At over 3 m long and weighing up to 360 kg, the rare Siberian tiger is the largest living member of the cat family. Tigers originated in Siberia.
Tigers need a very large hunting area, and males in northern India often patrol an area of 130 sq km or more.
After feeding, tigers sometimes save the remains of a kill for a later meal, burying it under branches to hide it from scavengers or other tigers.
In 1945 there were only 50 Siberian tigers left in the wild; now there are 300 to 400 surviving in reserves.
Aggressive tigers flash the distinctive white spots on their ears as a warning.
In India and Bangladesh, in the Sunderbans mangrove swamps, tigers keep cool in the water and ambush pigs, deer and monkeys.
In the early 1900s there were probably at least 50,000 tigers; now numbers have fallen to 6000 or less, half of them living in India.
To keep out the cold, the Siberian tiger has an outer coat of long, pale fur over a thick undercoat. The tiger uses its long canine teeth to bite the throat or neck of its prey as it brings it to the ground. Its sharp-edged rear teeth cut through the meat by sliding against each other like scissors.
A tiger’s stripes provide it with camouflage as it hunts in the tall grasses by day. But tigers also hunt at night — their night vision is at least 6 times more acute than a human’s.
Tiger cubs depend entirely on their mothers for food until they are about 18 months old, when they begin to make their own first kills.
Tigers eat a variety of foods, ranging from fish and turtles during times of flood to locusts during locust swarms.