Last Reviewed and Updated on July 19, 2022
Tigers are the largest and one of the most dangerous cats on Earth. They’re also beautiful and majestic beings, with their signature black striped coats. But how much do you really know about these wild beasts? Read through these facts interesting about tigers to learn more about these wild cats.
1. Tigers are the largest living cats
When thinking about the sizes of felines you may think the lion is the largest one, however, the crown goes to the tiger. They grow to up to 10 feet / 3 meters long (including the tail), much like lions do but they are heavier than lions.
2. They are endangered
This is one of the facts about tigers that we should always keep in mind! They are endangered and while their numbers increased in 2022 after more than a century of their numbers declining, this is still not something we can be proud of.
3. Breeding a tiger and a lion can produce a fertile offspring
Ligers are the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. The offspring of the tiger make and a lion female is called the tigon. Ligers and tigons are usually larger than tigers and lions, they possess characteristics of both animals.
Most male ligers and tigons are sterile, however, the females are sometimes fertile.
As female ligers and tigons can be fertile, the second generation of hybrids is possible although it’s rare. Litigons and liligers are hybrids from female tigons or ligers and lions. Titigons and tiligers are hybrids between tigers and female tigons or ligers.
4. Sad tiger fact: there are more captured tigers than there are in the wild
This is one of the facts about tigers we can’t be proud of. There are more captive tigers across the globe, in zoos, privately owned and in private breeding facilities than there are tigers in the wild.
5. The tiger’s coat pattern is still visible when they are shaved
If you were to shave a tiger, the striped pattern would still be visible. This isn’t because they would have markings on the skin but because of the colored hair follicles embedded in the skin.
Think this is weird? Check out some of the weirdest facts about animals.
6. There are 3 main color variations – orange, gold, and white
Orange and gold tigers are most common. White tigers are leucistic variations of orange and gold tigers, most white tigers are in captivity although they have been reported in the wild as well.
A rarer black tiger mutation is also possible. These tigers have really wide black stripes, giving them an almost pure black looking fur.
7. Tigers don’t purr
One of the most distinctive traits of domestic cats is their purring. But not all felines purr and tigers are one of those. They are unable to purr due to the anatomy of their skull and larynx.
8. Unlike most domestic felines, tigers like bathing in water
Domestic cats mostly hate water but tigers and many other big cats are quite fond of it. They will swim and cool off in watering holes and rivers.
9. They are excellent swimmers
This is one of the coolest facts about tigers. Not only do they like water, but they are also excellent swimmers. They are muscular and have webbed paws which makes swimming pretty easy for them. They have been observed swimming long distances, easily swimming more than a few miles/kilometers.
10. Orange and gold tigers have yellow eyes and white tigers have blue
The majority of tigers have yellow or amber eyes, however, white tigers usually have light blue eyes.
The blue eyes are a result of the same gene mutation that is causing their fur to be white.
11. Adult tigers are mostly solitary
Tigers are mostly solitary animals, when you see more tigers in a group it is usually a female with her cubs and they may be occasionally accompanied by the male father.
On rare occasions, tigers that aren’t related can form temporary groups.
12. A group of tigers is called an ambush or a streak
For an ambush predator, it’s only fitting a group of them would be called an ambush.
13. Tiger cubs are born blind
Baby tigers are born blind and aren’t able to see until they are at least a week old, and even then their vision will be poor. It will take a couple of weeks more for their vision to fully develop. They depend on their mother completely.
14. They ambush their prey
If you are a cat owner you know how feline ambushes look, albeit the tigers are usually stealthier than your cat is. Tigers ambush their prey, they prefer to get as close to the prey as possible or let the prey get close to them before they will launch at it.
They are capable of sprinting at high speeds but can’t chase fast prey over long distances.
15. Each tiger has a unique pattern
Just like a fingerprint of a human or stripes of a zebra, each tiger has a unique pattern of its fur.
16. Fights between tigers can result in the death of a tiger
When they fight, the fights can get pretty serious. The most serious fights take place over females.
17. Tigers can kill their offspring
Not the coolest of facts about tigers, but a true one. You might be aware of male tigers killing cubs that aren’t their own in order to mate with the female and then have their own cubs (there were exceptions to this observed as well).
Male as well as female tigers may also kill their own cubs, if the cubs behave strangely (out of the norm) or if they have a physical disability.