Sumatran Tiger

Tiger Tiger Tiger
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Animal Profile

Sumatran tigers are strong swimmers and enjoy cooling off in streams and rivers.

Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild.

Scientific Name Panthera tigris sumatrae
Class Mammal
Length 7-9 feet (2.1-2.7 m)

Males 275-300 pounds (124-136 kg)

Females 150-175 pounds (68-79 kg)

Life span 18.4 years (MLE)
Gestation about 103 days
Number of young at birth up to 7, but average is 2 to 4
Size at birth 2-3 pounds (.9-1.4 kg)
Age of maturity 3 to 6 years
Conservation status endangered

The tiger’s tale
Sumatran tigers live in the rain forests and grasslands of Sumatra and Indonesia. At the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, you can see Sumatran tigers in Tiger Forest.

A striped hunter
Tigers hunt and eat boar, deer, wild pigs, water buffalo, wild cows, snakes, fish, frogs, and birds. At the zoo, they eat a feline diet and occasionally large bones to gnaw on.

So what’s the deal with the stripes anyway?
Tigers’ black stripes provide camouflage that is most effective at dawn and dusk. Compared to the other four tiger subspecies, Sumatran tigers are the smallest and have closer, narrower stripes on brighter colored fur than the others.

The tools of a predator
Tigers have sharp teeth and tongues covered with tiny backward-pointing bristles used for grooming and eating. Tigers see much like humans during the day but far more accurately than us at night. Sumatran tigers can also hear extremely well.

If at first you don’t succeed…
Hunting requires a lot of energy. Tigers travel up to 15 miles to find food, and they successfully catch prey in only one out of ten tries. Sumatran tigers are most active at night and hunt mainly at dusk and dawn. They are solitary animals, but sometimes socialize when hunting.

Bringing up cubs
Tiger mothers raise two to four cubs. Cubs are born blind and helpless weighing two to three pounds. Cubs soon tag along on the hunt, learning their mother’s techniques. The cubs hunt alone at one year of age. Cubs remain with their mother for two to three years, leaving after a new litter is born. Male cubs grow faster than their female siblings.

Disappearing act
Tigers are in big trouble. As their habitat is cleared for farming and palm oil plantations, the tiger population is dropping. As a predator at the top of the food chain, they are extremely vulnerable. Improved monitoring and pressure on the Indonesian government may help. You can choose to buy products that use only sustainable palm oil, which preserves native forests for tigers and other rare animals.