Thank you for sharing Donna and I now look forward to following you on here.

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you so much, Manatita, they are very beautiful but deadly!


      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you so much, JC. Have a super great day!

      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      You're welcome Bill and thank you!

      Enjoy your day!

      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you, Pamela. I know it happens to a lot of wildlife because man wants their skins, bones, and more to sell and they're worth a lot more dead than alive according to the poachers.

      Have a happy day,

      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Hahaha sorry about that Flourish! That cracked me up! Have a great day!


      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Yes, it is Lorna and I pray the laws in place to protect all wildlife make a difference and tigers won't be a thing of the past.


      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you Umesh, I appreciate that!


      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Oh, that is wonderful news, Rosina! I'm happy to know my articles are helping you and showing you their true beauty!


      Donna Rayne

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 weeks ago from london

      The swim is impressive! Great to know info. You describe them as charismatic! I dare say you're right but scary too and ferocious by some accounts.

      I was looking at the different nations. Yes, they do look different. Beautiful animals but what a great reduction.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      3 weeks ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Donna...excellent article.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I always love to learn about stuff like this, so thanks for the informative and interesting article.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      The tiger are gorgeous and I really enjoyed your article. Poaching also makes me angry as it happens to elephants and so many other anitmals. It is funny that their urine smell like buttered popcorn and that they can tell so much by smelling the urine.

      Very good article, Donna!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 weeks ago from USA

      They are simply stunning animals and I cannot fathom people hurting them. So majestic. Thanks to you I will never think of the smell of buttered popcorn quite the same! Oh my!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      3 weeks ago

      An excellent and informative article Donna with beautiful photos. It's sad that like many other wonderful animals they are under threat for the reasons you mention. Seeing these incredible animals in the wild may soon be a thing of the past. A really enjoyable read - loved it.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      3 weeks ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Well researched and well compiled article. Good work. Nice reading. Thanks.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      3 weeks ago

      A beautiful, informative piece about Tigers of the world. Watching your enthusiasm for these wild creatures, I am also beginning to appreciate them and become a fan of them. I found Tigers scary before but now reading your wonderful hub, my feelings about them are taking a shift. Thank you, Donna, for such a wonderful contribution.

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      3 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Thank you all so much, Eric, Ivana and BushraI appreciate all your comments and that you liked my article!


      Donna Rayne

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We are blessed by you nicely written work here. My son votes for Siberian. I go Indochina. We must love our creatures.

    • Ivana Divac profile image

      Ivana Divac 

      3 weeks ago from Serbia

      Thank you for this beautiful article. So informative!

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Aishatu Ali 

      3 weeks ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Sometimes Indian tigers cheerfully stroll into Pakistan without so much as a by your leave. Marvelous how animals, birds, and plants couldn't care less for passports and visas!


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