Bengal Tiger Bengal Tiger
Bengal Tiger

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Bengal tiger
Genus Species
Panthera (panther, leopard) tigris (tiger)

Fast Facts

Reddish orange with narrow black, gray or brown stripes, generally in a vertical direction. The underside is creamy or white; a rare variant has a chalky white coat with darker stripes and icy blue eyes.
Male: To 3 m (10 ft.)
Female: To 2.7 m (9 ft.)
Largest existing member of the cat family
Male: To 225 kg (500 lbs.)
Female: To 135 kg (300 lbs.)
Medium to large prey such as pigs, deer, antelopes, and buffalo
98 to 110 days; 2 to 4 cubs born
Sexual Maturity
Male: 4 to 5 years
Female: 3 to 4 years
Life Span
Average probably not more than 15 years in the wild; 16 to 18 years in controlled environments
Fragmented areas of Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Burma
Tropical jungle, brush, marsh lands, and tall grasslands
Global: Less than 3,000 within natural range
IUCN: Endangered
CITES: Appendix I
USFWS: Endangered

Fun Facts

  1. Since tigers hunt mostly at dusk and dawn their stripes help them hide in the shadows of tall grasses. They stalk and pounce because they are not able to chase prey a long distance.
  2. The territorial male tiger usually travels alone, marking his boundaries with urine, droppings, and scratch marks to warn off trespassers.
  3. A tiger can consume as much as 40 kg (88 lbs.) of meat in one feeding.
  4. Tigers may drag their prey to water to eat. They are commonly seen in the shade or wading in pools to cool off.Since white tigers have pigmented stripes and blue eyes, they are not albinos.
  5. It is estimated that there are less than 3,000 Bengal tigers left in the wild.
  6. For more information about tigers, explore the Tiger Info Book.

Ecology and Conservation

Tigers, as with all top-of-the-food-chain predators help balance populations by keeping prey populations in check. When a tiger has eaten its fill, the abandoned prey becomes food for a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Some cultures believe that powdered tiger bones have medicinal values. Unfortunately, tigers are in high demand to supply this market.


Jackson, Peter. Endangered Species: Tigers. Secaucus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1990.

MacDonald, David (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mammals: 1. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1985.

McDougal, Charles. The Face of the Tiger. London: Rivington Books, 1977.

Nowak, Ronald (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Schaller, George B. The Deer and the Tiger, A Study of Wildlife in India. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1961.