Amur tigers are endangered; there are fewer than 500 living in small populations in far eastern Russia and northeast China. The tigers are losing their habitat due to logging activities, human encroachment and poaching.
No two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. Face markings can be used like man's fingerprints to identify individuals. Due to a long, thick fur coat and a fat layer as much as two inches thick on its belly and flanks, Amur tigers can tolerate temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees F. Their vision is six times more acute than that of humans under poor illumination, making them mainly nocturnal. They are normally solitary except for courting pairs and females with their young. They are primarily terrestrial, but are excellent swimmers. Tigers construct several dens throughout their territory beneath fallen trees, rocks, in stone cavities or rotten thickets.
Tigers hunt alone, and depend on sight and hearing more than smell; actively searching for prey more often than waiting in ambush (when stalking, they stay under cover, their stripes being effective camouflage). They attack from the side or from the rear, seizing prey by the shoulders, back or neck. For larger prey, a throat bite is used causing strangulation. Strong, curved canines are the tiger's most important weapon. Only one in 10-20 tries to catch major prey is successful. Their life expectancy is approximately 15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity.
Reproduction & Growth
Tigers mate at any time during the year. The female shows she is ready to mate by leaving urine deposits and scratch marks on the trees. She is receptive for only three to seven days. During this time, the pair will court, play and mate many times after which the male leaves to mate with another female. Females rear cubs alone, usually 2-4, weighing about 2-3 pounds each, which are born blind and helpless. At about eight weeks of age they leave the den to follow their mother as she hunts for food. She keeps grunting softly so they will follow her and when ready to hunt, she will bed them down in concealed brush. A female tiger with cubs must kill every 5-6 days. Cubs are totally dependent on their mother for food until they are approximately 18 months old, and may continue to use their mother's range until they are 2-2 1/2 years old. They then go out to seek their own home ranges, living on the periphery. Sexual maturity is reached by three to four years of age.
In the Wild:
Deer, wild boar, elk, badger, hare, salmon and other fish. In the Zoo:
Natural Balance beef carnivore diet, beef, chicken, rabbit, rodents, chicks, lamb, oxtails and beef bones.
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