khao sokThe tiger is the heaviest of all the cats in the world, with males bigger than the females, with body size and morphology quite variable between subspecies.  Tigers are excellent tree climbers and swimmers, being able to cross rivers of several kilometers in width. They can have home ranges from 20 – 600 km2, a clear indication of why habitat loss is such a threat to viable tiger populations. Tiger can live up to 26 years in captivity, but usually last about 8 to 10 years in the wild. Tiger used to roam the planet from the Caspian Sea to Siberia, now they are restricted to isolated pockets in Southeast Asia and Siberia, three subspecies going extinct since 1950. These animals are classified on the IUCN Red list as ‘threatened, endangered’ and are included in Appendix I of CITES

Tigers are almost exclusively carnivores and will happily eat any animal that it is capable of over-powering.  Tiger’s can reach speeds of 35 to 40 mph (49 to 60 km/h) but tend to use stealth and ambush to catch their prey, sneaking up on them and surprising them. A tiger can eat between 18 and 40 kg of meat in one go, but they do not usually eat every day. Tigers will occasionally eat vegetation for dietary fiber, the fruit of the Slow Match Tree being favored.

Tigers live in a wide variety of habitats, suggested by their distribution across a wide range of ecological conditions. They are known to occur in tropical lowland evergreen forest, monsoonal forest, dry thorn forest, scrub oak and birch woodlands, tall grass jungles, and mangrove swamps. Tigers are able to cope with a broad range of climatic variations. Tigers can be fiercely territorial and are capable of covering distances of 16 to 32 kilometers in a single night, which why they require large expanses of land to maintain viable populations.

Tiger can mate at any time of the year, but it is more common between November and April.  Male tiger tend to be solitary except during breeding cycles. The gestation period is 96 to 111 days, resulting in a litter of 1 to 7 cubs, with birth weight of about 1.1kg.  Weaning occurs after 90 to 100 days, with cubs becoming independent after about 18 months, reaching sexual maturity between 3 and 4 years of age. Whilst in the care of the mother, the tigress has to increase her hunting by 50 percent to feed herself and the cubs