Bengal tiger, which is also known as the Royal Bengal tiger or Indian tiger, is one of the eight subspecies of tiger primarily found in the Indian subcontinent.
It is the tiger subspecies with the largest population. Bengal tiger is considered to be the second-largest tiger in the world.
Bengal tigers are renowned for their power and strength. The Bengal tiger has a yellow or light orange coat, with black or dark brown stripes, tail with black rings, and a white belly. Its roar is so loud that it can be heard up to a 3 km radius.
Panthera tigris Tigris is the scientific name for Bengal tiger. Bengal tiger is native to Asia and is found in dense forests in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. India has the maximum number of Bengal tigers. Bengal Tiger stripes are unique to each individual just like human fingerprints.
Bengal tiger is a powerful hunter and it preys on deer, buffalo, wild boar, wild pigs, and other mammals. Bengal tigers can ingest up to 40 kilograms of food on a single occasion. An average lifespan of the Bengal tiger is 18-25 years. Due to habitat loss and hunting, the Bengal tiger has been classified as an endangered species.
Some Interesting Facts About the Bengal Tiger
1. Physical Description
Bengal tiger is considered to be the largest species of the tiger after the Siberian tiger. They have strong teeth and jaws that make them a great hunter of the wild. The average weight of a male is 220 kg and body length is 3 meters. The Female weighs around 140 kg with a body length of around 2.5 meters. Its coat is yellow to light orange, and the stripes range from dark brown to black. The tail is white with black rings on it and the belly is white. They are best known for their sheer speed and incredible strength. The striking striped appearance makes them unique among all tiger species.
Bengal tigers live in both tropical and dry forests, mangroves, grasslands. They are the only tiger species that are known to thrive in mangrove habitat. They prefer living in areas without excessive human populations, far away from human society.
Bengal tiger is primarily found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh but India has most numbers in the wild. They are also present in some areas of Burma and China. As of now, their number is less than 3500 due to habitat loss and poaching. Most of them are protected and kept in national parks and conservation areas.
Bengal tiger is the dominant and carnivorous predator. It hunts on deer, wild boar, wild buffalo, chital, and other mammals. They are capable of eating up to 40kg in one sitting but don’t do this very often. It has no natural predators because of its size and hunting power.
They stalk their prey and wait for the right opportunity to attack to catch it off guard. Bengal tiger possesses strong teeth and jaws which makes the great hunters. The stripes on their body offer camouflage, which helps to hide them hence aids in hunting. While hunting, they can reach speed up to 65 km per hour.
4. They are Night Hunters
Like other tigers, Bengal tigers are also active during the night. They rest in the shade during the day preserving energy for hunts at night. Tiger is solidity hunter, unlike lions that hunt in packs. They quietly stalk their prey until they are close enough to pounce then they attack their victim with a bite to the neck. Night vision of these creatures is 6 times than that of humans and hearing is 5 times more.
5. The Unique Stripes
Like human fingerprints, Bengal tiger’s stripers are unique to each individual and no two tigers have the same match. Black, grey, or brown coloured stripes run vertically down all its body and tail have black rings on it. Just like humans, Bengal tigers can be differentiated with the help of unique stripes. They not only have stipe pattern on furs but are also present on the skin. These stripes help the tiger hunt in the dark because they camouflage them in the trees and bushes.
Female Bengal tiger is only fertile for 4 or 5 days out of an entire year usually in the months from December to April. Male achieves sexual maturity between the ages of 3 to 5 while females between the ages of 3 to 4.The female give birth to 1 to 4 cubs at a time. Like other cats, the cubs are blind for the first week. They are dependent on the mother until they are about 18 months old and learn hunting during that time. After the age of 2 or 3, they begin their solitary life.
7. Bengal Tiger Is in Danger of Extinction
Bengal tiger has been classified as endangered species by IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature). Bengal tiger is near extinction as there is less than 2500 tiger left in the wild. Due to habitat loss and poaching, the number has been significantly dropped in the last few years. Bengal tigers are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in medicinal purposes. As of now, all the Bengal tigers are protected in national parks and reserve areas to prevent them from extinction.
Bengal tiger is a solitary animal that rests in the shade during the day, conserving energy for their hunts at night. They regularly patrol their territory and mark the borders with urine. Their territory can expand up to 100 square kilometres.
Despite their heavy body, Bengal Tigers can climb trees for their prey. The tigers will never roar while fighting instead they hiss and the only roar when calling another tiger form a distance. They sometimes hunt domesticated animals and can even kill humans if they feel threatened.
9. They Can Swim
Unlike most members of the cat family, Bengal tiger like water and enjoys cooling off in rivers and streams. Tigers are great swimmers. A Bengal tiger can swim up to 4 miles at a time. Even cubs will play in the shallow water and will even bathe themselves in rivers.
10. An Important Part of the Ecosystem
Bengal tiger plays an important role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. Tigers are a top predator that is at the apex of the food chain and helps to balance the ecosystem by controlling the prey population. The leftovers of its prey are food for the wild foxes, birds, reptiles, and other carnivores. It maintains a balance between the herbivores and the vegetation they consume. Hence tigers are responsible for balancing the ecosystem.
11. White Bengal tiger
It is one of the subspecies of the Bengal tiger that is white with black stripes. The unique white colour is due to the rare gene mutation. White Bengal tigers are extinct from nature due to trophy hunting and poaching.
12. Cultural values
Bengal tigers are part of many cultures. Tiger is the national animal of India. In some parts of India, Bengal tigers have been worshipped for many years. Bangladeshi banknotes feature a Bengal tiger. In China, tigers considered protectors of good people. Tiger symbolizes strength and courage in Japanese culture. Many professional sports teams use the tiger as their mascot.