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Casey Knott

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Panthera
Scientific Name: Panthera tigris tigris
Morphological Characteristics
Exhibit a cline, which occurs when a single species gradually begins to look different over its geographic range as it adapts to varying climates and habitats.
Adult males weight about 480 lb and measure about 9.5 ft in length.
Females slightly smaller with average weight of 300 lb and 8 ft in length.
Hind legs longer than front legs, enabling them to leap forward distances up to 32.5 ft.
Have large padded feet that enable them to silently stalk prey.
Claws up to 4 inches in length and used to grasp and hold onto prey. Each paw has four of these claws and one specialized claw (dewclaw), located farther back on the foot and thereby does not touch the ground when walking, used for grasping prey and aid in climbing.
Skull is stout and rounded in shape which provides more support for their powerful jaws.
Have largest canines of all big cat species ranging in size from 2.5 to 3.0 inches in length.
Use tail for balance when making sharp turns in pursuit of prey.
Hair provides camouflage, warmth and protection.
White tigers are leucocystic: have a recessive gene that causes them to lack dark colors. Therefore they usually have a white color with light to medium brown striping and blue eyes.
For unknown reasons, white tigers seem to grow bigger and at a faster rate than their orange counterparts
Interesting Information
The canines have abundant pressure-sensing nerves that enable the tiger to identify the location needed to sever the neck of its prey.
Tigers are the only large cat species to have distinctive striping located on both the hair and skin of the tiger.
The stripe patterning on top of the tiger's head resembles the Chinese character of "wang" which means "king."
Tigers with white background coloration are not considered albinos. An albino would be pure white in color (no striping) and would have pink or red eyes.
There have been reported sightings of blue tigers. There is little evidence supporting this color variation in tigers. However, since the blue colored trait exists in some lynx and bobcat families; it is not ruled out as a possibility.
Thought to have a slightly shorter life expectancy than the normal Bengal Tiger.
Captive studies conclude due to mutated genes and inbreeding that is required to continue breeding the White Tiger in captivity.
One of the biggest reasons becoming rarer and rarer in the wild: often captured by the rich, who kept them as an incredibly exotic pet.
One of the most versatile and adaptable predators in the Asian jungle as they are not only incredibly quick and agile at running, but they are also very capable swimmers, allowing them to breech natural boundaries such as rivers and wetland.
White (Bengal) Tiger
By Casey Knott
Habitat & Lifespan
Originally found throughout much of India and surrounding countries, but their range has decreased dramatically over the past 100 years or so
Today found in small pockets of it's natural habitat in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh
Found in a variety of habitats: tropical forests, mangrove swamps, moist jungles that generally support dense vegetation and have a good source of fresh water
Although the White Tiger could once be found in the wild, it's very rare for gene carrying parents to actually mate
With rapidly declining numbers of Bengal Tigers throughout their natural range, the chances of White Tigers being produced are becoming less every day.
White bengal tigers have an average lifespan of 12 years, which can increase in captivity.
Diet: carnivore
Apex predator: hunts its prey by stalking it stealthily in darkness of night
Primarily hunts large, herbivorous animals: deer, wild boar, cattle, and goats
Has many adaptations to help it to both catch and kill it's prey: strong and powerful, incredibly fast, and has long and sharp claws and teeth
Human settlements pushing it into smaller and smaller ranges, causing them to hunt and kill livestock in villages on occasion
Means to Obtain Energy
Behavior and Lifestyle
Solitary animal, allowing it to sneak up on prey more effectively in the dense jungle.
Not solitary during mating season
Each Tiger occupies a large territory that is marked by urine and claw marks on trees, and can be up to 75 square miles in size.
Males territories can overlap with those of a number of females', particularly in areas which are high in prey
Males defend their patch fiercely from other males who may be trying to steal their spot.
Behaviors & Social Interactions
Innovating Research
Listed by IUCN as Endangered: severely threatened in it's surrounding environment
Estimates of ~100,000 tigers found in jungles and mangrove swamps of Asia at start of 1900s
Less than 8,000 Tigers in wild, with only ~2,000 Bengal Tigers
No White Tigers known to be found outside of captivity
Since first brought into captivity, White Tigers have been interbred by humans for business
Morally questionable and purely profit based
Humans have hunted them and taken over much of their natural habitat
Increasing instances of entering human settlements, causing problems between tiger and villagers
Illegal to shoot them so they often return to the same village night after night
Research on genetic composition and what makes tiger white, White Tigers are inbred not purebred which causes a number of defects
club feet, cleft palates, spinal deformities and defective organs
"throw away tigers"
American Zoological Association (AZA) states cats shouldn't be bred and admonishes AZA accredited zoos not to breed any more of them.
In order for a White Tiger to be produced, both of it's parents must carry the gene.
Attraction based on roars and scent marks
After mated, male and female go separate ways.
Gestation period lasts around 3.5 months
Average litter size: 3 cubs
Cubs are blind and weigh ~1kg each and can have either white or orange fur
Cubs begin to eat meat caught by mother around 2 months old
Become independent around 18 months
Full transcript