Tiger Feeding Habits
Tigers are carnivores, which means that they consume meat. They are able to take down a variety of types of animals including plenty of them that are quite a few times larger than they are. What they eat depends on where they live. Some of the common food sources for the tiger include wild boars, water buffalos, and sambar. They may dine on leopards, snakes such as the python, and even crocodiles.
They will often look for the young and for the weak in a herd to take down. Tigers realize that they have to be swift and graceful in the execution of their hunt. If they aren’t, they risk being injured or killed by the prey. They hunt alone unlike the lions so if they get harmed they could starve before they are able to hunt again. With that in mind, they are going to look for opportunities that are low risk when it comes to food resources.
Many people don’t realize it, but the tiger will also take smaller prey when that is all they can find. This includes fish, birds, rabbits, and even small monkeys. They tend to consume large amounts of food when it is available to them. They can go for a few days though without anything to eat after consuming a very large feast.
In some areas, there are problems with tigers consuming domestic animals. They can include cats, dogs, horses, and even sheep. Cattle seem to be a common target and these types of kills have caused some issues with humans and tigers living in the same location in harmony. Another problem is that older tigers that are slowing down or those that have been injured may turn to killing humans. This has become a common problem around areas of India. Fishermen and villagers can become easy targets.
There have been some observations of tigers eating fruit of the Slow Match Tree as well as a few others. Experts believe this may be necessary from time to time for them to get fiber that they could be lacking at that point in time. They are nocturnal so they sleep during the day and hunt at night. This doesn’t mean that there will never be one hunting during the day time though.
For the tiger, a great deal of the success with the hunt comes from them being able to sneak up on their prey. They can move very fast, up to 40 miles per hour, but they can only do so for a very short time. Therefore, it is very important that they can get very close and then use the element of surprise. They may sneak through the grasses or they may leap from a ledge to reach their target prey. They have padded paws so they can move along without making a sound.
Once they have their prey close enough, they will bite the throat and then use the front paws to hold the prey as they take it down to the ground. They will remain latched onto the neck with the teeth until the prey has died.
What many people don’t realize though is that many of the times the hunt is unsuccessful. If the tiger can’t catch the prey very quickly it will not chase it far. This is due to the high amount of energy that they will have to release in order to pursue it. When a tiger is able to take down 20% of their target prey successfully that makes them a very good hunter. This means about 1 in every 20 attempts is all they succeed with.
They rely on their senses of hearing and sight to help them find prey more than they do their sense of smell. They are able to pick up very small movements on top of the ground as well as below snow in the colder temperatures. They are also able to see well at night which gives them a huge advantage over many of the types of prey they go after.