Tigers are majestic beasts. They are big and frightening. They stalk and kill. They are powerful and they are feared by all. But when we talk of big tigers – the biggest ones actually – we cannot ignore the Royal Bengal Tiger. They are one of the three biggest tigers in the world and they are really deadly. So, let us today together learn 22 Royal Bengal Tiger facts and find out a bit about their geographic distribution, their habitats, they mutant brothers and sisters and a bit about their hunting style. Shall we start?
Royal Bengal Tiger Facts: 1-11
1. The majestic and beautiful Royal Bengal Tiger resides mostly in India and a few are found in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and even China.
2. Royal Bengal Tiger is the only tiger in this world that inhabits mangrove forests. Also, the Sundarbans mangroves of both Bangladesh and India are the only mangroves in the world where this tiger is found. Sundarbans are also being threatened by the increase in the level of the sea due to climate change.
3. Royal Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India. It is also Bangladesh’s national animal.
4. It has the highest population of all the subspecies of tigers. Its population is mere 2,500 (in the wild). It is considered as “endangered” which means that there is a high risk that they become extinct in the Wild.
5. Very few Royal Bengal Tigers are white with black stripes or sometimes completely white. However, this is rare and it happens because of gene mutation. Many think that they are albino but they aren’t.
6. It was reported that there was a completely black Bengal Tiger way back in 1846 in Chittagong.
7. The oldest fossil of Bengal Tiger found was not in India or Bangladesh but was excavated in Sri Lanka and the fossil dates back to 16,500 years. With the fossil found, it is certain that once Bengal Tigers were present all over the country (in the wild, of course).
8. Its zoological name is Panthera tigris tigris. The males weigh around 440-650 lb or 200-300 kg and are 8-10 feet tall whereas the females are nearly 220-400 lb or 100-181 kg and are 8-9 feet tall.
9. They mostly live in dry and wet deciduous forests, grassland forests, mangroves and temperate forests.
10. They have a lifespan of 15 years in the wild and 20 years when they are captive. Females attain maturity when they turn 3 years old.
11. The female gives birth to 3-5 cubs in a litter and raises the cubs without much help from the father tiger. The cubs remain dependent on their mother till they turn 2-3 years (they can’t hunt till they are 18 months old). The cubs are blind when they are born and weigh mere 2 pounds.
Royal Bengal Tiger Facts: 12-22
12. Male cubs move away from their mother after 2-3 years but female cubs remain in the same group as their mother is in.
13. Their sense of vision and hearing is par excellence. Their sense of night vision is 6 times that of humans and their sense of hearing is 5 times that of humans. Their roars can be heard from a distance of 2 miles.
14. They prefer living alone and mark their territories to keep other tigers away by their scent. They use their stripes as a camouflage. Did you know no two tigers will have the same stripes?
15. These tigers hunt medium to large animals like deer, wild boar, badgers, water buffaloes etc. There are reports that they attack and hunt baby elephants and rhino calves as well.
16. Most of the Bengal Tigers shy away from humans but there are very few deadly tigers who are man-eaters.
17. They are extremely powerful. Once a tiger was seen dragging a dead gaur (Indian Bison) which 13 men couldn’t drag! Just for your information, a gaur weighs around 1 ton.
18. The Government of India created wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in 1970’s to preserve this animal and due to the government’s efforts, the population stabilized but again in 1990’s poaching soared high. Now they are in danger again.
19. Bengal Tigers are usually night hunters. This means that they hunt primarily at night but they can hunt anytime during the day. They usually kill larger preys by suffocating them and in case of smaller preys, they kill them by severing their spines with a deadly bite.
20. Bengal Tigers are in high danger simply because of two reasons – first, their skin has high demand on the international market and second, their body parts are often used for making traditional medicines in various Asian countries.
21. Did you know that of all mammals that eat meat, Bengal Tigers have longest canines? Their canines grow as long as 4 inches. That’s longer than the canines of lions.
22. When it comes to eating meat, these tigers are voracious eaters. They can gobble down anywhere between 30 and 40 kilograms of meat in one single meal. Good thing though, once they eat to their fill, they won’t go out on hunting for another 3 weeks.