100 Incredible Tiger Facts Your Kids Will Love (2023)

Large Tiger resting on wood.

International Tiger Day is July 29th, so there’s no better time to learn about these fascinating big cats.

These amazing animals capture the imagination of humans for their massive size and majestic power.

But did you know that they have antiseptic saliva? That they false eyes on the back of their ears? Or that no two stripe patterns are the same?

Here are 100 surprising and interesting facts about Tigers that your kids will love:


SIZE

  1. Tigers are the largest wild cats in the world. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Male tigers can weigh up to 680 pounds. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. A tiger can stand up to three feet tall! (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Its teeth are four inches long. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. A tiger’s claws can be up to three inches long. (Source: denverzoo.org)
Tiger standing in grass.
Male tigers can weigh up to 680 pounds.
  1. Adult tigers can grow up to 10 feet long. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. A tiger’s tail is three feet long. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies. They also have the narrowest black stripes and have the hardest fur compared to other subspecies. This allows them camouflage more effectively in the Indonesian jungle. (Source: zsl.org)
  1. Tigers are considered a “big cat”, like lions, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)

APPEARANCE

  1. The fur of most tigers is light yellow on the belly and deep yellow or orange on the back. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. Dark stripes cover a tiger’s head, body, and legs. There are also black rings on the tail. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. Some tigers are white with black stripes or all white. Here are some fun facts about White Tigers. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. Tigers have soft toe pads which help them walk silently through their habitat (Source: wwf.org.uk)
Four tigers standing together in the snow.
No two tigers have the same stripes. They are as unique as fingerprints.
  1. During the day, a tiger’s stripes can act as camouflage. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Tigers have distinctive white circular spots on the back of their ears that function as “false eyes”. They make the tiger seem bigger to a potential predator attacking from the rear. (Source: seaworld.org)
  1. No two tigers have the same stripes. They are all unique! Their dark stripes are as unique as human fingerprints. (Source: natgeokids.com)

HABITAT

  1. Tigers are found in the wild in parts of Russia, China, and South and Southeast Asia. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. The country with the largest number of wild tigers is India. Around 3,000 of the world’s wild tigers are in India. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Tigers live in forests, grasslands, and swamps. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. Tigers are solitary animals and prefer to live far apart from on another. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
Tigers can jump up to 32 feet!
  1. In their natural habitat, tigers would ideally need about 20 square miles of space in which to roam, live and hunt. Captive tigers almost never get this much living space.
  1. Tigers mark the trees in their territory with urine and scratches to let other tigers know to stay away. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Tigers can live in the cold. For example, they live in very cold parts of India and Southeast Asia. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)

LIFESPAN

  1. A tiger’s average lifespan in the wild is 8-10 years. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)

FOOD & HUNTING

  1. Tigers are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers like to eat large mammals like deer, antelope, and buffalo. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers generally avoid very large animals such as elephants and bears. They also try to stay away from people. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
Tiger eating meat.
Tigers can bite down with a force of 1,000 pounds.
  1. They are opportunistic predators, so they will also can also eat smaller prey like wild boar, birds, fish, rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and even insects (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Tigers tend to hunt for food alone and at night. They quietly stalk their prey and kill them with a bite to the neck or back of the head. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. They have a a very strong bite. They can bite down with a force of 1,000 pounds. (Source: zsl.org)
  1. Tigers have night vision. Their eyes have a special structure which lets them see 6 times better than a normal human. (Source: facts.net)
  1. A tiger will typically travel 6-12 miles during a night’s hunting. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Tigers can mimic other animal sounds to fool them when they are approaching. (source: facts.net)
  1. Tigers can eat up to 80 pounds of meat in one night. But more often they eat about 12 pounds during one meal. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. If a tiger’s prey is very large, it can take several days for the tiger to finish eating it. 
  1. Tigers are protective over their food, and will drag it to cover before eating it. If it’s large, they cover the carcass with leaves and dirt, and they come back later to eat more. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. A large deer can provide a tiger with one week’s food. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
 A tiger roaring showing very large sharp teeth.
A tiger’s teeth are four inches long and very sharp!
  1. Only one out of every ten hunts is successful for a tiger. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. A tiger’s taste buds cannot recognize sweetness. (Source: facts.net)
  1. A tiger could starve to death in two weeks without the proper amount of food, due to its massive size.
  1. Unlike other big cats, tigers will share their food with others. Male tigers allow female tigers and baby tigers to eat first.

BEHAVIOR

  1. Unlike most cats, tigers are excellent swimmers! They like to cool off in streams. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers are excellent jumpers. They can leap forward 32 feet. (Source: zsl.org)
  1. You can hear a tiger’s roar from three kilometers away. (Source: natgeokids.com)
Tiger running and jumping.
A tiger can run as fast as a car on the highway.
  1. Tigers can run up to 65 km per hour. This powerful animal can run as fast as your car drives on the highway! (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers communicate with grunts, growls, moans, roars, snarls, and hissing. (Source; wwf.org.uk)
  1. A tiger can sleep for 18 hours straight, mostly during the day since they do most of their hunting at night. (Source: facts.net)

SPECIES

  1. There are five subspecies of tigers: the Bengal tiger, South China tiger, Indochinese tiger, Sumatran tiger, and the Amur tiger. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Three subspecies of tiger have become extinct: the Caspian tiger, the Bali tiger, and the Javan tiger. (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers share 96.6% of their DNA with domestic cats like the ones you might have in your house. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Black tigers or “melanistic” tigers, are very rare. They have such thick stripes that they appear to have a solid black coat.
  1.  A group of tigers is known as a “streak” or an “ambush” of tigers.(Source: discovery.uk.com)

CUBS & MATING

  1. Tigers normally come together only during mating season or to hunt large prey. (Source: kids.britannica.com)
  1. Tigers can can have litters of as many as 7 cubs. However, many of them typically will not survive due to disease, lack of food, and predators. (Source: wildlifeinformer.com)
Three newborn tiger cubs with their eyes closed.
Tiger cubs are born completely blind. They can’t see until they are two weeks old.
  1. Tiger cubs are all born with blue eyes. They gradually change into a gold color. The only tigers that maintain their blue eyes are white tigers. Learn more about white tigers. (Source: wildlifeinformer.com)
  1. Sometimes tigers eat their own babies, if they are starving or if the baby cub behaves strangely or has a physical disability. (Source: wildexplained.com)
  1. A male tiger might eat a tiger cub in order to be able to make a female tiger available for mating. (https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/)
  1. Tiger cubs begin eating meat around 6 to 8 weeks old.
Tiger cub walking
Cubs quadruple in size during the first month of their life.
  1. Tiger moms chase their cubs away when they are around two and half year old, when she has a new litter. They have to learn how to survive on their own, and only bout one in seven actually survive this stage. (Source: wildlifeinformer.com)
  1. Newborn tiger cubs weigh between 1.75 to 3.5 lbs. (Source: seaworld.org)
  1. Baby tigers are born blind and are completely dependent on their mother. (Source: seaworld.org)
  1. The tiger cubs’ eyes will open sometime between six to twelve days. (Source: seaworld.org)
  1. Tiger cubs do not have their full vision for two weeks. (Source: seaworld.org)
  1. Cubs quadruple in size during their first month of life! (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
Mother tiger and cub walking in the snow.
A tiger cub stays with its mom for about two years.
  1. Mother tigers care for their cubs until they are a year and half old. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Mating between tigers and lions is not likely to happen in the wild. However, tigers and lions have mated in some zoos. The young of a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon. The young of a female tiger and a male lion is called a liger.

ENDANGERMENT

  1. Hunting and habitat loss have caused the tiger population to decrease by 93% in the last 100 years (Source: natgeokids.com)
  1. Tigers are hunted for their fur and for parts of their body that many people use as medicine. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  1. Their habitat has decreased as humans have used their land for farming and logging. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
Tigers nuzzling each other.
There are only about 3,900 tigers left in the wild today.
  1. There are estimated to be around 3,900 tigers left in the wild. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Tasmanian tigers went extinct in the year 1936 when the last of its kind died at Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo. (facts.net)
  1. There are more captive tigers in the US than there are wild tigers in the world.  (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. Even though they are the most endangered, tigers still outnumber other big cats in terms of their population.

MISC.

  1. A tiger’s tail helps it to keep its balance. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)
  2. Fossil remains of tigers that are 2 million years old have been found in China. (Source: natgeokids.com)
Mother tiger licking her cub with antiseptic saliva.
A tiger’s saliva is antiseptic and can help clean wounds.
  1. Some scientists say that tiger urine smells like buttered popcorn. (Source: wwf.org.uk)
  1. A tiger’s saliva is antiseptic. It helps them groom themselves, keep their fur clean, and clean wounds. (Source: wildlifeconservationtrust.org)

RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMANS

  1. A single strike from a tiger can kill a human. (Source: facts.net)
  1. According to government data published in 2019, between 40 and 50 people are killed by tigers each year.
  1. India declared tigers as the national animal in 1973. (Source: facts.net)
  1. Adult tigers can be sold for up to $10,000 on the black market. (Source: facts.net)

WHITE TIGERS

  1. White Tigers are not a separate species of tiger.

All white tigers are a colour variation of Bengal tigers. Contrary to popular belief, these large cats are not a separate subspecies of tiger.

There is only one tiger species and six tiger subspecies: the Siberian tiger, the Bengal tiger, the South China tiger, the Sumatran tiger, the Indochinese tiger, and the Malayan tiger.

83. White Tigers are also not Siberian Tigers.

White Tigers are are often confused with Siberian Tigers, because when people think of  Siberia, they think of snow. White Tigers are white Bengal Tigers.

84. In the wild, White Tigers are born in 1 in 10,000 births.

White Tigers are only born to parents that both carry the recessive gene for white coloring.

White tiger face up close.
White tigers are born in the wild in one out of every 10,000 births.

85. White fur is a rare genetic mutation.

Having white fur is the result of a very rare genetic mutation. It is caused by the absence of phenomelanin, a pigment found in normal Bengal tigers with orange fur.

86. White fur makes it harder to survive.

Their white coat is not helpful in the wild. It doesn’t provide the tiger with any camouflage, which greatly reduces their chance of survival.

The white fur reduces their ability to stalk prey or avoid other predators.

87. White Tigers have blue eyes.

The gene for blue eyes is linked to the gene for white fur. So while most orange Bengal tigers have yellow eyes, white tigers have blue eyes.

88. White Tigers have crossed eyes.

All white tigers have crossed eyes, whether it shows or not.

The gene that causes the white coat always causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain. 

Because their reaction time is diminished, and they are more dependent on their masters because they can’t see clearly, they are a popular choice with tiger performers.

89. White Tigers are slightly bigger than their orange counterparts.

This size difference is noticeable at birth and seems to continue throughout their lifespan. It is probably linked to the same gene that causes their white fur.

Tiger swimming
Unlike other big cats, tigers can swim well.

90. If you shaved a white tiger, the black stripes are still visible on their skin.

No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. Their dark stripes are as unique as human fingerprints.

91. Their fur can change color.

White Tigers, along with Siamese cats, and Himalayan rabbits, have enzymes in their fur that react to cold temperatures. This causes them to grow darker in the cold.

92. A White Tiger is not an albino tiger.

Contrary to popular belief, a White Tiger is not albino (which is a form that lacks hair and skin color). For a White Tiger to be born, two Bengal tigers with specific recessive genes have to mate.

93. The first recorded sighting of a white tiger was in India between 1561.

The sighting was documented in India in Akbar Nama (a chronicle maintained by the Mughal King Akbar). 

94. The first documented case of a White Tiger being captured was in 1915 in India.

He was caught by the local maharaja (an Indian prince) who kept the tiger until its death.

95. Mohan the Cub is the ancestor of all white tigers in the U.S. today.

In 1951 a white tiger cub was captured in India after being orphaned. His mother and three orange siblings were killed.

He was given to the Maharajah of Rewa (an Indian Prince) who named him Mohan.

Tiger roaring
All tigers are born with blue eyes, but they turn gold. Only white tigers keep their blue eyes.

The Maharaja inbred him with a female tiger to create more white tigers. That means he bred the tiger with close relatives.

Mohini, one of Mohan’s cub, was bought by an American businessman and given to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. 

96. Siegfried and Roy performed with White Tigers in Las Vegas.

Siegfried & Roy were German-American entertainers who were best known for performing with White Tigers in Las Vegas. Their performing career ended in October of 2003 when their White Tiger Mantacore attacked Roy on stage during a performance. He survived the incident.

97. There are no known white tigers in the wild today.

Even thought tigers are meant to be wild animals, there are no known White Tigers in the wild today. The last known wild white tiger was killed in 1958 by a trophy hunter. The last known wild white tiger was killed in 1958.

98. Only around 200 white tigers exist in the world today.

All of them live in captivity in zoos, theme parks, or in exotic pet collections. They are all the results of inbreeding.

There are currently no known white tigers in the wild. (Remember, they only occur in one in 10,000 tiger births).

99. Inbreeding is very harmful to White Tigers.

Inbreeding is when the male and female white tigers are bred with close relatives. Humans in the Inbreeding is when the male and female white tigers are bred with close relatives. Humans in the exotic pet trade do this to their captive white tigers in order to sell the cubs to make money for themselves. Humans who own exotic animal farms do this to make money from people who want to take their photo with White Tiger cubs.

Unfortunately, inbreeding is very harmful to White Tigers. It causes many cubs to die shortly after birth. It also leads to lower average life spans and health problems like impaired vision, heart defects, spinal and facial deformities, and weak immune systems.

100. White Tigers are not an endangered species.

Tigers are an endangered species. An estimated 3900 tigers are left in the world.

Remember, White Tigers are not a separate species. “Conservation” facilities are often exploiting the tigers to make money by charging people to see and take photos with White Tiger cubs.

101. A law has been introduced to stop inbreeding and exploitation of white tigers for profit.

Federal legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, including the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/S. 1210), to stop the highly unregulated breeding of big cats.

Learn more about white tigers >>


F.A.Q.

Where do tigers live?

Tigers are found in the wild in parts of Russia, China, and South and Southeast Asia. (Source: kids.britannica.com)

The country with the largest number of wild tigers is India. Around 3,000 of the world’s wild tigers are in India. (Source: wwf.org.uk)

Tigers live in forests, grasslands, and swamps. (Source: kids.britannica.com

What do tigers eat?

Tigers are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. (Source: natgeokids.com) Tigers like to eat large mammals like deer, antelope, and buffalo. (Source: natgeokids.com) Tigers generally avoid very large animals such as elephants and bears. They also try to stay away from people. (Source: kids.britannica.com) They are opportunistic predators, so they will also can also eat smaller prey like wild boar, birds, fish, rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and even insects (Source: wwf.org.uk)

Are tigers endangered?

Yes, tigers are endangered. There are estimated to be around 3,900 tigers left in the wild. (Source: wwf.org.uk) Hunting and habitat loss have caused the tiger population to decrease by 93% in the last 100 years (Source: natgeokids.com) Tigers are hunted for their fur and for parts of their body that many people use as medicine. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com) Their habitat has decreased as humans have used their land for farming and logging. (Source: kids.nationalgeographic.com)

Tasmanian tigers went extinct in the year 1936 when the last of its kind died at Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo. (facts.net) There are more captive tigers in the US than there are wild tigers in the world.  (Source: wwf.org.uk) Even though they are the most endangered, tigers still outnumber other big cats in terms of their population.

Tiger sleeping by the water and grass.
Tigers can sleep for 18 hours straight, mostly during the day.

When do tigers hunt?

Tigers tend to hunt for food alone and at night. They quietly stalk their prey and kill them with a bite to the neck or back of the head. (Source: natgeokids.com) They have a a very strong bite. They can bite down with a force of 1,000 pounds. (Source: zsl.org)

Tigers have night vision. Their eyes have a specialized structure which lets them see 6 times better than a normal human. (Source: facts.net)

When do tigers sleep?

A tiger can sleep for 18 hours straight, mostly during the day since they do most of their hunting at night. (Source: facts.net)


We hope you loved this list of interesting facts and frequently asked questions about tigers. They truly are incredible animals!

To help tigers and support conservation efforts, head to the World Wildlife Fund.


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