Siberian Tiger

P.t.altaica_Tomak_Male

Profile

The Siberian tiger, also called the Amur tiger or the Ussuri tiger, is an extremely rare mammal living in southeastern Russia and northeastern China. These animals are orange with black stripes Panthera_tigris_altaica_dark_worldand a white underside. Their stripes are like human fingerprints. No two tigers have the same stripe pattern. Although tigers are often thought of as dangerous to humans, there are very few records of a Siberian tiger attacking a human. In 2007, one of these animals escaped from a zoo and killed a person that had been annoying it. Because they live in such a cold climate, Siberian tigers have a very thick layer of fur. On their throat and abdomen this hair can reach up to four inches (10 cm) thick!

Size

The Siberian tiger is arguably the largest cat in the world! Males, which are larger than females, can grow up to 11 feet (3.3 m) long not including the tail. Their tails can add another three feet (.9 m) onto their length! The maximum weight for these animals is about 700 pounds (320 kg) for the males and 400 pounds (180 kg) for females. Siberian tigers’ average weight is much less, being about 400 pounds (180 kg) for males and 265 pounds (120 kg) for females. The maximum distance across the paws is about six inches (15 cm) for males and four inches (10 cm) for females.

Diet

Siberian tigers, as with all big cats, are carnivores, eating other animals. They hunt mainly at night when they ambush their prey. Their main prey include wild boar and deer. Other animals that these tigers may eat include badgers, raccoon dogs, and even bears! Although young brown bears are the most common bears to fall prey to these tigers, there are some rare cases where an adult bear has been killed and eaten by a tiger. Adult Amur tigers need on average twenty pounds (9 kg) of meat each day. If they are not able to eat for several days, they may eat up to 200 pounds (90 kg) of meat in one day! When prey is scarce, these tigers may eat monkeys, birds, frogs, and fish. Since only about one out of ten hunting attempts are successful, Siberian tigers must hunt a lot in order to get enough food.

Status and threats

The IUCN ranks the Siberian tiger as endangered. In the past Siberian tigers had a much larger range, and now they do not even inhabit Siberia, the land for which they were named. Humans are the only predators of Siberian tigers. People use these animals for their meat, skin, and bones. They are also used in some traditional Chinese medicines. The biggest threat to these animals, however, is logging resulting in habitat loss. Prey is often scarce, therefore Siberian tigers sometimes resort to killing and eating livestock. Humans of course do not appreciate their livestock being killed, and these people sometimes kill the tigers to protect their livestock. The estimated wild population of the Amur tiger is only 350 to 500 individuals.

Conservation

The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) has a goal that by 2022, the next year of the tiger, the Amur tiger population and its range will both be doubled. They plan to do this by protecting the habitat of these tigers and protecting their prey, among others plans.

Mating and young

Siberian tigers are normally solitary, but when a female is ready to mate, she attracts males by roaring and marking her territory with a special fluid. This liquid tells the males that a female nearby is ready to mate. If multiple males approach the female at the same time, the males will fight among themselves to determine who gets to mate with the female. About three and a half months after mating, the female normally gives birth to three babies. Up to six babies can be born at once. Before giving birth, the female will hide in a sheltered spot to give birth. For the first few weeks of life, the young tigers, called kittens, stay near the den. After about two months, the kittens follow the mother on hunting trips, and at the age of eighteen months, they can hunt on their own. They stay with their mother for about two to three years, at which age they find their own territory and are ready to mate. In the wild, Amur tigers are estimated to live up to 15 years, and in captivity they live up to 22 years. The oldest captive Siberian tiger known died at the age of 35 years.

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Sources:

Photo credits:

  • Siberian tiger – Appaloosa
  • Siberian tiger range – Public domain
  • Mystery animal – Magnus Manske

2 Responses

  1. Sharon Madson
    Sharon Madson at |

    Wow! They get large! Too bad they are endangered. Thanks for all the good info.

  2. Charis Dwire
    Charis Dwire at |

    Looks like some sort of falcon!

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