10 Tiger Facts That Are Super Interesting

Did you know these big cats like to swim? 🏊‍♀️

tiger walking

Tigers are beautiful and amazing creatures, and you might be surprised to learn there's probably a lot you don’t know about them, too. For example, did you know that each tiger’s stripes are unique?

Find out more fascinating tiger facts below.

10 super interesting tiger facts

tiger lying down
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1. Tigers are pretty big

Tigers are the largest members of the cat family (which also includes domestic cats, lions, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, pumas and others). They can be up to 10 feet long and can weigh over 600 pounds!

2. There are two recognized subspecies of tiger

Tigers used to be categorized into nine subspecies, but the different types of tigers (below) are now grouped into only two subspecies. These two subspecies are the continental tiger and the Sunda tiger. The continental tiger is the larger subspecies, with adult males weighing up to 660 pounds. Sunda tigers are smaller than continental tigers and weigh around 310 pounds when fully grown.

Sunda tigers:

  • Sumatran
  • Javan (extinct)
  • Bali (extinct)

Continental tigers:

  • Siberian
  • Bengal
  • South China
  • Indochinese
  • Malyan
  • Caspian (extinct)

3. You can identify a tiger by his stripes

Each tiger has his own unique pattern of stripes, which are similar to humans’ fingerprints as they’re different for each individual. And since their stripes are unique, this helps researchers identify and count tigers in the wild.

Tigers have around 100 stripes, and they’re used for camouflage. Since the rest of their coats are orange, the dark stripes help tigers blend in with their surroundings and hide from their prey when they’re hunting in low-light conditions.

4. It’s not just tigers’ fur that’s striped

Tigers’ skin underneath their fur is also striped!

tiger's striped skin

5. Tigers don’t like company

Unlike lions, who live and hunt in groups, tigers are solitary cats. Aside from mothers and their cubs, tigers usually live alone. Individual tigers have their own territory, which they mark to keep other tigers out of their space.

6. Some tigers are white

White tigers are pretty rare, but they do exist. White tigers are actually Bengal tigers, and their white fur comes from a genetic mutation called leucism. They typically have blue eyes, while orange tigers have yellow eyes.

There are no white tigers left in the wild, so the only place you can find them is in captivity. These tigers are often inbred, because the white color comes from a recessive gene (meaning both parents have to carry the gene to produce the white color), leading to health problems.

7. Tigers are apex predators

Tigers are apex predators, which means they have no natural predators. The only predators to tigers are humans.

tiger leaping through water
Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

8. Tigers actually like the water

It’s pretty well-known that most cats hate water — but that’s not true for tigers. They actually love the water and are great swimmers. Tigers like to hang out in bodies of water to cool down since they live in tropical climates.

9. Tigers live in different types of habitats

Tigers live in a variety of habitats, including rainforests, grasslands, savannas and mangrove swamps. They can be found in 13 countries: India, China, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

10. Tigers are endangered

There are three types of tigers who are already extinct (Javan, Bali and Caspian), and the remaining tigers are endangered. There are currently only about 3,900 tigers in the wild, and they live in as little as 4 percent of the land they once occupied.

Many tigers are killed from illegal poaching. Tigers are also threatened by conflict with humans, which happens because of the destruction of their habitats, leaving them without much land, and overhunting of their prey, causing tigers to hunt livestock.

You can help tigers by taking some of these steps:

  • Don’t buy anything that comes from illegal tiger hunting.
  • Reduce your use of products made from forests, like paper.
  • Donate to tiger conservation efforts.
  • “Adopt” a tiger to support conservation efforts.

For more fun animal facts, check out these articles:

10 Facts About Lions That Show How Amazing They Are
11 Elephant Facts That Might Surprise You
6 Dolphin Facts That Will Blow Your Mind