Southwick’s Zoo is proud to be the home to two female Bengal Tigers, Kya (a standard gold bengal tiger) and Taj (a white bengal tiger), who are siblings and litter mates born in November of 2007. Visitors to the park enjoy watching the antics of these curious and spirited bengal tigers chasing, pouncing, and stalking each other and on warmer days they can be found swimming and playing in the water.
Scientific Name: panthera tigres
Other Names: Indian Tiger, Royal Tiger
Appearance: The male Bengal Tiger can grow up to be 10 feet long (from tip to tail) and weigh up to 500 lbs, the female Bengal Tiger can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 400 lbs. The only true striped cat; the Bengal Tiger’s coat color can vary; golden orange with narrow black, gray, or brown stripes generally in a vertical direction. A rare coat color variant caused by a recessive gene, is a chalky white with darker stripes and blue eyes; these tigers are commonly called White Tigers. It is virtually impossible to find a White Tiger in the wild today. White Tigers are bred in captivity; both parents must possess the recessive gene in order to produce a White Tiger.
Lifespan: The Bengal tiger can live up to 18 years in captivity and 15 years in the wild.
Habitat: A Bengal Tiger cam dwell in tropical jungles, brush, marshlands, and tall grasslands in fragmented areas of Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Burma. Tigers can adapt and live in a variety of habitats. They do need adequate cover to be able to ambush or stalk their prey and are therefore most likely to be found in jungles and forests.
Diet: Tigers are carnivores and avid hunters. They usually hunt medium to large prey such as pigs, deer, antelopes, and buffalo.
Predators: The Bengal Tiger’s biggest threat is man. The reason tigers are rapidly vanishing from their native habitat is due to poaching and habitat deforestation. Bengal tigers are protected under the endangered species act and there are approximately 5000 – 7000 of these animals in the wild.
Fun Facts: Tigers are solitary animals, they even avoid their own kind. The Bengal Tiger is very territorial and must have a large area to hunt. While hunting a tiger may travel up to 12 miles; they are primarily night hunters. Unlike most cats, tigers love water! Just over 100 years ago, there were over 100,000 tigers roaming the earth, during the last 64 years four subspecies of tigers have become extinct. (Bali, Javan, Caspian, and South China tiger).