Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)

 

Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family:    Felidae
Size:    Length: 4.5 to 13 feet (1.3 to 3.9 m)
Weight: 165 to 800 pounds (74 to 363 kg)
Diet: Sambar, chital, deer, wild pigs, fish, birds, lynx and bears
Distribution: China, Korea and Siberia
Young:  2 to 6 cubs every 2 to 3 years
Animal Predators:  None
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
Terms: Young: Cub
Lifespan: Average of 15 years in the wild and up to 26 years in captivity

 

Facts/Trivia:

       There are more Siberian tigers in captivity than in the wild.

       The Siberian tiger has retractable claws like a house cat.

       Three tiger subspecies have become extinct since the 1950s, leaving only five subspecies today.

       Tigers symbolize power and respect and are not only a symbol of royalty, but were the symbol of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

       The Chinese believe that tigers are able to ward off evil.

Description

There are several different tiger subspecies, but the Siberian tiger is the largest and most massive. Tigers have tawny-orange fur covered with black stripes. In addition, they have some white markings on their face. The stripe pattern of each tiger is unique. They have strong legs and sharp claws. Tigers living in northern climates have lighter coats. It is believed that these paler coats were developed to increase their ability to blend in with snow.

 

Habitat

Tigers live in savannahs, swamps, rocky country woodland and forests. They prefer places with cover. 

 

Feeding Habits

Tigers hunt by stalking, and need to eat hoofed animals such as deer and wild pigs to remain healthy, although fish, birds, lynx and bears round out their diet. Tigers hunt alone, creeping up on their prey until they are 32 to 80 feet (10 to 15 m) away, then pouncing and killing it with a bite to the neck or by holding it by the throat. Tigers are only successful in one or two attempts of every 20, so they need to spend a good portion of the night hunting. When tigers successfully catch prey, they drag it to a safe place and cover it up, returning to eat from it for several days. Tigers can eat up to 70 pounds (32 kg) of food in one day, and then not eat again for several days. 

 

Reproduction

Mating can occur year round, and the female undergoes a three to four month pregnancy before giving birth to two to six cubs in a den within a cave, hollow tree or dense vegetation. The cubs are born with their eyes shut and weigh two to three pounds. Their eyes open at two weeks, and they are fully weaned at six months.The mother begins taking them on kills at two months and by 18 months, the cubs will begin to make their own kills. She keeps training them until they reach approximately two years. The cubs leave her side to establish their own territories at three years. 

 

Behaviour

Male tigers live alone and their territory may be up to 62 square miles (100 sq km) or more, depending on the accessibility of hoofed prey. Females have smaller territories and several may live within the range of one male. Both females and males mark their territories with urine and droppings, as well as scratch marks on trees. They often hunt alone, but occasionally may be seen in groups. They are good swimmers and will lie in water to keep cool during hot weather. 

 

Conservation

At the end of the 19th century, more than 100,000 tigers lived in the wilds of Asia. Hunting and encroachment on their territories by humans have caused these numbers to decline. It is believed only 150 to 300 Siberian tigers remain in the wild. 

 

Sources

http://www.primenet.com/~brendel/tiger.html

http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/tiger.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/11234/tiger.html?tqskip1=1&tqtime=0227

http://www.wcco.com/partners/mnzoo/tiger.html

http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/2331/

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/panthera/p._tigris_altaica$narrative.html

http://www.seaworld.org/infobooks/Tiger/physchartiger.html

http://lynx.uio.no/catfolk/sp_accts.htm

http://www.tigerspaw.org/tigers/siberian/default.htm

http://www.taipei.org/tiger98.htm

http://www.lairweb.org.nz/tiger/hunting2.html

http://www.techteens.org/TTIP01y1/abel_amber_christopher/amber.htm

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Jungle/3591/tigersbrn.html

Siberian Tiger Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US