As the largest members of the cat family and one of the most charismatic endangered species in the world, it’s no wonder that tigers are so widely admired.
With their unique markings and impressive hunting skills, theyhave captured the imagination of many storytellers, and have featured in movies, books, cartoons and children’s theatre shows – such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, currently playing at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. It’s this summer’s must-see musical for kids, so book your tickets today. And in the meantime, keep reading to discover nine types of tiger in the world.
Siberian tigers are the largest of the tiger subspecies. Males can grow up to 3.3 metres from head to tail and weigh over 300 kilograms. Females are slightly smaller, growing to around 2.6 metres in length and weighing up to 168kg. Siberian tigers typically have pale orange fur and brown stripes instead of black.
Bengal tigers – otherwise known as Indian tigers – are found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. They frequently roam mangrove forests and are endangered, because they’ve been extensively hunted. Some Bengal tigers have a recessive gene that results in them having cream or white colourings instead of orange. This sort of Bengal tiger is rarely found in the wild.
It’s hard to believe that creatures as beautiful as this are becoming extinct, but this is the case for the South China tiger. It’s not only classified as endangered, but is on the Red List as Critically Endangered because there are less than 20 South China tigers left in the world.
Indo-Chinese tigers live in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and formerly in China. They’re a bit smaller than Bengal tigers and have shorter, narrower stripes. Males grow to about 3-metres in length and weigh about 180kg. Females are usually just over 2-metres and weight around 115kg. Indo-Chinese tigers love living in hilly and mountainous terrain.
Found in the tropical and subtropical forests of the southern tip of Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia, the Malayan tiger is very similar to the Indo-Chinese tiger, just smaller in size. Sadly, this is also an endangered subspecies.
Majestic in every sense of the word, Sumatran tigers are the smallest of the tiger subspecies and are only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They’re highly protected due to their Critically Endangered status, with serious punishments dished out to poachers in search of their beautiful fur. Sumatran tigers have the darkest coats of all tigers, decorated with broad, black stripes that are closely spaced and often doubled. They also have stripes on their forelegs.
Fierce and powerful with big skulls and sizable bodies, the Caspian tiger used to live around the Caspian Sea and could grow to around 3.5 metres long. Sadly, they’ve been declared officially extinct, as there are no Caspian tigers in captivity, and they’ve not been spotted in the wild for decades.
Indonesia was once home to many wonderful tigers, but only the Sumatran tiger is left roaming this part of the world today. The Bali tiger also used to live on the Indonesian Islands but hasn’t been spotted since the 1930s. When it was alive it was the smallest of all tigers.
The Javan tiger was another inhabitant of Indonesia. It’s thought to be extinct or in hiding as it has not been clearly spotted since the 1970s. That said, some locals have reported seeing a tigress with two cubs, so perhaps it’s still around after all…
If you and your kids love tigers, don’t forget to book your tickets for The Tiger Who Came to Tea, showing in London this summer. Enjoy kids’ theatre at its best and make memories to last a lifetime.