A tiger looks back


Social Structure

Tigers are territorial and usually solitary in nature. Their social system is connected through visual signals, scent marks and vocalizations.

Tigers are usually solitary in nature, interacting briefly only for mating purposes and occasionally to share their kill. However, there has been a few rare instances documented in which tigers have collaborated on a hunt, similar to a pride of lions.

The size of tiger territories varies greatly by locality, season and prey density (the amount of prey in a given area). In areas with high prey densities, tiger territories tend to be smaller in size because ample prey may be found in smaller vicinity. For male tigers in Ranthambhore India; the prey concentrations are high and male tigers have territories that range in size from 5 to 150 km2 (2 to 60 mi2). In Siberia the prey concentrations are much lower and male tiger territories range in size from 800 to 1200 km2 (320 to 480 mi2). Seasonality in terms of prey migrations, food availability and weather may also affect prey populations and therefore the size of tiger territories.

Social Behavior

Males have larger territories than females. An adult male's territory will usually overlap several females' territories. The larger area contains more than enough food, water and shelter resources, but is larger to accommodate more females' territories. Therefore, females are the most coveted resource for males.

Aggression amongst adult male tigers can be influenced by the number of tigers in a given area (density) and whether there is a social disruption in which males are competing to take control of a territory. The intensity of aggression increased when there are high tiger densities for a given area because there is more competition of resources and mating opportunities. Resident male territory-holders may be challenged by other young males for possession of the territory or the young males may challenge each for ownership if the resident male has vacated or dies. The strongest male will take possession of the territory. These times of social disruption may also cause aggression between females.

Tigresses' territories are smaller than that of males but focus on vital resources required for rearing young.

Tigresses usually occupy territories adjacent to or take over parts of their mother's territory.

Daily Activity Cycle

Tigers are mainly active at night and less active during the mid-day heat. However, this pattern may vary

Grooming is an important part of the tiger's day. They use their rasping tongue to remove loose hairs and dirt from their fur. The grooming process keeps the tiger's coat in good condition by using their tongues to spread oils secreted from their glands.

Individual Behavior

Tigers, unlike many other cat species, readily enter water to cool themselves and in the pursuit of prey. They are powerful swimmers and capable of traversing lakes and rivers.

Tigers assert and maintain their control over their territories by continuously patrolling them.

Interaction With Other Species

Tigers coexist with other predators such as leopards, Asiatic wild dogs, brown bears and wolves throughout most of their range. Usually there is little interaction between species especially since tigers are mostly nocturnal (active at night) and the other species are mainly diurnal (active during the day).