What do tigers eat?
In the wild, tigers mostly eat meat.
Their favorite prey is usually water buffalo and deer; they sometimes also eat boar, antelope, and even young elephants.
They will attack and kill any animal that they encounter if it is weaker than them, but in most cases they avoid humans.
As with all cats, tigers are obligate carnivores.
This means that they only subsist on meat and as obligate carnivores, they must eat meat to survive.
Most of the time tigers will kill large ungulates such as wild pigs, deer, and water buffalo.
This is because these animals usually weigh over 300 pounds and sometimes even up to 800 pounds.
Tigers have also been observed eating smaller animals such as monkeys, wild pigs, and porcupines.
They have been known to even attack and eat small animals such as dogs.
In captivity, tigers are fed mostly chicken, beef, and pork.
These meats come from dead farm animals that would otherwise be thrown away.
They also get a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables from farms, zoos, and veterinary offices.
Tigers in zoos are sometimes fed live prey such as rabbits, which they kill and then eat.
It is safe to say that although tigers may consume some fruit and vegetables when given the opportunity, their natural diet consists primarily of meat.
What Are a Tiger’s Eating and Hunting Habits?
Tigers have a few interesting eating habits.
For one, tigers never share food with other members of the same species.
This makes sense because if another tiger tried to eat from its kill.
Basically, they could potentially fight for dominance over the food.
However, tigers sometimes do not hunt alone; instead, they hunt in groups because it is easier to kill larger prey items when there are multiple tigers attacking them.
The success rate of a single tiger killing a large animal on its own is very low, but with three or four tigers it becomes much higher.
Tigers also do not chew their food because all they have are small teeth that are specifically designed to pull the meat off of bones.
They also do not have flat molars that are used to chew food, which is why they swallow their meat whole.
As stated above, tigers hunt for large mammals such as deer and water buffalo.
Sometimes though, tigers will live on a diet of strictly small prey.
This usually occurs when there is less prey in the wild.
Some habitats are known for having low numbers of larger prey animals, therefore tigers will attack smaller animals instead.
For example, in India, there are many marshlands that have very little vegetation and therefore it can be harder to find large prey items, so tigers live on a diet of mainly fish.
Tigers often swim out into deep water to catch fish because that is where the fish are.
Check out our other animal FAQs here:
- Are Narwhals Extinct?
- What Do Dolphins Eat?
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