Since the Tiger King’s release last month, the Internet has been full of references to the series about Joe Exotic and his friends. The essence of the series, the tigers, is sometimes forgotten. So it’s high time to share your knowledge about the most popular Big Cat of the moment. These are 10 facts you did not know about tigers.
1. They are the largest cats
When we talk about “the king of the animal kingdom”, it is usually the lion who is awarded this title. A bit strange since the Bengal tiger is the largest feline in the world. A male tiger can grow up to 3.10 meters in length and weigh 258 kilograms. The females would also look like “queens of the animal kingdom”. They link a length of 2.65 meters to a maximum weight of 160 kilograms. More than enough to completely crush you!
2. Barely half of the tiger cubs survive
As is the case with more mammals, tiger cubs are also born blind. Because they see nothing, they are completely dependent on the smell of their mother. Weakened cubs that cannot keep up with their mother do not have too high a life expectancy. About half of the tiger cubs do not survive the early stages after birth. They often die of famine or hypothermia. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, some of them are even eaten by male tigers. They do this to make tigresses available for cover. Not very tactful if you ask us!
3. They can reproduce with other big cats
Tigers can reproduce with other large cats such as lions. The best known example of this is the “liger”, a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. The animal is the largest feline and can weigh up to 450 kilograms, which is twice as much as most lions and tigers. Another, rarer variant is the “teeuw”. This arises from a lovemaking between a male tiger and a lioness. Although the animals only occur in captivity, they are usually in good health. However, there are also many people against breeding these hybrid strains. For example, genetic diseases could develop in the long term, which could make the animals infertile.
4. Their saliva has an antiseptic effect
When it comes to animals with medicinal gifts, we usually think of exotic snakes or other reptiles. Yet the tiger also has hidden powers. Many animal species use their saliva to clean their wounds, but the tiger takes it a step further. His saliva not only cleans, but also has disinfectant properties. A lick of a tiger can therefore suffice to disinfect your abrasion, although we do not recommend it immediately!
5. Their skin is also striped
It may not surprise you that every tiger has a unique stripe pattern, but that’s not all! The stripes of the tiger are printed on their skin, making them visible on a bare piece of skin. You will also see a unique barcode when you shave your own house cat. However, we strongly advise against trying this at home!
6. You will never hear them growl
Contrary to popular belief, a tiger rarely, if ever, growls. The striped animals growl only to communicate with each other over a long distance. So the chances are very small that you will ever hear a tiger roar at you. Even when threatened, tigers produce very few decibels. Instead, they make a blowing sound similar to that of a domestic cat.
7. They eat everything, even other cats
Tigers have a very varied diet. They eat just about everything that comes their way. From rodents and fish to rhinos and crocodiles, they are all on their menu. In some cases, tigers even eat other large cats, such as leopards. So no picky eaters, although we as humans do not have to fear them directly. Tigers only attack people when they feel threatened. So the message is to stay away from them.
8. They mimic the call of other animals
We would rather attribute this trait to a parrot, but tigers also prove to be excellent imitators. Tigers can mimic the call of other animals and love to use the trait when hunting. One of the sounds that tigers imitate is that of a wild deer. With this they manage to trap both the deer and their attackers. Other tigers use their talent for very different purposes. Like the tiger in the tiger in this video, which mimics the sound of passing cars!
9. Their urine has the smell of popcorn with butter
Tigers are one of many felines that delimit their territory with urine. In the case of such a big cat, expect a hugely present and bigoted smell. Nothing is less true. The smell of a tiger’s urine is said to resemble popcorn with butter. Special, but not the best way to keep people at a distance!
10. They have a great memory
A tiger is not immediately associated with the smartest animals on Earth. This is unjustified because the striped four-legged friend can remember a lot better than humans. It is estimated that a tiger remembers thirty times as long as a human. So the ideal witnesses in the case of Carole Baskin and her missing husband, although they must first learn to speak.