Timeless Tiger Tips You Should Know: Do Tigers Have Striped Skin?

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Jan 18, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 30, 2021
Amazing tiger in its natural habitat.

Tiger or Panthera tigris is related to cats and is one of the largest felines in the world, comparable to a lion or Panthera leo.

The saber-toothed cat, also known as Smilodon, roamed the earth approximately 10,000 years ago. Though they do not closely resemble tigers, they are the closest ancestors of the big cats we find today.

Now, let's talk about the status of modern-day big cats. Tigers are now an endangered species, and three out of the eight subspecies of tigers have gone extinct so far.

They are distributed across the world and are found in the following areas: far east Russia, North Korea, China, India, Siberia, Southeast Asia, and Sumatra.

The Siberian Tiger is the biggest, weighing 660 lb (300 kg) with a length that can reach up to 13 ft (4 m). Tigers can adapt to various environments such as temperate forests, subtropical forests, deciduous forests, rainforests, and grasslands.

The most abundant species of the tiger family is the Indian Royal Bengal Tiger which has an approximate population of 2,000 individuals among the estimated 3,900 tigers present in the world. Bengal Tigers are prolific predators. They know exactly which part of their prey's body should be attacked to incapacitate it instantly.

Among other variants, white tigers generally occur in India, but not all white tigers are albino tigers in their truest sense. White tigers result from a genetic mutation that stops the generation of orange and tan pigment. Also, a species of the black tiger can be found in the dense woodlands of eastern India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

If you like what you read here, do also check out how tall is a grizzly bear and how do giraffes sleep.

Do any other animals have striped skin?

A few animals have spotted skin as a form of adaptation. However, the tiger seems to be the only animal that has striped skin.

Zebras and okapis sport striped fur, yet only tigers have striped skin beneath their striped fur. Snow leopards also showcase the spotted patterns of their fur on their skin as the roots of the fur are embedded into their skin.

What color is a tiger's skin?

The tigers have a unique appearance with bright orange fur.

In fact, the tiger has an almost reddish-tanned fur that has dark stripes ranging from light brown and grey to black. The base coat generally has a golden hue. Tigers have white patches on their underparts, inner limbs, cheeks, and areas around their eyes. The skin underneath the fur resembles the color of the fur of that area.

Do tigers have striped skin as well as fur?

When a tiger's fur is shaved, the skin will still display the same striped patterns.

Therefore, we can say that their skin is the same color as their fur, that is, orange or tan with chocolate color, grey or black stripes. Other animals with spotted or striped coats do not exhibit this feature. For instance, zebras have black skin underneath their black and white striped coats.

Why do tigers have striped skin?

The stripes or pattern of every tiger is different and as unique as human fingerprints. Therefore these stripes or patterns can be used to identify one tiger from another.

Tigers are predators who need to blend in with their surroundings, so the pattern present on a tiger's coat is instrumental as it helps the tigers to camouflage when hunting their prey. The dark vertical stripes help to blend with a green background.

Moreover, unlike the human eye, animals are color blind and cannot identify various colors. The orange fur appears greenish to the tiger's prey and therefore blends with its background. They mainly prey at night and consume 35-110 lb (15.8-49.8 kg) of meat at once.

Tigers mainly prey on water buffaloes, antelopes, wild pigs, and deer. Some of the tiger's favorite species of deer to hunt on are hog deer, sambar, Sikar deer, chital, and swamp deer. Another of their favorite prey is the porcupine.

Though more often than not, the quills of the porcupine injure tigers, it remains one of the favorite food of this predatory animal. An estimation states that Panthera tigris consumes about 50 deer-sized animals each year. That is approximately one animal per week.

Is there a tiger without stripes?

White Bengal offspring are born without stripes on the fur and appear completely snow-white in color. This is the result of genetic mutation.

One such tiger's name is Fareeda, and she was a part of a breeding program for the White Bengal species. However, her brother Shahir and sister Sitara are not devoid of stripes.

She was brought up by keepers at the Cango Wildlife Ranch of Cape Town in South Africa. There are even less than 20 such white tigers without stripes (that we know of), and they are all kept in captivity.

Did you know?

Tigers are incredibly stealthy wild animals that creep up on their prey. Their stripes camouflage them, making them nearly invisible to other wild animals.

Tigers love to swim and enjoy playing and relaxing in water. These animals can often be seen relaxing in bodies of water in the jungle. They can swim for several kilometers a day. A tigress trains her cubs and encourages her offspring to swim as it later serves as a hunting technique to trap other animals.

This animal can easily navigate through the jungle in the darkness of the night. They can detect any sort of danger and attack their prey. Their whiskers, present on their muzzle, are very useful as they can detect where to bite.

They mark their territory in the jungle by spraying a mixture of urine and a musky smelling fluid on trees, rocks or boulders, which has a strong smell and is known as marking fluid.

These fluid or scent markings, along with some vocal sounds and visual signals, are used as a form of communication among the two genders of the genus Panthera.

Are tigers solitary? Tigers, the largest member of the cat family, are solitary beings.

Unlike a few wild animals like hyenas and wolves, tigers prefer to live and hunt alone. This does not mean that tigers are asocial. They often socialize to share their hunt or mate. Female tigers are more restricted in their territories. Male tigers, on the other hand, move around expanding their territory in search of prey or to mate.

A tigress sticks with her cubs for approximately two months as she is solely responsible for them. It is her duty to protect her cubs as the babies are born blind and are entirely dependent on their mother. The cubs gain sight sometime between 6-12 days after birth.

Since tigers are endangered, there are a lot of conservation programs taking place to conserve the tiger population.

The tiger is one of the main predators at the top of the food chain. These wild animals, related to cats, are responsible for keeping a check on the population of the herbivores and thereby maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

But tigers are an endangered species that is often the target of poachers and hunters because, although illegally bought and sold, almost all parts of a tiger are precious. The stripes of the animals make their skins exotic, so they are used as rugs, or their coats are stuffed and kept as home decor.

The same stripes of the animals that help them camouflage in the wild make them vulnerable and likely to be hunted.

Other than their coats, the bones of tigers are also of immense value as they have medicinal properties and can be used to cure various diseases ranging from malaria, ulcer, and burns to rheumatism.

Their bones and teeth are also used to make showpieces or decorative items. Moreover, since ancient days, hunting tigers has been a sport that signifies the power, stature, and valor of a person.

Thus conservation of the tiger is an important issue. The government in India is now taking some major steps to protect and conserve tigers by forming various tiger reserves.

A few of the most famous reserves are Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka.

Forests, grasslands, and such diverse ecosystems around the world, especially in Asia, are being secured. India hosts the largest population of tigers in the world with numerous reserves to support and breed tigers so as to boost the declining population of the largest cat in the world.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for: do tigers have striped skin, then why not take a look at how do animals hibernate or Siberian tiger facts.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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