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The Bengal Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris or Panthera tigris bengalensis) is a subspecies of tiger primarily found in Bangladesh, India and also in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and in southern Tibet.[1] It is the second largest and the most common tiger subspecies, and lives in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. It is the national animal of India and Bangladesh.

The fur of this subspecies is generally orange-brown with black stripes, although there is a mutation that sometimes produces white tigers, as well as a rare variation (less than 100 known to exist, all in captivity) called the Golden Tabby as a white coat with golden patches and stripes that are much paler than normal.


Bengal Tigers hunt medium-sized and large-sized animals, such as wild boar, sambar, barasingha, chital, nilgai, gaur and water buffalo. They sometimes prey on smaller animals like hares, monkeys, langurs or peacocks and carrion is also readily taken. Bengal Tigers have also been known to prey on young Asian Elephants and rhino calves in rare documented cases.[citation needed] For instance, the World Wildlife Fund is fostering an orphaned rhino whose mother was killed by a tiger. Famous Indian hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett described an incident where two tigers fought and killed a large bull elephant.[2] Bengal Tigers have also been known to take other predators such as leopards, wolves, jackals, foxes, crocodiles and dholes as prey, although these predators are not typically a part of the tiger's diet.

Bengal Tigers prefer to hunt mostly by night, but are awake in the daytime. During the day, the cover of the tall "elephant grass" gives the feline excellent camouflage. Bengals kill prey by overpowering their victim and severing the spinal cord (preferred method for smaller prey), or applying a suffocation bite of the throat for large prey. A Bengal Tiger will usually drag its kill to a safe place to eat away from possible predators. Despite their size, Bengal Tigers can climb trees effectively, but they are not as adept as the smaller leopard, which hides its kills from other predators in the trees. Bengal Tigers are also strong and frequent swimmers, often ambushing drinking or swimming prey or chasing prey that has retreated into water. The Bengal Tiger can consume up to about 30 kg (66 lb) of meat at a time and then go without eating for days.[5] These tigers normally hunt deer or anything above 100 pounds, but when driven to hunger, it will eat anything, such as frogs, fowl, crocodiles, domestic livestock and sometimes humans.



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Craig Wiseman December 3rd, 2007 09:18:14 AM

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