Tigers (Panthera tigris) are the largest and most powerful of all cats. They are extremely agile despite their size. Tigers are able to jump 26 to 32 feet in a single barrier. They are also among the best known cats, as they have a distinctive orange fur, black stripes and white marks. Tigers are native to South and Southeast Asia, China and the Russian Far East, although their habitat and numbers have shrunk rapidly.

Scientific name: Panthera Tigris
Common name: Tiger
Basic group of animals: mammal
Size: 3-3.5 feet high at the shoulders, 4.6-9.2 feet long including head and body, 2-3 feet tail length
Weight: 220-675 pounds depending on subspecies and gender
Lifetime: 10-15 years
Diet: Carnivore
Habitat: South and Southeast Asia, China and the Russian Far East.
Population: 3,000-4,500
Conservation status: Endangered

Tigers vary in color, size and labeling according to their subspecies. Bengal tigers living in the forests of India have the typical tiger appearance with a dark orange fur, black stripes and a white lower abdomen. Siberian tigers, the largest of all tiger subspecies, have a lighter color and a thicker coat, allowing them to weather the harsh, cold temperatures of the Russian taiga.

Bengal tiger at Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India
Gannet77 / Getty Images
Habitat and distribution
Historically, tigers have occupied a range extending from the eastern part of Turkey to the Tibetan Plateau, Manchuria and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. Today, tigers occupy only about seven percent of their former range. More than half of the remaining wild tigers live in the forests of India. Smaller populations remain in China, Russia and parts of Southeast Asia.

Tigers inhabit a variety of habitats such as evergreen lowland forests, taiga, grasslands, tropical forests and mangrove swamps. They usually need habitats with forests or meadows, water resources and enough territory to feed their prey.

Tigers are carnivores. They are nocturnal hunters who feed on large prey such as deer, cattle, wild boar, rhinos and elephants. They also supplement their diet with smaller prey such as birds, monkeys, fish and reptiles. Tigers also feed on carrion.

Tigers are lonely land cats. They occupy a floor area, which is usually between 200 and 1000 square kilometers. Women occupy smaller living areas than men. Tigers often set up several caves on their territory. They are not watery cats; In fact, they are skilled swimmers capable of crossing medium-sized rivers. As a result, water rarely represents a barrier to them.

Tigers are just one of four types of big cats that can roar.