White Tigers Essay

This essay has a total of 1682 words and 7 pages.

White Tigers



White tigers are an endangered species and it is said that less than a dozen have been
seen in India in about a hundred years. In fact no sightings have been reported since
1951. This may be caused by the fact that the Royal Bengal tiger population has dropped
from 40,000 to 1,800 in the past ten years and as few as one in every 10,000 tigers is
white (www.cranes.org/whitetiger).

White tigers are neither albinos nor a special species. They differ from the normally
colored tigers by having blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white fur with black stripes.
If they were albinos they would have pink eyes and a lighter nose color. A tigers stripes
are just like human fingerprints meaning that no two tigers have the same pattern of
stripes. White tigers aren't necessarily born from other white tigers. White tigers get
their color by a double recessive allele. A Bengal tiger with two normal alleles or one
normal and one white allele is colored orange. Only a double dose of the mutant allele
results in white tigers (www.cranes.org/whitetiger). In fact it is even normal to find
normal colored cubs in a litter of white tigers (www.5tigers.org.com).

The scientific name for a tiger is Panthera Tigris Tigris. It was initially felis tigris
but the genus was changed to panthera because of the tiger's characteristic round pupils
(www.geocities.com). The largest of the big cats may grow to over 12 feet long from its
head to the tip of its tail, and weigh as much as 660 pounds (Cavendish,696).

The white tiger has long been the focus of human fear and respect for years because of its
powerful muscular body, loud roar, and frightening snarl revealing large, sharp teeth.
Tigers spend all of their time alone which is very unusual (Thapar,115). Each tiger has
its own territory, which it marks by scratching the barks of trees, spraying urine, and
leaving piles of feces (Cavendish,696). Males are particularly aggressive toward other
males and in some cases fights result in death of the weaker tiger. The territories may
contain two or three female tigers but in most cases the area extends to over 40 square
miles (DuTemple,15).

Tigers are nocturnal animals and prefer to hunt their food under the cover of dense
vegetation. They hunt by stealth, stalking their prey silently through the trees in a low
crouch until it is within 66 feet (McClung107). The tiger then bounds forward, knocking
its victim over with a swipe of its huge forepaw and pouncing on their victims back as it
falls to the ground (Cavendish,696). Tigers never creep up on their prey in the same
direction as the wind is blowing because the scent of the tiger will be carried to their
victim (Morris,87). The tiger kills small prey by a single bite to the back of the neck
with its large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth (Cavendish,696). It deals with larger prey
by getting a suffocating grip on the throat. Once it has made a kill, the tiger usually
drags the carcass under cover before beginning to feed (Morris,87). As the tiger eats it
will make loud growling and snarling noises to warn the predators in the area (Thapar,52).
If for some reason the tiger has to leave its dinner before it is done eating it will
cover the body with twigs and leaves before leaving (Morris,88). Tigers need to eat about
40 pounds of meat a day and will commonly cover up to 12 miles every night in search of
their prey (McClung,150). Tigers usually eat deer, wild pigs, wild cattle, young rhinos,
baby elephants, domestic animals at near by farms, and occasionally leopards (Morris,88).
Once in a while a tiger might eat a human but this is much less common than you would
think, because tigers are very shy of human beings and try to stay away from them
(Morris,88).

Once tigers have reached three or fours years old they are old enough to breed. Tigers
breed every two to three years and the female is the one that goes looking for a mate
(McClung,212). The females will go around leaving their scents on bushes or rocks and
wait for interested males to come. When the cubs are born, however, the male and female
tigers go their separate ways and the female is left with the responsibility of raising
the cubs. The average time that tigers are pregnant is usually about 108 days before the
cubs are born (www.noahsays.com). The female usually has litters of about three to four
cubs in a special den that she has chosen where she feels the cubs will be safe. The cubs
are blind at first and weigh about 2.5 pounds and they rely on their mother for
everything (www.noahsays.com). The hardest thing for the mother to do is to keep the cubs
safe as she goes off hunting. When the cubs are small she'll probably hide them in a cave
or in-between small crevices in the rocks where they cannot be seen. When the cubs get
bigger then the mother usually hides them in clumps of long grass until she return from
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