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Some Unique Facts You must know about Royal Bengal Tigers

In The Tigerland

Man and tigers are known to be brothers as the folk tale from Nagaland state that the first spirit of man, first spirit of Tiger and the mother of the first spirit emerged from the earth from the pangolin’s den. Both the tiger and the man are the same spirits with one in human shape and another in stripes. As the folk tale goes on, it states that one spirit went to live in woods and another stayed home. One day when they met, they were forced to fight when man tricked the tiger and killed him with a lethal dart. The floating dead Tiger’s body was caught in reeds and was saved by God Dingu and Aneni. They realized that the bones had come from the human body so that sat on them for nearly 10 years and thereafter at least 100 tigers were born.

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This folk story basically tries to relate to the close association between the Tiger and the Man being born from the same mother. This is the reason that people talk of Tigress of a man and the humanness of a Tiger in the land where the Tiger has existed for more than a hundred years. 

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Tigers are known to be extremely powerful along with being elegant and slim. They have powerful front legs and paws that are capable of killing a rhino or a young elephant. The paws can also dray a 200 lbs prey.

The elasticity and suppleness in their walk come from their style of walking on their fore pads. These forelegs can also twist inwards that helps them to grasp the prey and can remain retracted until the tiger finally attacks the prey. 

Sight and smell

the amber glowing tigers are already much famed and unlike other cats, tigers possess round pupils. Their acute eyesight and sensitivity to color make them even sharper. As their eyes face forward, they are capable of judging the depths as well along with having a sense of direction and distance. Like all other cats, tigers also have superb night vision due to the membrane at the back of their eye that reflects light from sensitive cells of the retina. A principle adapted from the tigers is used in modern day “cats eyes” used on roads. This concept doubles the intensity of the light. Territorial behavior largely depends upon the sense of smell. Tigers keep movements of each other by scent marking that enables them to steer clear of conflicts. Tigers use flehmen response that helps them to pass sent via two tiny holes in the upper palate. They hang out their tongues and draw back the lip. It causes their eyes to close, which gives an expression of disgust or grimace. 

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Habitat

Tigers mark their presence at various places like Russian Far East, mangrove swamps of Bangladesh and different types of forests. Tigers require minimum interference from human beings and a lot of dense vegetation that has ample water for bathing and drinking. Tigers love water and can also go to sleep partly submerged in water. Moreover, they are excellent swimmers as well. Young tiger cubs are pretty agile that enable them to climb trees but adults are quite heavy and inept at climbing trees. However, an instance has been reported in Siberia where an angry tiger climbed a tree to swat a helicopter chasing him. 

Predation

Tigers are quite capable of killing prey heavier than himself or herself and can eat up to 30 kgs of meat in one night. They need a large only one or two times a week. They tend to snack on peacocks, small birds, locusts, crab turtles or fishes in the meantime. Contrary to popular belief, tigers are not exclusively carnivorous as they feed on jungle fruits as well. The earth present in their stomach helps them to digest a herbivorous diet. 

Wild boar, hog deer, neelgai, barking deer, chital, sambar are some of the favorites preys of the tiger in India. Tigers also attack porcupines that have a tendency to poke their spikes on their attacker. Porcupine injuries can also cause the death of the tiger.  Tigers mostly hunt between the dawn and the dusk. They laze around during the daytime in the pool or in the shade near their latest kill. They leave their remaining prey with soil to return to finish them later. However, the scavengers often take their share even when they risk their own lives in doing so. An irritated is known to chase away cows and has also been snapped attacking a vulture snacking on its kill. 

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Tigers largely use their capability of sound and sight to locate their prey. They usually tend to stalk their prey as they are incapable of running too far due to their heavy weight. They wait till they are close enough to their prey to pounce upon it. A motionless tiger seems completely invisible in bright sunshine, which helps in camouflage while attacking prey. It is surprising to note that in spite of tigers to be known as ferocious they are the worst predators and often fail to catch their prey. Most of the prey species have better sight and sound capabilities, are faster or have alarm capabilities in their system to sense danger. If the tiger fails in his attempt to catch its prey, it moves to another part of the jungle, which is quieter.

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This technique of tigers is comparable with other open habitat techniques where predators have developed preying techniques by a process called as an optimization. For example, in African Savannah, cheetahs have developed superb speed to stalk their predators and pride of lion have learned to hunt in groups. This cooperative hunting minimizes wastage of food to the scavengers who are on a lookout for free lunch that is left out in open. 

Predatory techniques of tiger largely depend upon the quantity of the prey and how easy it is to catch the same. Tigers hunt cooperatively in areas where there is dense vegetation or the prey is larger. They share their kill cooperatively thereafter. In the 1980s, up to 9 tigers were seen lying together in a social group at Ranthambore National Park just similar to a pride of lions. Adults and the young ones had equally shared their kill. Rather than sharing according to hierarchy, the tiger that killed the prey got the largest share and the first meal even if other larger tigers were present in the group.


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