Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Image Credit: Flickr User wwarby, via CC
This is a famous poem written by well known poet William Blake in 18th century in praise of this majestic creature. Tiger, for centuries has charmed storytellers and thus here have been so many stories, poems, folklores written about him. This stunning animal is the national animal of Bangladesh and India. Today, lets read some more about this animal who is the largest cat in cat species!!
Tigers are about 11 Ft in length. That would be two adults joined together!! They weigh around 300 Kgs!! Ask how much your dad weighs and you’ll get an idea how much is that! Tigers are the third largest carnivores on Earth. Their long canines, the ones you must have noticed on the side of their mouth are 3-4 inches long.
Image Credit: Flickr User Tim simpson1 , via CC
The tiger has striped pattern not only on its fur but on its skin too. If a tiger’s fur is shaved, the skin will reveal the exact same pattern of stripes. Stripes are unique to each tiger in the same way as the fingerprints are to humans. Striped fur helps tiger in camouflage when they hide and stalk their prey.
Tigers favourite food includes wild boar, deer and buffalo. However, sometimes tigers can turn man eaters too. Scared huh! Don’t be as it is not usual and does not happen often. In rare cases where the tiger is too sick to hunt for animal prey or its habitat has been encroached they are forced to attack humans. Tiger is an ambush predator and kills by locking their jaws around the neck of their prey until it dies of strangulation.
Image Credit: Flickr User Claus Rebler , via CC
Tigers have been around since millions of years. The oldest remains of a tiger-like cat, called Panthera palaeosinensis, found in China and Java were 2 millions years old. The fossils of true tigers were found in Java, and are between 1.6 and 1.8 million years old.
Tigers were once found in abundance all across Asia. But now their population is seriously on decline due to habitat destruction, and poaching. There are nine subspecies of tiger, three of which -The Bali tiger, The Javan tiger and the Caspian tiger are extinct. At this pace, by the end of 20th century all subspecies of this magnificent creature will be totally extinct.
Would you like to your kids to see tigers in the wild or just in storybooks? There is an ongoing attempt to “Save the tigers” so that they would exist outside of a book for as long as it can be.