White

Tigers
White tigers are an endangered species and it is said that less than a
dozen have been seen in India in about a hundred years. In fact no sightings
have been reported since 1951. This may be caused by the fact that the Royal

Bengal tiger population has dropped from 40,000 to 1,800 in the past ten years
and as few as one in every 10,000 tigers is white (www.cranes.org/whitetiger).

White tigers are neither albinos nor a special species. They differ from the
normally colored tigers by having blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white fur
with black stripes. If they were albinos they would have pink eyes and a lighter
nose color. A tigers stripes are just like human fingerprints meaning that no
two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. White tigers aren\'t necessarily
born from other white tigers. White tigers get their color by a double recessive
allele. A Bengal tiger with two normal alleles or one normal and one white
allele is colored orange. Only a double dose of the mutant allele results in
white tigers (www.cranes.org/whitetiger). In fact it is even normal to find
normal colored cubs in a litter of white tigers (www.5tigers.org.com). The
scientific name for a tiger is Panthera Tigris Tigris. It was initially felis
tigris but the genus was changed to panthera because of the tiger\'s
characteristic round pupils (www.geocities.com). The largest of the big cats may
grow to over 12 feet long from its head to the tip of its tail, and weigh as
much as 660 pounds (Cavendish,696). The white tiger has long been the focus of
human fear and respect for years because of its powerful muscular body, loud
roar, and frightening snarl revealing large, sharp teeth. Tigers spend all of
their time alone which is very unusual (Thapar,115). Each tiger has its own
territory, which it marks by scratching the barks of trees, spraying urine, and
leaving piles of feces (Cavendish,696). Males are particularly aggressive toward
other males and in some cases fights result in death of the weaker tiger. The
territories may contain two or three female tigers but in most cases the area
extends to over 40 square miles (DuTemple,15). Tigers are nocturnal animals and
prefer to hunt their food under the cover of dense vegetation. They hunt by
stealth, stalking their prey silently through the trees in a low crouch until it
is within 66 feet (McClung107). The tiger then bounds forward, knocking its
victim over with a swipe of its huge forepaw and pouncing on their victims back
as it falls to the ground (Cavendish,696). Tigers never creep up on their prey
in the same direction as the wind is blowing because the scent of the tiger will
be carried to their victim (Morris,87). The tiger kills small prey by a single
bite to the back of the neck with its large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth
(Cavendish,696). It deals with larger prey by getting a suffocating grip on the
throat. Once it has made a kill, the tiger usually drags the carcass under cover
before beginning to feed (Morris,87). As the tiger eats it will make loud
growling and snarling noises to warn the predators in the area (Thapar,52). If
for some reason the tiger has to leave its dinner before it is done eating it
will cover the body with twigs and leaves before leaving (Morris,88). Tigers
need to eat about 40 pounds of meat a day and will commonly cover up to 12 miles
every night in search of their prey (McClung,150). Tigers usually eat deer, wild
pigs, wild cattle, young rhinos, baby elephants, domestic animals at near by
farms, and occasionally leopards (Morris,88). Once in a while a tiger might eat
a human but this is much less common than you would think, because tigers are
very shy of human beings and try to stay away from them (Morris,88). Once tigers
have reached three or fours years old they are old enough to breed. Tigers breed
every two to three years and the female is the one that goes looking for a mate
(McClung,212). The females will go around leaving their scents on bushes or
rocks and wait for interested males to come. When the cubs are born, however,
the male and female tigers go their separate ways and the female is left with
the responsibility of raising the cubs. The average time that tigers are
pregnant is usually about 108 days before the cubs are born (www.noahsays.com).

The female usually has litters of about three to four cubs in a