Interesting Bengal Tiger Facts
The Bengal Tiger is a beautiful and majestic animal; unfortunately, just like all Tigers, they are facing extinction. While you may believe you are knowledgeable about these gorgeous creatures, this article will introduce fun and interesting Bengal Tiger facts that you didn't know before! If you are interested in conservation and the safety and well-being of these animals (or all animals), keep reading to learn some fun Bengal Tiger facts, more about their day-to-day lives, and how you can make a difference in their survival.
What is a Bengal Tiger?
The Bengal Tiger, also known as the Indian Tiger, is the national animal of both Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh even features this Tiger on their currency. It is believed that this breed of Tiger has been around for between 12,000 – 16,500 years. Unfortunately, it is now endangered.
Why is the Bengal Tiger endangered?
When learning Bengal Tiger facts, one of the most important things to know is that they are on the endangered species list and they need our help. The Bengal Tiger was first classified as endangered in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). So why are Bengal Tigers endangered? The simple answer is humans. The only predators these Tigers really have are humans, and even after they have been listed as being endangered, humans still illegally hunt them as trophy kills.
There are a few reasons why these beautiful creatures are still being hunted. One of these reasons is because big game hunting is widespread and killing a Tiger, regardless of the type, is a coup for some hunters.
Another reason they are hunted is that some of their body parts, as well as these tiger skins, are still being used in Asian medicine.
Although not as in-your-face as being hunted, these Tigers also face difficulties due to a lack of prey as a result of the destruction of their natural habitat. What’s worse is that both losing access to traditional Bengal Tiger habitat and food sources can be directly traced back to humans. This includes humans hunting some of the same animals as the Tigers and humans developing areas that these Bengal Tigers used to live in. Overall, their endangerment is a direct result of human interaction.
Where are Bengal Tigers Native to?
Bengal Tigers live in warm, tropical climates. Bengal Tigers are native to India, which is why they are also referred to as Indian Tigers. One interesting Bengal Tigers fact is that their original name was Royal Bengal Tigers, but it has since been dropped to Bengal Tigers. Outside of India, other Bengal Tiger locations include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Tibet.
What do Bengal Tigers Eat?
Bengal Tigers, just like all Tigers, are carnivorous and primarily eat the meat of the animals they hunt. Their favorite prey includes deer, cattle, goats, antelope, water buffalo, Indian bison, baby rhinos, baby elephants, and wild boars.
While they still can and have been known to eat plants and berries, they ultimately need meat to survive.
How many Bengal Tigers are in the wild?
Currently, only between 2,000 – 2,500 Bengal Tigers are left in the wild. For all breeds of tigers in the wild, the total left is less than 4,000. Having said that, there are signs of a slight increase in population as of late.
Not only are all tigers endangered, but it is estimated that the total population of all tigers (less than 4,000 in the wild and an additional 5,000 in zoos) is only 7% of their starting population. Another sad reminder of how desperate the situation is.
Bengal Tiger vs Siberian Tiger: What is the difference?
When most people see either a Siberian Tiger (now Amur Tiger) or a Bengal Tiger independently of each other, they may not know the difference. They look very similar, and they are both enormous cats. Most people have never seen one in the wild, so their experience with them may only be from photographs and trips to the zoo. However, side by side, they are much different from one another. If you are looking for Bengal Tiger Facts, a comparison between them and the Siberian Tiger, which they are most often confused with, can be fascinating.
The Siberian Tiger is longer and heavier. Although similar, their coat color is actually much duller than the vibrant beautiful coat of the Bengal Tiger. When traditionally thinking of the bright orange and black stripes, people are actually thinking and describing the Bengal Tiger's appearance, not the Siberian Tiger. This is because the Siberian Tigers have brown stripes, whereas Bengal Tigers have black stripes. The Siberian Tiger also has a larger head and a life expectancy of 3 additional years in the wild (Siberian Tigers can live up to 18 years, whereas Bengal Tigers only live for 15 years).
Siberian tigers also live in a far different climate. As discussed, the Bengal Tiger lives in warm or tropical climates and spends its time in the forests, grasslands, and humid areas. The Siberian Tiger lives in Russia, China & North Korea living in a much colder climate. Finally, although they are both endangered, there are 4 – 5 times more Bengal Tigers left (at 2,000 – 2,500) while there are currently less than 500 Siberian Tigers in the Wild.
10 Bengal Tiger Facts
It is always fun to learn more about animals, especially beautiful but endangered animals like the Bengal Tiger. Here are 10 interesting Bengal Tiger facts that you probably do not already know.
1. Bengal Tigers Can Climb Trees
Although these animals can climb trees, they are not great at it. This makes sense as they typically weigh between 220 – 700 pounds! But in the pursuit of a kill, they can climb trees to chase their prey.
2. They Are Great At Swimming
If your knowledge of cats is the house cat variety, you may be surprised to know that Bengal Tigers are great swimmers. They can swim 4 miles at a time, and sometimes, they jump in large bodies of water just to cool off.
3. They Do Not Like Humans
Bengal Tigers go out of their way to avoid all contact with humans. This is more difficult as we encroach on their territory. If threatened, they will kill humans, but we are not their usual prey.
4. Bengal Tigers Can Reproduce Often
The female goes into heat every 3 - 9 weeks and while in heat they are fertile for 3 - 7 days. Gestation is about 105 days and will produce 1 - 4 cubs.
5. Their Roar is Not an Act of Aggression
Popular culture has depicted the roar of big cats as an act of aggression. However, their roar is usually just how they communicate with other tigers outside their territory. When fighting, they don't roar; they growl or hiss.
6. Their Stripes Are Unique
If you compared different Bengal Tigers, you would notice their stripes are like human fingerprints. They are unique to the individual; no two sets of stripes are identical.
7. They Need Their Teeth to Survive
Since they are carnivorous, they will die of starvation without healthy teeth. They can only survive for a few weeks without eating.
8. White Tigers are also Bengal Tigers
White tigers are not a separate subspecies; they are actually leucistic pigmentation variants of Bengal or Siberian Tigers.
9. They Prey on All Kinds of Living Creatures – Including Snakes
Although they do have specific animals they usually pursue, like various types of deer, they will hunt outside their usual preferences when necessary. They have even been known to eat venomous snakes.
10. They are Loners
For the majority of their life, they live alone. They have a territory that they fiercely protect. They are not loners in the first 2 – 3 years of life when a Bengal Tiger cub lives and travels with their mother.
How you can help Bengal Tigers
Sadly, these remarkable creatures are facing extinction. However, the good news is that you can help! You can get involved yourself through donations or volunteering at organizations like The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The WCS exists to assist in the conservation of the world's wild places, wildlife, and biodiversity. They do this through education, science, conservation action, and inspiring others to get involved
You can also support Bengal Tigers by purchasing from brands that support their cause. At Soctuary 10% of every tiger sock sold goes towards charities like the WCS. We truly believe that we need to take action now if we are going to make a difference in the future survival of this species.