In The Wild
Tigers are easily distinguished from other large cats by their distinctive striped markings. They have a reddish-orange to yellow coat with a white belly and black markings. The characteristic dark, vertical stripes on the body are unique to each tiger with no two individuals exhibiting the same stripe pattern. They vary in their width, spacing, and length, and whether they are single or double stripes.
Their chest, throat, nose and inside of the legs are white and there is usually a white area above the eye which extends onto the cheeks. A white spot is also often present on the back of the ears, and the long tail is ringed with prominent dark rings.
Like the other big cats, the tiger is well adapted for hunting large prey, with short, heavily-muscled front legs and long, sharp, retractable claws which are kept hidden while resting or walking. Tigers are a 'stalk and ambush' predator, with its stripy coat providing excellent camouflage in tall grass and the forest. They hunt mainly at night and either kill their prey with a bite to the neck, breaking the spinal cord or biting the throat and suffocating the animal.
The Amur tiger’s wild diet includes wild pigs, deer and bears. Tigers stalk their prey, getting as close as possible before they pounce. Amur tigers have excellent colour vision and their night vision is five times better than humans. Male tigers will defend their territory from other males to ensure exclusive mating rights to the female or females that live there.
Unlike most other cat species, the tiger likes the water. They can often be found lying half-submerged in streams and lakes in the midday heat.
Amur tigers mate in the winter and the female usually gives birth to a litter of two or three cubs after a three and half month gestation period. When the cubs are born they are small, blind and helpless. The cubs grow quickly, increasing almost four times in size within the first month. They learn to hunt and kill from around one year of age but remain dependent on the female for at least 15 months, after which time they will disperse to find their own territory.