Glasgow Zoo Park
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Tigers
Butu and daughter
Ayeesha - alert as ever!
© Andy Smyth, Photographer.


Physical Attributes

  • A tiger weights from 180-260 kg; a tigress is lighter.
  • Hindlimbs - longer than the forelimbs (to aid leaping).
  • Effective camouflage for forest habitat, both in dark shadow and bright sunlight.
  • Well developed senses - especially eyesight including reflecting layer (or tapetum) behind retina, assisting night vision.
  • Powerful shoulders and forelimbs
  • Short head makes possible powerful biting and shearing by cheek teeth.
  • Long, sharp retractable claws, aiding grabbing and holding.
  • Unique stripe pattern, much like human fingerprints.

Lifestyle

Tigers eat by preference, large hoofed prey - axis deer, gaur (jungle bison), marsh deer, sambar, wild pigs, but smaller prey if necessary. A tigress will make perhaps 50 kills a year (depending on size of prey), or more if she has young to feed.

Tigers hunt alone, and get as close to their prey as possible unobserved. Then they break cover, reach the prey as quickly as possible from behind or the side, knocking it over often suffocating it with a bite on the neck or muzzle. A tiger may cover 12 miles in a night's hunting. Many of the attacks will be unsuccessful.

Tigers occupy home ranges or territories - they mark their area by spraying with urine and anal gland secretions, leaving faeces and scrapes, and scratching trees. By these signs, they inform other tigers they are in residence. A male's range overlaps several females' ranges.

Flehmen Behaviour Observed and Explained
Here we can see a previous tiger of Glasgow Zoopark exhibiting "Flehmen", a wrinkling of the nose and lips in response to an olfactory stimulus usually the urine of a female. There is no English equivalent of this word which is widely recognised throughout the world. In addition to the nose, cats have scent receptors and pores at the side of, and in, the mouth, making them prone to this at critical times.
Flehmen exhibited
Threats to Tigers

Tigers at Glasgow Zoo

Bengal Tigers

A tale of two Tigers

Tiger Poem

Butu's Colouring and Genetics