LoginLogin WebcamsCams GalleryGallery Gift ShopGift Shop SitemapSitemap Education CenterEducation Center ForumForum About Tigerhomes.orgAbout
<< Back | Contents | Next >>
Bengal Tiger - Panthera tigris tigris

The Bengal Tiger is a strikingly beautiful and regal animal. The Bengal Tiger is the second largest cat alive today with males weighing an average of 440 lbs and they have been recorded to reach over 10' in length. However, a male Bengal Tiger was killed in 1967 weighing a tremendous 857 pounds!

Bengal TigerThe Bengal Tiger population is the largest of any of the five remaining subspecies alive today. It is speculated that there are approximately 3000 to 4800 Bengal Tigers existing in the wild today. The Bengal Tiger is a highly adaptable feline with living in a wide range of habitats. The majority of live in the hot steamy mangrove swamps of the Sunderbans in India. The Sunderbans is the largest patch of mangrove forest in the world providing cover and the prey necessary for the Bengal tigers to survive in the wild. These animal range as far as the high cold altitudes of the Himalayan forests in the wild and sparse populations do exist today through Bhuta, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Efforts are currently being made to take an adequate census of the animals population in India by physical sightings in this rugged, dense terrain by the tracking and study of their pug marks which are unique to each animal. Scientists have also used infrared cameras whereby the animals trigger a "self portrait". These camera "traps" are strategically positioned along their normal territory bounds which the tiger is known to patrol on a routine basis.

The Bengal Tiger subspecies prefers to hunt large prey like the sambar deer and wild cattle. The Bengal Tiger has also been observed hunting and eating pigs, monkeys, birds and even snakes! Even in India, encroachment by humans and loss of natural prey due to habitat destruction, domestic livestock now factors as an ever increasing part of their diet. In extremely rare instances because of this conflict with humans and destruction of the Bengal Tiger's natural habitat and resulting lack of prey, some weak and elderly animals have been known to become "man-eaters" which is very rare. Of all of the five living subspecies, the Bengal Tiger has the worst reputation as a "Man Eater"! Jim Corbett, the author of Man-Eaters of Kumaon, states that no more than three out of one thousand tigers were guilty of attacking humans. The culprits of human attacks were in most cases geriatric or injured cats, living in areas with diminished natural prey. In most cases, the tigers kill adult male humans traveling through the mangrove forests. Since tigers are hunters based on vulnerability, they attack the last person in line traveling amongst the group. It is standard practice now for the person last in line to wear a mask with bold eyes wide-open staring backwards to ward off the risk of any attack. This reduces the tiger's ability to stalk the men because it appears is if the human is looking in both directions. As funny as this mask wearing technique may seem, when used it has proven to reduce attacks to ZERO!

Bengal tigers have been hunted heavily by poachers for their fur and tigers body parts are sold as medicine in China. Conservation and efforts are being made to protect the Bengal Tiger by the WPSI (The Wildlife Protection Society of India) and they have realized the extreme value of preserving this subspecies in their natural environment. Many people travel to India from all over the world to have a chance to observe and photograph these magnificent animals in the wild. This form of economic stimulation, called EcoTourism is a growing source of revenue for the Indian people. There are also many international captive breeding programs in place to secure a genetically sound future for the Bengal Tiger.

Scientific Name: Panthera tigris tigris
Range & Habitat: Primarily the mangrove swamps, humid forest and swamplands of the Sunderbans in India. Sparse populations exist in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.
Average Weight:
Female: 125 -147kg (275-325 pounds)
Male: 172-238kg (380-525 pounds)
Size (Length):
Female: 2.3m - 2.9m (7'-0" - 8'- 8")
Male: 2.5m - 3.2m (8'-7" - 10'- 0")
Diet: All tigers are carnivorous. Bengal Tiger prefer to hunt large prey like the sambar deer and wild cattle. They will however hunt and consume a wide variety of hooved mammals (ungulates) including deer, antelope, wild boar, wild pigs etc. The nature of the Tiger's hunting method and prey availability results in a "feast or famine" feeding style . Tigers gorge themselves often consuming 40-60 lbs of meat at one time as they may not be successful hunting again for several days.
Gestation Period: 100-119 Days (Averaging 103 Days)
Cub Maturity: 18 months - 2 Years
Cubs Per Litter: (Usually 2-3 cubs) Cubs are born blind and weigh 2-3 pounds. 18-26 month intervals.
Lifespan: 14-18 Years
Predators: Man. Particularly in the remaining Tiger subspecies, by poaching the tiger particularly in the Asian marketplace in spite of its protected status as an Endangered Species. Tigers are illegally poached for their beautiful fur and body parts. Tigers are revered to have mystical, magical powers by ancient culture and every single part of the tiger is used in the illicit markets that threaten their survival.
Social Structure: Solitary, except during mating season. Male territory may sometimes overlap.
Territory Size: 400km (250 miles)
Population (Wild): 3,000 - 4,800 primarily in India
Captive (SSP): 1,200 In 1995 the U.S. government wildlife management agencies formed the "Save the Tiger Fund" to protect wild tiger populations. To date, the fund has spent U.S. $10 million dollars on tiger research and conservation, funding 196 programs in 13 countries.
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix 1. (All wildcats are listed on CITES Appendix I or II). All tigers were protected under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 although this is difficult to enforce and poaching continues to this day. It was recently estimated that there is at least one tiger a day being killed in India for trade on the black market by poachers.
Special Mention: India has an extensive conservation program which includes Corbett National Park, where there are over 100 Bengal Tigers. Tiger conservation programs are in place in Ranthambore National Park, and Kanha National Park in India. Along with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), India has set up "Project Tiger" a nationwide project to help the preservation and conservation of tigers in the wild.

<< Back | Contents | Next >>

Tigerhomes.org Animal Pictures / Illustrations Reference - Go To Power Cats Index
White Lion Pictures | African Lion Pictures | Asiatic Lion Pictures | Tiger Pictures | Cougar Pictures | Caracal Pictures | Lynx Pictures | Cheetah Pictures | King Cheetah Pictures | Tiger Color Variations | Tiger Stripes | White Tiger Photos | Siberian Golden Tiger Photos | False Eyes in Nature | Tiger Fangs | Power Cat's Prey | Power Cat's Prey 2

Questions? Visit the Tigerhomes Discussion Forum and post a Question for Dave and Jason.

Copyright © 1999-2006 Tigerhomes.org | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us