Panthera tigris are one of the world’s most fascinating animals and there are loads of fun facts about tigers to explore. For example, did you know that tigers are also known as charismatic megafauna? This basically means large species of animals that have a symbolic value or widespread popular appeal such as polar bears, giant pandas, elephants, giraffes, blue whales and great white sharks. Without further ado, here are our top ten tiger facts, including a bunch of great fun facts about tigers for kids!
An Ambush or a Streak?
The collective noun for a group of tigers is an ambush or a streak. The term is different depending on how they are grouped together. A female tiger and her cubs is known as a ‘streak’ while tigers forced to share the same piece of land due to its small size is called an ‘ambush’.
Tigers Are Unique
No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes, they are as unique as a human’s fingerprints. It’s markings are also found on the skin so if you shaved a tiger (and we certainly don’t advise attempting to shave a tiger), the stripes will be visible.
Some Excellent Facts About Tiger’s Eyes
Tiger’s eyes remain closed for between six and ten days after birth because they are still developing and, as they are hypersensitive to light, it’s important they stay closed until they are ready.
A tiger’s night vision is about six times better than that of humans, this is why they do most of their hunting at night.
Most tigers are born with yellow eyes and black irises, apart from white tigers that have blue eyes.
Like other cats who purr when they’re happy, comfortable and safe, tigers will squint or close their eyes because losing vision at any other time lowers their ability to defend themselves.
Tigers are Much Bigger than you think they are
Tigers are the largest cats in the world. Males are bigger than females and range from two and a half metres to almost four metres long. Siberian tigers are the biggest and can weigh up to 300 kg, that’s the same weight as about 650 footballs – but it would take about ten tigers to match the weight of the equally scary great white shark!
Tigers are Very, Very Old…
One of the best facts about tigers is that scientists believe that they have been roaming the earth for over two million years. Back in 2011, they found the skull and jawbone of a jaguar-sized tiger in northwestern China that dates from between 2.1 and 2.5 million years. This predates original estimates by over half a million years.
…And Very, Very Fast
Despite their size and weight, tigers can hit around 35 – 40 miles an hour in short bursts. To compare, at his absolute peak speed, Usain Bolt could run at just below 28 miles per hour. They would also do very well in the long jump. They can leap over nine metres which is the size of the mirror in the South African Large Telescope, one of the biggest telescopes in the world!
Tigers Mark their Territory
Tigers have a very impressive array of methods in which they mark their territory. They use a wide range of vocal noises including roars, growls, hisses, grunts, snarls and moans to warn off other tigers or to attract a mate, as well as making very distinct claw marks on trees. However, another of the strangest facts about tigers to tell the kids, tigers spray their urine as a warning sign to would-be intruders and it is said to smell exactly like hot, buttered popcorn!
Tigers are the true Kings of the Jungle
This is one of those fun facts about tigers that not many people know. When we hear ‘king of the jungle’ we immediately think of lions, but in fact lions don’t live in jungles, they live in savannahs, open woodland and the huge open plains of sub-Saharan Africa. Not all tigers do, but some tiger species live in jungles and rainforests, so it’s surely fair to say that they are the true kings of the jungle!
Strange Tiger - Lion Mash-Ups
Sometimes tigers and lions have been known to mate, and their offspring have very unusual names. This never happens in the wild however, as lions and tigers never cross the species line, and this cross-breeding is only ever known in captivity. Nevertheless, if a male lion mates with a female tiger, the result is called a ‘liger’. If a male tiger mates with a female lion the result is called a ‘tigon’!
The most famous Tigers in the World
As they are such powerful, ferocious and impressive beasts, tigers constantly capture the imagination. The list of the most famous tigers in popular culture is pretty epic!
First up, sports. Tigers feature prominently in the names of sports teams including the Detroit Tigers baseball team, the Cincinnati Bengals American football team and the Leicester Tigers rugby team. The Tigers is also the nickname for Hull City FC.
Tigers are also very popular in literature. There’s Hobbes from the famous comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, the terrifying Shere Khan in the Jungle Book, the friendly Rajah from Aladdin and everyone’s favourite tiger from literature, Tigger from Winie the Pooh!
But of course we’ve saved the most famous tiger for last. Can you guess? It is of course Tony the Tiger, the red bandana-wearing mascot from boxes of breakfast cereal.