Tigers have been around the world for a long time. Dated fossils found in some parts of china reveal an age of 2 million years ago. Now they mostly occupy regions of the Himalayas in the Asian continent, with other species variety occupying other regions of the world. But do tigers hibernate or migrate in winter?
Unlike other large-group cats, tigers have challenging characters that are difficult to explain. Their diverse occupancy in different regions of the world despite the seasons makes it hard to explain if they hibernate or migrate in winter. Therefore, let us learn about the tiger’s character ad species below to gain full insight.
Do Tigers Hibernate or Migrate?
Tigers neither hibernate nor migrate. Like other big cat families, tigers are great hunters and love to patrol their territories despite the season, either looking for partners to mate with or food for survival. Like tigers in tropical regions, tigers in the cold climate also have an adaptation to help them survive the temperature.
Tigers in cold climates have thick skin with a protective layer of fat under the skin to keep them warm.
However, tigers need large habitats to hunt for sufficient food. Depending on the region it controls, a tiger can occupy a region of around 400 square miles. They rarely leave these territories, but when food is scarce, they move along the jungle in what is known as tiger corridors to find sufficient food to prey on.
Their movement pattern follows the prey migration pattern but around their territories. However, not all tigers follow prey migration patterns; some, like the Siberian tigers, hunt non-migratory animals like elk, musk deer, wild boars, and lynxes.
What Do Tigers Do in the Winter?
Study shows that tigers eat a lot in the winter. Generally, tigers need to eat a lot to increase energy for their body. During metabolism, temperature release also increases, thus making them extra warm to help them survive adverse temperature conditions.
Hibernation is a survival trait for most animals in the winter, but not for tigers. Because they do not hibernate, they have a survival mechanism of reducing movement during the cold season to reduce energy loss.
Let us have a look at the types of tigers and the regions they occupy.
The Siberian tiger, also known as the Amur tiger, belongs to the subspecies of tigers called Panthera tigris tigris. It was once mainly found in the Far East, North Korea, and possibly Northern China but now occupies most regions of the Russian Far East in southwest Primorye province and Siberia. Their population is under great threat of poaching.
They mainly occupy the cold regions. They have a thick coating and dense fur, which help them survive in the deep snow of Siberia. The coating helps them move on the snow without freezing. They also possess a sharp sense of smell to help them notice and hunt prey.
The gestation period of the Siberian tiger is short, approximately 100 days or 3 to 4 months. Their females give birth once after two years. They can give birth to around seven cubs, but only a few a survival chance. Their body is covered with prominent black and brown stripes. This camouflaging appearance makes it hard to notice their approach in dry grasslands.
Bengal tigers belong to the tiger sub-specie Panthera tigris tigris. It’s among the largest tigers in the cat family, with male adults weighing approximately an average of 200- 250 kilograms, while an adult female has an average weight of 115-120 kilograms. Sexual dimorphism is making both male and female weight vary. The Bengal tiger occupied the Indian subcontinent from late 13,000 to 16,000 years ago.
Bengal tigers have an incredible adaptation to help them survive in their territories. They have an incredible sense of smell and hearing to help them hunt down their prey. They also have incredible claws, powerful jaws, flexible skeletons, and very strong muscles helpful for both chasing and tearing down prey and their enemies.
Bengal tigers are mainly solitary animals and attack by ambush. If you face it with your eyes wide open, chances of attacking you are minimal. They love resting under shades during the day and hunting late. They live around water sources so their cubs can cool themselves during hot days. A fully grown male can weigh approximately an average weight of 10 to 15 pounds, while the female weighs around 8 to 10 pounds.
White tigers, also known as the bleached tigers, are a variety of mainland tigers occupying most regions of Indian states like Assam, Odisha, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh. Also, you’ll likely find them in the former state of Rewa in the Sunderbans region. They have typical black strips and white or near-white coats.
Like the other sub-specie of tigers, white tigers have strong jaws and powerful muscles to help them take down their prey. They also possess a great sense of smell and hearing. They survive by preying on other animals in their territories.
Do Female Tigers Migrate?
Female tigers do not migrate. However, they mainly occupy large areas where food is sufficient. They love following other animals’ trails in their territories to hunt and kill them for their meat; this only happens in their territories known as the tiger’s territories.
When food is scarce, they change occupancy and look for nice places in their territories with plenty of food. Female tigers in the non-migratory territories of prey do not move following migrating animal trails. They spend most of their time hunting down animals like musk boars, lynxes, and elk.
In the rule of nature, animals in higher food chains need to be few to survive with the little prey present in their territories, but human invention is a great threat to the tiger’s population. They hunt them down, thus reducing their population.
When Do Tigers Migrate?
Tigers are not migrators, but under adverse conditions, they migrate to occupy different territories conducive to survival. Like in other animal parks, forest fires affect wild animal territories forcing them to move to other areas. Forest fires normally happen due to human activities, but on rare occasions, lightning can also cause these forest fires.
Also, poor weather conditions like drought force prey to shift to good feeding grounds. And because tigers depend on these animals for survival, they are forced to migrate out of their territories to regions with sufficient food capacity where these prey occupy.
Where Do Tigers Migrate?
Tigers migrate to regions with plenty of food capacity and water sources. Adverse weather conditions are affecting animal territories all over the globe. The changes in climate conditions are really affecting wild animal existence, and most of the animals are unable to make it out of the situation.
Drought is skewing the tiger’s territories, forcing them to seek better territories. This causes them to migrate permanently to other regions.
Most of the tigers are water lovers, especially those living in hot weather conditions. They love water to cool themselves from the hot conditions. When these water sources dry out, they are forced to migrate to other regions with water sources to continue with their cooling culture.
When Do Tigers Mate?
Tigers mate at any time of the year, although tigers in the tropical regions do it mostly from April to November; during this time, temperatures are low. A female tiger reaches maturity at 3 to 4 years while a male is 4 to years. Tigers in temperate regions mainly mate during winter months.
After conception, they take approximately 3 to 3.5 months to give birth. They give birth to between 2 to 7 puppies, and their survival is at a great threat because they are born blind, and also bad weather conditions of the time play a vital role in their survival.
The tiger mother develops a social bond with her puppies, teaching them both survival and hunting techniques in the jungle. It also feeds them for around 4 to 6 months before weaning. The cubs play by fighting and running after each other, thus, developing their speed which will later help them hunt prey.
Why Do Tigers and Lions Not Mate?
It’s rare to find a tiger and lion mate out of species diversification purposes or out of attraction. But when they mate, they give birth to a liger- a cross-breed between a female tiger and a male lion. And also, because of their difference in geographic location, mating is a challenge because they do not come across each other. Most of those reproducing are mainly done in captivity or artificial insemination.
Tigers neither hibernate nor migrate, but poor weather conditions and food scarcity can force them to migrate. It’s rare to find tiger migration, but it’s possible to find them following prey migration trails within their territories to hunt them down for meat. Forest fires also reduce the tiger’s corridors, thus forcing them to shift to suitable habitats.