The Tiger is one of the most impressive of the mammals, both for its strength and appearance. There are 5 living sub-species of tigers, but they are very similar in habits, diet, and basic physical appearance. Tigers can be brown with orange and black stripes all over the body or white with reddish-brown stripes. They have very sharp teeth and strong jaws to hunt and kill their prey. The smallest tiger is the Sumatran: it weighs between 230 and 300 pounds. In contrast, the largest type is the Indian tiger weighing between 350 to 550 pounds! Tigers are between 7 to 12 feet long.

Tigers are found throughout Asia. They need to live in large, open areas with nearby forests to hide in, water, and enough food. Tigers eat almost only meat: they hunt wild boar, deer, cattle, gazelle, and other grassland animals. Unlike some other mammals, the tiger hunts alone. It will start as the sun goes down for the evening, following its prey for up to 20 miles. Once the prey is in sight, the tiger will creep up behind it and then pounce in attack with its front paws and teeth. This attack is so quick that the prey has little chance of escape. Then the tiger will drag the dead animal to a quiet spot and eat. Did you know that a tiger needs between 30 to 40 pounds of meat a day?

Tigers also live alone; the only exception is a mother caring for her cubs. But they are aware of the other tigers living in their territory by scent marks and can identify outsiders. Tigers meet to mate and then separate. Female tigers carry their cubs for 3 to 4 months before live tiger cubs are born. Usually there are 2 or 3 cubs per birthing. The mother will care for the cubs for up to 2 years, after which they are strong enough to be on their own.

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