Behaviour: Tigers are ordinarily solitary and independent in the wild except in
mating time. However, the basic social unit is mother and young. In the wild
state, both male and female demarcate their territories. The home range can be
maintained by a variety of methods. One such method is that urine which is
mixed with anal gland secretions is sprayed onto trees, bushes and rocks along
the trails. They also mark scrapes on the ground and tree trunks. The black tarry
colour faeces is left in conspicuous places. They are good swimmers. Unlike
leopards, the tigers seldom try to climb trees. Male tigers are reported to kill
smaller cubs when encounter with them. The mother secretes her newborn cubs
in a den normally a cave or rock overhang, among dense reeds and bushes. In the
wild tigers and leopards are said to avoid each other.
Tigers hunt alone and their hunting technique is unique. They usually attack from
the sides or from the rears. A prey is killed by grabbing the head between forepaws
and twisting its neck with violent jerk and finally a biting to the throat or neck.
The death is most likely caused by suffocation as well as snapping of the spinal cord. It often drags its dead prey into cover in the vicinity of water in the wild. A
tiger drinks frequently during meal. During summer months, they spend much
of the day time resting near water bodies and occasionally lie or stand in water
Sometimes, tigers become man eaters. The Bengal tigers in Sundarban areas of
West Bengal are known to be human flesh eaters. The reasons for man eaters are
• Some tigers are very old or they get disabled or wounded and thereby unable
to stalk and kill their natural preys. When their canine teeth are broken,
they are also tempted to attack human beings.
• When tigers killed a man inadvertently, tasted the meat and apparently found
it to their liking. There might be the other reason that tigers first scavenged
on unburied human corpses and later transferring their attention to living
• The availability of natural preys in the habitats.
• The destruction of habitats may also be an important factor for tiger to be
turned into a man eater. The scarcity of freshwater resource in Sundarban
areas is believed to be one of the reasons for development of this habit.
Life span: Tigers have been known to live for about 15 years in the wild, while in captivity the life span has been reported more than 20 years.