Today is International Tiger Day, an annual celebration observed every July 29 to raise awareness for tiger conservation.
Here are 10 quick facts about the majestic animal that you ought to know about:
1) Tigers have been around for a long time
Fossilized remains of tigers, estimated to be around two million years old, have been found in China. That's as old as the earliest human fossils ever found.
2) Their skin is also striped
The stripes on a tiger do not end at their fur. If you shave away their fur, the skin is also striped. On top of this, each tiger's stripes are unique to the animal - much like a human's finger prints.
3) Their roar can be heard THREE kilometres away!
Yes, that's how loud these predators can roar. Perhaps, it's best to start running when you hear a distant coming from afar.
4) They can sprint very fast
Tigers, despite their sheer size, are very fast sprinters - picking up speeds of up to 60km an hour for a short distance. However, they can't run for long distances.
5) They are huge
The Royal Bengal Tigers are the largest of all wild cats, with the adult male weighing up to a whopping 300 kilograms! Forget about them chasing and catching you, just having one of these sit on top of you can crush you instantly!
6) They are born blind
Yes, tiger cubs are born blind and only open their eyes one or two weeks after birth.
7) Tigers are excellent swimmers
Unlike domestic cats which hate water, tigers can spend hours on end playing and swimming around in the water. They have been known to hunt for fish in the eater, and there have been reported cases of a tiger swimming up to 30 kilometres in just one day!
8) They have antiseptic saliva
You would have seen the animals lick their wounds on wildlife programmes on the TV. This is because the tiger's saliva has antispectic properties that can help prevent any infection.
9) They have 'fake eyes'
Ever noticed white spots on the back of tigers' ears? These are "fake eyes" called ocelli, that gives the impression to other animals that the tiger is aware of its surrounding, even when it is looking in the opposite direction or sleeping.
10) Tigers are endangered
Less than 100 years ago, tigers could be found throughout Asia. Today, there are only an estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild - around 3,000 of which are in India! There are, in fact, more tigers in captivity in the US, than the ones left in the wild.
Among the threats faced by these majestic beasts are being hunted for their skin, meat, bones, and body parts, as well as encroachment of their habitat for development.
Source: treehugger.com, natgeokids.com, wwf.org
Photos source: treehugger.com, natgeokids.com, wwf.org, www.ranthamborenationalpark.com
Fri Jul 29 2022
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