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Surprising Facts About White Tigers – Panthera Tigris Tigris
I think everyone can agree white tigers are beautiful. The ones we get to see in zoos or shows are perfect. But there is so much more behind these beautiful animals that most people don’t know. The truth is that even the ones who get to be displayed are not perfect at all. In this post, I will tell you the real facts about white tigers. Keep reading to learn more about white tigers, what they are, their history, their population status, and their almost inevitable future extinction.
13 Facts About White Tigers Everyone Should Know
- White Tigers are not albinos nor a separate specie; they are regular orange Bengal Tigers with a recessive gene. For a White Tiger to be born, both parents must carry the gene. This genetic feature makes their coat, white with black stripes instead of orange like the regular Bengal Tigers. They also have a pink nose and blue eyes.
- In the wild, a natural White Tiger is very rare. The chances are 1 in 10,000 births. In the past 100 years, only 12 have been spotted throughout India, with the last sighting reported in 1959. They are, however, in a handful of zoos and animal sanctuaries around the world.
- Although they look perfectly beautiful, the genetic mutation also causes a malformation in their eyes. The optic nerves are attached to the opposite eyes, making them crossed eyed. They also have immune deficiencies and are more susceptible to postural problems. Genetic mutations in other big cats, such as in Black Jaguars or Leopards, are different. Gene mutations in those other big cats do not cause developmental challenges.
- The Bengal Tigers today are found in small pockets of their natural habitats in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. They are found in a variety of habitats, including tropical forests, mangrove swamps, and most jungles that generally support dense vegetation with a good source of fresh water.
- White Tigers are larger than the Bengal Tigers, making them the second largest cat in the world, next to the Siberian Tiger, which is the largest big cat.
- They can measure from 7 to 11 feet, weigh between 400-550 pounds, and reach speeds of 60 MPH.
- Like all tigers, their stripes are unique to each, like human fingerprints. For the regular orange Bengal Tiger, these stripes help them hide in the forest and make them stealthy predators. White Tigers, however, are less able to camouflage. Thus their white coat gives them a disadvantage when hunting for prey.
- The White Tiger and all Bengal tigers are one of the most versatile and adaptable predators in the Asian jungle as they are not only incredibly quick and agile at running, but they are also skillful swimmers, allowing them to cross over rivers and wetlands. But unlike other big cats like the jaguars, they cannot climb trees.
- They are carnivores and hunt for Deer, Wild Boar, Cattle and Goats. The white tiger has several adaptations to help it to both catch and kill its prey, including being strong and powerful, incredibly fast, and having long and sharp claws and teeth.
- White Tigers and Bengal tigers have superior night vision. It is 6x better than a human’s.
- Female tigers give birth to up to 5 cubs after about 3 months of gestation. The cubs stay with their mother for almost 2 years.
- White Tigers are solitary and mark their territory with their scent and clawing trees. They like a lot of space, so this territory can be up to 75 square miles. They don’t allow any other tigers to enter it.
- The White Tiger is thought to have a slightly shorter life expectancy than the normal Bengal Tiger. Although there is no evidence of this in the wild, captive studies conclude that it is due to the White Tiger’s mutated genes and to the inbreeding that is required to continue breeding the White Tiger in captivity.
White Tiger Scientific Classification
The scientific classification of the white tiger is as follows: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammalia, Order: Carnivora, Family: Felidae, Subfamily: Pantherinae, Genus: Panthera, Species: Tigris, Subspecies: Panthera tigris. The white tiger is a large carnivorous mammal belonging to the Felidae family. It is a subspecies of the Bengal tiger and is known for its unique white fur coloration caused by a recessive gene. The white tiger is native to the Indian subcontinent and can be found in the forests and grasslands of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is a solitary and territorial animal that typically preys on deer, wild boars, and other small animals. Due to habitat loss and poaching, white tigers are considered an endangered species. Efforts have been made to protect and conserve their population, including captive breeding programs. The white tiger holds a significant cultural and symbolic importance in many cultures, often being revered and admired for its rare beauty and strength.
White Tiger Physical Characteristics
The white tiger is a majestic creature known for its unique physical characteristics. One of the most striking features of this magnificent animal is its pristine white fur, which sets it apart from its orange counterpart. The white fur is caused by a genetic mutation that occurs when both parents carry a recessive gene. Additionally, white tigers have piercing blue eyes, adding to their allure. They have powerful muscles and strong jaws that enable them to take down large prey. The white tiger also possesses sharp claws that aid in hunting and climbing trees. They have a long tail that is used for balance and communication. These tigers are larger and heavier than their orange counterparts, with adult males weighing up to 300 kilograms. Despite their size, white tigers are incredibly agile and can run at high speeds. Overall, the physical characteristics of the white tiger make it a truly remarkable and captivating animal.
White Tiger History
White tigers have a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years. The first recorded white tiger was found in the wild in India in the early 19th century. These tigers are not a separate subspecies, but rather a rare coloration caused by a genetic mutation. They have a striking appearance with their snow-white fur and piercing blue eyes. White tigers were highly sought after and were often kept in royal menageries as symbols of power and prestige. However, due to their rarity, white tigers were also heavily hunted, leading to a decline in their population. In recent years, efforts have been made to conserve and protect these majestic creatures. White tigers are now bred in captivity and contribute to the conservation and captive breeding programs worldwide. Despite their revered status, white tigers still face threats in the wild, such as habitat loss and poaching. Understanding the history and significance of white tigers is crucial in ensuring their survival for future generations.
White Tigers in Captivity
Captive white tigers, also known as white Bengal tigers, are a result of inbreeding to achieve the rare white coat coloration. These tigers possess a genetic mutation that inhibits the production of pigment, giving them their distinctive white fur. However, this selective breeding has led to numerous health issues and complications among captive white tigers. Inbreeding diminishes genetic diversity, making them more susceptible to genetic abnormalities and diseases. These tigers have a high risk of being born with deformities such as cross-eyes, cleft palates, and immune system deficiencies. They are also prone to develop other health problems like severe arthritis and heart issues. Furthermore, keeping white tigers in captivity raises ethical concerns. It involves removing them from their natural habitat and altering their genetic makeup for visual appeal. These majestic creatures should be allowed to thrive in their natural environment rather than being bred solely for entertainment purposes. Their conservation in the wild should be the priority to ensure their long-term survival and to preserve the natural beauty and diversity of tigers.
The Breeding of White Tigers is Banned
Many of the white tigers in captivity can trace their origins to a single white cub named Mohan, whose mother and siblings were shot by a hunter. Thus, most white tigers are related to one another. The inbreeding required to produce a white tiger in captivity results in birth mortality and deformities in more than 80% of the cases. One in thirty white tigers bred in captivity resulted in a beautiful cub suitable for display. The rest had facial deformities, cleft palates, spine scoliosis, immune deficiencies, and abnormalities in their kidneys. Because of this, the American Zoological Association banned the breeding of white tigers in captivity
Are White Tigers Are Endangered?
It is important to remember that the White Tiger is a Bengal Tiger, and the species as a whole is listed by the IUCN as Endangered. In the early 1900s, it was estimated that there were around 100,000 Tigers found in the jungles and mangrove swamps in Asia, but today, there are thought to be less than 4,000 Tigers in the wild. The biggest threat is loss of habitat. All conservation efforts are concentrated on saving tigers as a whole not necessarily on saving white tigers. Although the chances are low, it is possible for two Bengal Tigers who carry the recessive gene to meet and produce a white tiger in the wild.
How Can We All Help the Tigers?
It is my opinion that the extinction of white tigers is almost inevitable unless conservation efforts for Tigers are successful. As previously stated above, the chances of a natural wild tiger are 1 in 10,000 births. With a tiger population of less than 4,000, well, the chances are minimal. Aside from donating funds to support the efforts of conservation organizations and or adopting tigers, one thing we can all do is spread the word. So please do share this article and let’s all help save the beautiful tigers!
People Also Ask about White Tigers
Q: What are white tigers?
A: White tigers are a rare color variant of the Bengal tiger species (Panthera tigris tigris). They have a distinctive white fur color due to a genetic mutation.
Q: Are white tigers a separate species?
A: No, white tigers are not a separate species. They belong to the same species as Bengal tigers, i.e., Panthera tigris tigris.
Q: How do white tigers get their white fur?
A: White tigers inherit their white fur color from their parents, who carry a specific gene responsible for their coat coloration. The white fur is a result of a lack of red and yellow pigments.
Q: Are white tigers albino?
A: No, white tigers are not albino. They have blue eyes instead of the usual orange or yellow eyes seen in the wild. Albino animals have a complete absence of melanin, which is not the case with white tigers.
Q: Are white tigers endangered?
A: White tigers, like other tiger species, are considered endangered. Their population in the wild is critically low, mainly due to habitat loss, poaching, and lack of genetic diversity.
Q: Why are white tigers rare?
A: White tigers are rare because the gene responsible for their white fur color is recessive. It requires both parents to carry the gene for a chance to produce white tiger cubs.
Q: Are white tigers found in the wild?
A: White tigers are not commonly seen in the wild. Their distinctive white coat makes them more visible to potential predators, reducing their chances of survival in their natural habitat.
Q: How are white tigers bred in captivity?
A: White tigers are bred in captivity through selective breeding programs. Captive breeding aims to produce more white tiger cubs, often by pairing two tigers that carry the gene for white fur coloration.
Q: Are white tigers inbred?
A: Yes, in some cases, white tigers can be the result of inbreeding. Inbreeding can lead to certain health issues and genetic abnormalities in the offspring.
Q: What is the conservation status of white tigers?
A: White tigers are not recognized as a separate subspecies of tiger. However, due to their low numbers in the wild and the threat to their natural habitat, conserving the overall tiger population, including white tigers, is crucial.