In picturing tigers, a couple of words that may often spring to mind are "mighty" and "graceful." Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) are no exception here. Although the population of this tiger subspecies is getting smaller and smaller, it is still not as rare as other varieties of the massive cats.
Most Common Tiger
The Bengal tiger, which is often referred to as the "Indian tiger," is the most common of all tigers, according to the National Geographic. Despite that, Bengal tigers are an endangered species, notes the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species' report in 2011. With regard to possible extinction, the most prominent issues that Bengal tigers face are both unlawful poaching and minimization of their natural habitat, the latter usually from deforestation or agricultural activities. As for illicit poaching, their bones are believed by some to provide useful health benefits.
Geography and Habitat
The majority of these comparatively common tigers reside in India, although others also live in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, China and Nepal. These Asian animals are on the versatile side in terms of habitat choices, and live in marshes, mangroves, savannas, mountains, grasslands, brush, scrub and tropical rainforests. Although Bengal tigers are "most common," none of their specific populaces throughout their geographic region have more than 250 individuals.
Female Bengal tigers usually weigh around 300 pounds, while the males are bigger at roughly 500 pounds, indicates Animal Bytes of SeaWorld. Male Bengal tigers also usually grow taller -- think upwards of 10 feet. The basic coloration of Bengal tigers is reddish-orange, although their underbellies are off-white. Their coats are thinly striped brown, gray or black. These independent and nocturnal felines all have their own individual stripe patterns.
Diet and Life Expectancy
Bengal tigers consume carnivorous diets chock full of the flesh of moderate or big prey animals -- think buffalo, oxen, deer, antelopes, cows, boars, monkeys, deer and pigs. If a Bengal tiger is feeling especially peckish, he can take in upwards of 60 pounds of flesh over the course of a single night. Free roaming Bengal tigers usually live for less than 15 years or so. However, those that live in captive environments often survive to between 16 and 18 years old.
- World Wildlife Fund: Bengal (Indian) Tiger
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Panthera tigris ssp. tigris
- World Wildlife Fund: Bengal Tiger
- Cougar Mountain Zoo: Bengal Tiger Facts
- SeaWorld Animal Bytes: Bengal Tiger
- Panthera: Tiger Subspecies
- National Geographic: Bengal Tiger
- Buffalo Zoo: Bengal Tiger
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