Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tigers


This is my picture gallery on tigers. What beautiful animals! They are worth trying to save from extinction and this lesson would make a great addition to an endangered species unit. A trip to the zoo would be a fun way for students to get even closer to endangered species and an opportunity for them to learn even more. Most importantly for this unit is finding a way for students to help (by finding a cause either close to home or far away) so they can feel empowered and make a difference!





Size and Physical Characteristics: The tiger is the largest among all the living wild cats. It has an elongated body, short neck, and compact head with a relatively short muzzle. The legs are stout and the paws are armed with retractile claws. Tigers have a reddish-brown to rust-brown coat with black stripes and a white underbelly. Variations in coat coloration occur among individuals. White and black tigers are caused by a recessive gene.




Habitat: Tigers occupy a variety of habitats including tropical evergreen forests, deciduous forests, mangrove swamps, thorn forests and grass jungles.











Behavioral Characteristics: Tigers are usually solitary, except for females with cubs. They are territorial and males have discrete territories overlapping those of several females. Male territories are mate oriented while those of females are more resource oriented. Tigers use scent (spraying urine on the trees or other vegetation or deposited on a scrape), scratch (marking on tree trunks with claws) and scrape marks on the ground to maintain contact and advertise their presence to others.




Reproduction: The gestation period is about three months (90 days). The litter size may vary between 1-6 cubs, but 2-3 cubs are most common. At birth, the tiger cub weighs between 800 - 1500 grams and measures 31 - 40 cm in length. Cubs stay with their mother and siblings until about the age of two when they move on to establish their own territories. During these two years, cubs learn hunting techniques from their mother.



Diet: Tigers are meat eaters. Their diet includes chital, sambar, gaur, barasingha, hog deer, barking deer, nilgai, pigs and cattle. Apart from large prey, tigers are also known to consume birds like peafowl and large rodents like porcupines. They are even known to attack elephants and rhino calves. Tigers in the Sundarbans are known to feed on fish and crabs.


More information about tigers can be found at:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/tigers/
or
http://www.worldwildlife.org/tigers/


Author: Kristen Ingebretsen
Last modified: May 19th, 2006