Bengal tigers inhabit the grasslands, temperate forests and mangrove forests of India, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan. They prey on large mammals, such as deer and wild pigs. Bengal tigers, which are the most common tiger subspecies, live up to 10 years in the wild and between 16 and 18 years in captivity.
Bengal Tiger Cub
White Bengal Tiger
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Carnivora
Family - Felidae
Genus - Panthera
Species - P. tigris
Subspecies - P. t. tigris
Common Name - Bengal Tiger, Royal Bengal Tiger
Bengal tigers have the longest canines among the big cat species. Their coats are generally a yellowish-orange with black stripes, although in rare cases, Bengal tigers with white fur and light blue eyes are born. Bengal tigers are the second largest tiger subspecies, with adults measuring between seven to nine feet from head to tail and weighing between 240 to 500 pounds.
Bengal tigers typically breed between November and April, although they do not have a set breeding season. Females gestate for up to 111 days, then give birth to one to seven cubs. These births usually happen every three to four years. The cubs stay with their mother until they are between 18 months and three years old. They become reproductively mature around four years of age.
Bengal tigers are solitary animals that only seek company in order to mate. The males do not help the females raise their young. The females are responsible for teaching their cubs how to hunt. Bengal tigers are mainly active at night, when their main sources of prey are also active. They can swim, climb and leap up to 10 meters. They communicate with other tigers through growls, hisses and other vocalizations, as well as through scent markings and visual signs, such as claw marks.
Bengal tigers are believed to have been on the Indian subcontinent for about 12,000 years. Their numbers began to decline significantly in the 20th century due to habitat loss and poaching. The most recent population estimate for Bengal tigers is 1,706.
Bengal tigers are listed as endangered due to their declining numbers. They’ve mainly suffered from habitat loss, conflict with humans, loss of prey and poaching, although the international ban on tiger trade enacted in 1993 has helped reduce the poaching risk. Conservation efforts to protect Bengal tigers include improved conservation areas, legislation to stop illegal wildlife trade and anti-poaching measures.