Everything You Want To Know About Baby Tigers
While there once were nine different types of baby tigers to be found in the world, today there are only six with two that have numbers diminishing at a rapid rate. Tigers are the largest cat in the Felidae family. They are obligate carnivores and apex predators and by far one of the most stunning creatures on the planet.
Baby tigers can be born year round but typically, mating most often occurs between November and April. Female tigers are receptive for three to four days so during that time, mating is very frequent. Like other cats, when a pair copulates, it is extremely noisy.
Gestation period is approximately 16 weeks and litter size averages 3 to 4 baby tigers, also called cubs. When born, they weigh right around 2.2 pounds. They are blind and completely helpless, relying entirely on their mother to take care of them.
It is not uncommon for unrelated male tigers to come around and kill the cubs. They do this so the female will become receptive again since she can have another litter five months later if hers are gone. Mortality rate for baby tigers is extremely high and at least half do not survive past two years old.
Every litter typically has one dominant cub which can be either sex but most often is male. This cub dominates the other siblings while playing and is more active than the others. This is also usually the first cub to leave.
The cubs begin following their mother at eight weeks old out of their den however, they do not tag along while she roams far from home until they are a bit older. By 18 months old, they are independent but still remain with their mother until they are at least the age of 2. Females reach their sexual maturity between three and four years old but males are not sexually mature until they are four or five years old.
Interestingly, a female will give birth to almost an equal number of female and male baby tigers throughout her life.
Types Of Baby Tigers
- Siberian Tiger – Also called the Amur tiger, these cats are found primarily in Russia as well as part of North Korea and China. They inhabit thick forests, covered with snow and there are believed to be less than 350 alive in the wild. The Siberian tiger is paler in color and has brown stripes rather than black ones. They are easily recognized for their abundance of white fur around their neck and they are the world’s largest cat.
- Bengal Tiger – Found in diverse environments from hot swamps to cold Himalayan forests to both wet and dry forests. Bengal tigers are native to Nepal, India, Burma, Bhutan and Bangladesh. They have narrow brown, gray or black stripes patterned out on their reddish-orange fur. There are at least 3,500 in the wild.
- Indochinese Tiger – Native to Thailand, Burma, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia, these tigers live either in hilly or forested areas. There are less than 1,000 Indochinese tigers left in the wild. They are dark yellow to reddish-orange with dark gray or black stripes.
- Malayan Tiger – There are only around 500 of these tigers left and they are found only in the Malaysian area of the Malay peninsula, inhibiting hilly forests since their former low forests were cleared away for palm oil and rubber plantations. They look almost identical to the Indochinese tiger.
- Amoy Tiger – Also called the South China tiger, they are found in moist forests of China. They have short, widely-spaced, broad stripes and they are critically endangered with only 25 left in the wild.
- Sumatran Tiger – Native to the island of Sumeria in lowlands, mountains and forests, they are the smallest and darkest tigers and also are critically endangered with only a little over 200 left in the wild.