The Bengal Tiger, or Panthera Tigris, is one of the most majestic creations of Mother Nature. The Royal Bengal Tiger is a sub-species of the tiger family and inhabits regions in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and Southern Tibet. For its grace, beauty and strength, India has picked this big cat as its National Animal. Here we put together some interesting facts about the tiger.
1. A full grown male Bengal Tiger can weigh up to 420 pounds.
The sheer size of this big cat can hold you in awe. A full sized Bengal Tiger can attain nine feet in length. The female tigress, however, is smaller in comparison to the male and mostly weighs around 310 pounds. Tigresses rarely grow beyond 8 feet in length.
2. They have enormous power.
The powerful structure of a Bengal Tiger enables them to drag a prey for almost a mile, even though the prey may be heavier than his own weight.
3. The white Bengal Tiger is a rarity.
A white Bengal Tiger with black stripes is because of gene mutation and not because they are albino.
4. The Bengal Tiger has the longest canine among meat-eating mammals.
Canines in Bengal Tigers can grow to four inches and are larger than that of a lion. These powerful creatures also have retractable claws which allow them to climb. Their vision is superior to many animals and they have excellent hearing ability.
5. Bengal Tigers are solitary animals.
They prefer the low lands and are often seen in grasslands, swamps and mangroves. These solitary animals usually come together during the mating season. Sometimes, they can be spotted living in groups of three to four tigers.
6. The Bengal Tigers mark large territory.
They may appear to be lazy animals, sleeping and resting by day, but when in action, tigers are known to traverse large distances, protecting and marking a territory that can extend to as much as 200 square miles sometimes.
7. The Bengal Tigers do climb trees.
These bulky animals are not suited to climbing trees, but in pursuit of a prey, they can clim up a tree, though they appear clumsy while doing so.
8. They are great swimmers.
The Bengal mangrove ecosystem is a rich habitat for these tigers and they have adapted by being ardent swimmers. A prey cannot escape their powerful jaws even in the waters.
9. Their favorite preys are wild boars, deer, antelope and water buffaloes.
But when the need arises, they can prey on monkeys, peacocks, crocodiles, wolves, leopards and even young elephants. Basically anything that moves around can be food, when a tiger is hungry.
10. Trained killers, they are quick at finishing off a prey.
One forceful attack and the prey has nowhere to run, for the tigers has such power that it can snap the spinal cord in one jerk or a grip of the throat simply draws the life out of any animal held there.
11. The Bengal Tiger is a voracious meat-eater.
This big cat can eat 30 to 40 kg of meat in one meal and then feel no need to hunt for another three weeks.
12. The female tigress delivers a litter of three to five cubs.
Female Bengal Tigers mature at three years of age. The gestation period lasts for about three months. The Bengal Tiger can live for almost 25 years in captivity and a little less in the wild.
13. Blind at birth, a newborn cub weighs less than two pounds.
It’s hard to believe that the large cat at birth is a helpless and small animal. The male cubs stay with their mothers till they leave at about two years of age. The female cubs on growing up choose to stay in the territory of the mother.
14. Bengal Tigers are highly endangered animals.
These majestic animals are struggling to survive in wild because of reduced habitat and the looming threat from poachers. Their population is believed to have dwindled down to just about 1,300.
15. East Asian markets fuel an illegal trade of Bengal Tiger parts.
Every part of these tigers, right from their claws to their eyes are sold for a fortune in this market.
16. They have a mighty roar.
A Bengal Tiger roar can be heard two miles away.
17. A census estimated that there were 440 of them in Bangladesh, 253 in Nepal and about 80 in Bhutan.
However, this census methodology has been contested.
18. There’s been only one case recorded when a complete black tiger was found in Chittagong in 1846.
19. The oldest Bengal Tiger fossil was found in Sri Lanka and it has been dated to 16,500 years.
20. Bengal Tigers do turn to man-eaters.
They are known to kill humans for food when prey becomes scarce or when they become old and weak.