The International Tiger day has just passed 3 days ago; it was a day to celebrate the royal wild cats known for their beautiful appearance and stripes on the coat. This Asian creature inspires awe and also they are the National animal of India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Korea and Malaysia. Travelers every year flock to places like Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh National Parks situated in India for an opportunity to spot one in those natural habitat. Following are some of the interesting things about them, and also the threats they face today:-
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1. Tigers are purely Asian species. Its fossils were discovered in China suggested that it could be over 2 million years old.
2. Tigers weigh up to 660 pounds and grow up to 10 feet in length with their tails alone measuring 3 feet. They are amazing jumper and can pounce to a minimum of 10 meters which is approximately 32 feet.
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3. Tigers are versatile. They are able to live in temperature as low as -35 degree C in Russia to 48 degree C in India. They are also adaptive to rainfall from 600mm to 8000 mm!
4. Tigers are very good swimmers and they like water. They cool themselves off in pools, streams and rivers.
5. They are quite fierce when it comes to their prey. They can take down the prey double their size. They hunt wild pigs, deer, antelope, elephant calves, and cattle and are known to kill seals and crocodiles found off shore
6. 3-4 Cubs are born at once and starts hunting at the age of 1. They stay with their mother until the age of 2.
7. Tigers are nocturnal and prefer hunting at night. They have a retinal adaption named tapetum lucidum which reflects light back into the retina. Because of this, they have six times better night vision than humans. They also have more rods which can see shapes in their eyes than the cones which are responsible for seeing color. This allows them to track the movement of their prey in the dark.
8. The stripe patterns for each individual cat are unique just like fingerprints are to humans. The stripes are imprinted in their skin.
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9. Their beautiful coats help them blending in with the habitat they live in (bushes) as their prey doesn’t possess the color vision, they can’t figure out the brilliant coloration tigers have.
10. White tigers are the ones that have a rare gene mutation found in only 1 in every 10,000 tigers. The white cats are prone to strabismus (crossed eyes).
11. Roar of a tiger is so loud that it reaches up to 114 decibels (las loud as a jet airplane taking off) and can be heard from over 2 miles away.
12. Tigers consider humans as not their prey but as enemies to avoid. They are terrified of humans and shy away from them. Despite this, tigers have killed humans than any other wild animal but often these attacks are provoked or carried out by men eaters who are too old and injured to hunt on their normal prey.
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12. Tigers are now found only in South and South East Asia, China and Russian Far East. Since last 200 years, their range has shrunk low to 93%. However, the largest population is still found in India.
13. Tigers are on the verge of extension today because of three main reasons. They are- their preys have been over hunted, they are poached for their fur and body parts which have medicinal properties. Habitats are degrading because of vast industrial development, farming and other human encroachments.
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14. Because of the efforts put in by the government and not government organizations around the world, the amount of wild tigers are finally rising after experiencing constant decline for over a century.
15. Population estimate of the tigers are 3,890 in the wild, currently which is an increased number from 3200 in 2010.