Tigers are the biggest cats on Earth. Their closest living relative is the lion. Like all cats, tigers are mammals. That means they have hair and feed their young with milk.
Tigers are known for their famous beautiful striped coat. Their stripes provide a form of camouflage called disruptive coloration in the habitats that they live in. These big cats also have massive teeth and sharp, retractable claws. A tiger’s paws are padded enabling them to walk silently in the Asian jungles and are also very strong. All these adaptations make tigers a mighty predator.
When tiger cubs are first born, they are blind and completely dependent on their mother. When their eyes open, they will play with each other. Playing helps cubs practice their hunting skills. They might chase each other and pounce on each other. Cubs become fully independent at about 2 years old.
People around the world fear this beast. But tigers prefer to keep their distance from humans. A few become dangerous man-eaters though. Tigers that attack people are often sick or injured.
If you were to encounter a tiger in the wild, you might be scared. But everywhere this beautiful cat is found, it’s endangered. Some cultures believe that powdered tiger bones have medicinal qualities. That is why people have hunted tigers down. There are only a few of these big cats left in the wild. In fact, captive tigers currently outnumber wild ones.