Interesting facts about a tiger's family life

Tiger mother and cubs.

Family life of tiger

Let us imagine that we are looking in on a typical tiger family in the beautiful forests.

The male is almost 10 feet [3 m] long from his nose to the tip of his tail and weighs some 450 pounds [200 kg].

His mate is approximately 9 feet [2.7 m] long and weighs about 300 pounds [140 kg].

There are three cubs, one male and two females.

And they can always enjoy a dip in the cool waters of a nearby lake.

Cats that swim?

Yes, tigers love the water!

In fact, they have been known to swim more than three miles [5 km] without pausing.

Sunlight filters through the trees on the tigers’ shiny orange coats, making them seem to glow.

The black stripes glisten, and the white patches above their amber eyes flash brilliantly.

After you watch the three cubs for a while, it becomes easy for us to distinguish one from another by their different stripes and facial markings.

Growing up as a tiger

Picture of a tiger cub with their mother.

When the mother tiger was expecting her cubs, she sought out a suitable den, well hidden by thick vegetation.

From there, the family now enjoys a view down onto a plain with a water hole that attracts other animals.

The tigress selected this spot so she could hunt for food without being far from her cubs.

From birth, the cubs received lots of attention.

Throughout their infancy their mother cuddled them between her paws, nuzzled them, and licked them, as she murmured softly.

When the cubs got older, they began to play hide-and-seek and fight mock battles.

Although tiger cubs cannot purr, beginning at about one year of age, they exhale in great, loud bursts when their mother returns from an absence.

The cubs love to swim and play in the water, along with their mother.

Picture the tigress sitting at the edge of the lake with her tail in the water.

Every now and then, she jerks her tail out to give her hot body a cool shower.

And speaking of tails, the cubs never tire of trying to catch their mom’s tail as she swishes it from side to side.

By doing this, the tigress is not just playing with her cubs; she is also teaching them the skill of pouncing, which they will use later, when they begin hunting.

The cubs are also fond of climbing trees.

But by about 15 months of age, they have become too bulky and heavy to climb them easily.

The role of the father

Picture of a male tiger.

Until recently, many believed that the mother tiger brought up her cubs alone and that the male would kill the cubs if given the chance.

With most tigers, however, this is not the case.

The father tiger does disappear into the jungle for long periods, ranging through his territory of over 20 square miles [50 sq km].

But he also visits his family.

When he does, he may join the tigress and the cubs in hunting, even sharing the kill with them.

The more aggressive male cub may take his turn to eat first.

If he greedily keeps his sisters away too long, though, his mother nudges him or even swats him with her paw to allow the female cubs to get their fair share of the feast.

The cubs enjoy playing with their huge father.

A favorite place for this is in the nearby water hole.

The father tiger eases himself backward into the water until he is submerged up to his head. (Tigers do not like water splashing in their eyes!)

He then allows his cubs to nuzzle him as he licks their faces.

Clearly tigers have a strong family bond.