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The Tiger

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The Tiger


The Tiger is often described as a particularly dangerous, sly, and
invincible predator. The Tiger is the largest of the cat family. They have
powerful bodies, large paws, and very sharp claws. The head of the Tiger is
rounded and has a convex profile. The ears are black with white in the middle.
The Tiger's eyes are a yellowish-orange color, but at night they almost look
green. Coloration of the Tiger is reddish yellow or rust- brown on the upper
side, and a whitish under side. There is prominent beard like growth of hair on
the cheeks, and they may have a short neck mane. There body is covered with
heavy black stripes ( Grzinek's Animal Life Encyclopedia 1972).

     During the day a Tiger may rest in the shade, or lie in a quiet pool of
water to escape the heat. Tigers like water, and are very good swimmers.
Northern Tigers undertake long migrations. These migrations occur when epidemics
wipe out the prey populations. This type of migrations happens often.
Temperatures down to -45 degrees Celsius are not harmful and do not dampen their
activities ( Mammals Multimedia Encyclopedia 1990).

     Tigers usually live and hunt alone. When they hunt they can leap 5 to 6
or jump as far as 10 meters. Tigers do not usually prey on people, but some do
become man eaters. If a Tiger becomes a man eater it is because of a wound,
weakness, or just because it is to old. The young accompany their mother on the
hunt when they are 5 to 6 months of age. Tigers begin to hunt alone when they
are just eleven months old. Before the young can hunt alone, the mother will
demonstrate how it is done(Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia 1993).

     Tigers usually prey on deer wild cattle called gore, and wild pigs.
Whenever humans have domestic animals, Tigers will feed on cattle, horses, sheep,
and goats. A cattle eating Tiger will kill an ox about every 5 days, or from 60
to 70 a year. If a tiger has trouble finding food it will eat birds eggs or
berries. If a Tiger can not find any kind of food at all, it will eat any kind
of flesh it can find( Grzinek's Animal Life Encyclopedia 1972).

Tigers have only three major requirements:they need large prey,water,and
cover.An adult tiger requires 12 pounds at a time, but it may eat as much as 60
pounds in one night.A tigress with three young require 280 kg of meat every
twenty days.At times a tiger must go without food,or will have to make do with
small animals.In many areas tigers have to kill much more than this amount
because people often chase them away from kills.The tiger attemps to pull dead
prey near water.As a tiger feeds,it often inerrupts the meal by going over to a
body of water and drinking a large amount.(Grzinek's Animal Life Encyclopedia
1972)

Tigers live in Asia,and can not be found on any other continent. Tigers
prefer damp,thickly overgrown places such as dense jungles, andriver banks
covered with reeds or brush.They like to prowl rainforests,woodedhillsides,and
swamps in many parts of Asia.They only survive in parts of that range.(Compton's
Interactive Encyclopedia 1993)

The limit of hunting territories permits sufficient distance between
individuals,lowering the frequency of fights between males competing for
females.Males will not tollerate a male staying in his territory,but he will
allow other males to pass through the area.A female will not defend her
territory,because to a female a territory is just a hunting area.Tigers stay in
their dens when they are not hunting.The dens are constructed beneath fallen
trees or rocks,in the earth and stone cavities,or in rotting thickets.A tiger
usually has several dens in a territory,using whichever one is closest when one
is needed.The den is not visited daily or regularly.A tiger mother with cubs
will stay at a den until the young can walk with her on hunting raids.(Mamals
Multimedia Encyclopedia 1990)

Tigers can breed at any time of the year,but they mostly breed in winter
or spring.After 95-112 days the tigress bears 2to4 young or at the most 7.The
young usually weigh anywhere from 800-1500 grams at birth.Their eyes open by the
tenth day.The cubs first leave their den when they are 2 months old.After six
months of age the young begin going along with their mother on hunts.The cubs
have their permanent teeth when they are about one year old.Tigers first hunt
alone when they are eleven months old.A tigress usually bears young every three
to four years.In the north they bear young every four to five years.The young
normally stay with their mother for two or three years,and then go out on their
own.(Grzinek's Animal Life Encyclopedia 1972)

When a male tiger is full grown it can weigh as much as 500lbs. Males
can grow to be as long as 7ft. long.They also may get a tail as long as 3ft.The
total body length of a full grown male is around 11ft. (Compton's Interactive
Encyclopedia 1993)

The tiger needs sufficient cover,so that it can creep to within 10-
25meters of its prey unnoticed,after the tiger suprises its prey with a sudden
attack.If possible,the tiger creeps 2-4 meters away and grabs the prey after a
quick leap,it will pursue its prey for 100-200meters.If it has not caught the
prey by then it gives up,and most of the time the tiger fails to catch the
animal it was after.Small prey is killed by a nape bite.Larger prey,that have
heavier vertebrae,powerful horns,or dangerous antlers, are killed by a bite to
the throat either from the side or from below.Powerful prey such as water
buffalo are bitten on the skin and scratched with the paws.Tigers kill elephants
when they are able to accomplish such a feat,by jumping on the animals
back,biting and pawing at the head,neck,and back,and then killing it by biting
through the throat.(Grzinek's Animal Life Encyclopedia 1972)

Beauty ,mystery,and strength are all qualities for which the tiger has
been admired and feared .In some myths,the tiger,with its striking pattern of
stripes, is the king of beasts. But in most stories, the tiger is a demon.
Because of the animal's reputation as a dangerous foe, those who hunted the
tiger were respected for their bravery.

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