Royal Bengal Tiger Facts
May 26, 2019
Royal Bengal Tiger Facts
Royal Bengal tigers or the Pate Bagha as popularly known in Nepal are the largest of all Asian big cats, found in protected areas of Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. They normally have black strips on yellow fur. The male weighs between 200 and 300 kg and measures between 2.5 and 3.5 meters in length, whereas the female weighs between 120 and 180 kg and measures between 2 to 3 meters. They have only 30 teeth, unlike other carnivores which usually have 42. But they have bigger and more powerful teeth than any other wild cats.
Hunting and Prey
They use a strategy that combines stealth and camouflage. In the sunlight, they hide in the tall grass to stalk an animal. Camouflage can be so effective that the unsuspecting prey can be just a few meters away from the hunting tiger. They stab and bite their prey’s neck, killing them instantly. They use their tongue to groom their bodies and also clean the skin of their prey and drag it several meters to consume it or can even transport the body through to the water.
The Tiger is an excellent swimmer as well. Their meter-long tails help them to balance their bodies when chasing their prey. Tigers use their paws for various purposes like hunting, marking their territories, and grooming their bodies.
Tigers usually feed on medium and large mammals, their frequent preys are gaur, water buffalo, chital or mottled deer, wild boar, sambar, and other species of deer. They are capable of eating up to 40kg in one sitting.
Similar to other species of tigers the royal Bengal tiger also lives a solitary life, except for females which is usually accompanied by 2-3 cubs. Adults only roam together during the mating season. They communicate with each other by marking their territory; they do so in four ways
Spraying Scent: By rubbing its face, toes, and other parts of the body which has scent glands. They also spray their urine on trees, shrubs, and the ground to leave a smelly calling card. The strong urine odor signals other tigers to keep out. It also advertises the female’s readiness for reproduction.
Making scrapes: They make scrape marks using their feet, by the side of their path.
Clawing trees: They leave marks on trees with their claws which helps them remove rotten flesh from their claws.
Reproduction and Lifecycle
The Bengal tigers have no definite mating and birth seasons. Cubs are born after the gestation period of 90 to 110 days. Mostly birth occurs in December and April but it has also been found in March, May, October, and November. The cubs follow their mother on her hunting expeditions and begin to take part in hunting at 5–6 months of age before that they suckle and eat small amounts of solid food. The mothers constantly move with their cubs and lead hard life feeding, hunting, and protecting their cubs from other tigers and animals such as jackals and hyenas.
When the cubs reach 20-24 months, they slowly start to separate from the family group and start looking out for an area. Where they can establish their own territory. Young males move further away from their mother’s territory than young females. They reach their sexual maturity when they are 2-3 years old. They do not become sexually active until they leave their mothers and establish their own territory. Their average life span is between 12 to 15 years.
Royal Bengal tigers in Nepal
Nepal is one suitable habitat for these majestic creatures. The protected area of Nepal in its Terai region was home to 121 tigers in 2009 which increased to some extent in 2013 and the count was 198. The 2018 survey about the tiger population brought good news to all the wildlife and tiger lovers since the number has increased to an estimated 235. The government aims in doubling the country’s tiger population by 2022.
The protected areas in the southern part of Nepal namely Chitwan National Park, Bardia National Park (62), Banke National Park, Suklaphanta National Park, and Parsa National Park. Among these National Parks, Chitwan National Park has the highest number of tigers followed by Bardia National park and Banke National park.
Recommended Package: Tiger Encounter in Nepal