Tigers are the largest cat species in the world– a male can be over eleven feet long from his nose to the tip of his tail and can weigh up to 675 pounds– and are well-known for their orange coats with black stripes. They also have white spots on the backs of their ears. Scientists think that tigers use these spots, called ocelli, to communicate with each other. Tigers are also one of the only cat species that is comfortable in water; they can swim across rivers 4.3 miles wide and can swim up to 18 miles in a day.

Tigers are endangered animals, with just a few hundred indivduals left of some subspecies. A hundred years ago, there were about 100,000 tigers in the wild, but today, scientists estimate that there are somewhere between 1,500 and 4,000 wild tigers left. Protecting the environment and supporting good zoos with scientifically-led conservation programs can help!

Photo by Bob Jagendorf.

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