India is home to some of the most exotic wildlife concealed
in thick and luscious jungles. If you are seeking a perfect holiday, you
can explore the varied wildlife habitats spread all over India. One shall
cherish the sight of the most exquisite and graceful national animal of
India, the Tiger.
Gracefully built, tigers are the largest living members of the cat family and commonly weigh up to 500-600 pounds and reach a length of 9-10 feet, excluding the tail. The outer look of the tiger usually has reddish yellow or reddish brown coat with black stripes, ventrally it is white giving it a royal look. Its ears are black on the outside and each of them has a prominent white spot on it. These distinctive coloring acts as a camouflage and allows the animal to blend into it's environment. On rare occasions, Indian tigers are born with pure white fur and black stripes. Indian tigers have different colored eyes ranging from blue to the usual brown.
Tigers hunt on their own and usually lead a solitary existence, each in its own territory. It is also the largest land-living mammal whose diet consists entirely of meat. As per the food chain cycle, tiger can eat a variety of animals such as deer, antelopes, gaurs and wild pigs, sometimes it also captures birds, lizards, turtles, fishes, frogs and crabs, but no one can have tiger as their food. Commonly, tigers basic diet consists of hooved animals. Preys are killed by a bite on the neck or by strangulating the throat. Tiger can preserve their prey for next meal by covering it with leaves and grass. Tiger's agile and lithesome body helps in hunting at an amazing rate. They are endowed with good swimming power but seldom climb trees.
Each tiger selects his own territory according to the power he possesses. Male tiger has a larger dominion than a female tiger and the area of female tiger is usually within the range of male tiger. The primary resource of this territory is food. A female's territory must contain enough prey to support herself and her cubs. All tigers allocate their domain with the help of urine, feces, and scratching on tree trunks.
Tigers usually prefer to live and hunt alone, except for a mother tiger who has the responsibility to feed the cubs. Females have to surrender in front of the most powerful male and they are aware when a new male takes over the near by territory. Identification is done on the basis of scents and scratch marks and allows to track other tigers in the area. The social set up of tigers perfectly symbolizes the concept of 'survival of the fittest'.
Reproduction and Breeding
The social behavior of the tigers to prefer solitary takes a back seat at the time of mating. A male and female tiger meets only briefly. Their is no such reproduction period or season for tigers, mating can occur at any time, but the most preferred season is autumn and winter i.e., between November and April. Once the mating process is over, there is no meeting between the male and female tiger. The gestation period usually lasts for three and a half months. The female tiger gives birth to two to three cubs in a secluded place like thick bush, cave etc.
It is the responsibility of the female tiger to nurse the cubs until they are on their own. A cub takes around six months to grow and the next 18 months become independent. The chance of the survival of cubs depends upon the fulfillment of the basic necessities such as food and other habitat requirements. Female cubs, when fully grown may establish a territory adjacent to that of their mother, or even take over part of their mother's territory. Adult females generally produce a litter every two years.
Tigers usually live up to 15 years in their natural environment and around 20 years, if they are kept in a secured environment like zoo. Only half of the cubs survive to be independent and out of that 40 % are able to secure a territory and become eligible for mating and producing young cubs. The risk does not end on securing a territory as there is always a chance of invasion by other tiger who is more strong and powerful.
The natural heritage in India is as rich and diverse as the cultural heritage. Nestled in this rich land is the Royal Bengal Tiger, the only home to the Royal Tiger Cat.
White tigers are very rare and exotic species of tigers, which is very different from other tigers in terms of having ice-blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white fur with chocolate...
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Glimpse some pictures of tigers taken by our experts.
Wandering about in a wildlife conservations and witnessing the wildlife therein can be quite an adventurous experience.
The Project tiger was launched in India in 1972 as conservation programme for saving the Indian Tiger Population.