A tiger looks back


Sexual Maturity

Females reach sexual maturity around 3 to 4 years of age and males mature at about 4 to 5 years of age.

Estrus Cycle

A female tiger may enter estrus (the time when a female is receptive and capable of conceiving young) every three to nine weeks, and her receptivity lasts three to six days.

In tropical climates, females may come into estrus throughout the year, though mating seems to be more frequent during the coolest months (November to April).

In temperate regions, females enter estrus and mate only during the winter months.


Females advertise their readiness to mate.

A few days before she enters estrus, the female will scent-mark her range more frequently with a distinctive smelling urine.

During estrus, the female may frequently vocalize throughout the day to attract a male.

Tigers usually begin their courtship by circling each other and vocalizing.

Copulation is brief and repeated frequently for five or six days.

Female tigers are induced ovulators, which means the act of mating causes the female to release an egg for fertilization.

Several days of mating interactions may be required to stimulate ovulation and guarantee fertilization of the egg.

Both male and female tigers may have several mates over their lifetime.