If your little ones love tigers, you might have read them stories about these magnificent creatures or looked at ‘theatre for preschoolers’ that has a tiger theme. The Tiger Who Came to Tea, for example, is both a book by Judith Kerr and a stage show, featuring a very hungry, very thirsty and very cheeky striped tiger. But how much do you know about the way tigers raise their cubs? Let’s find out.
Mum's the Boss
First and foremost it’s important to know that mum’s the boss when it comes to the cubs. It’s very rare to see male tigers taking care of their young. Tigers are generally solitary creatures and don’t play happy families. Once mating season is over, male tigers will wander off alone and the females will be left to look after any offspring that might have been born.
Mummy Tigers are Very Protective
Mummy tigers are very protective of their young, as tiger cubs are vulnerable to predators. If she feels an area is unsafe, she’ll quickly move and hide her cubs away somewhere else. She will only leave her cubs for a very short amount of time to drink and hunt, meaning they usually have a guardian nearby. Predators know this and will approach with caution to avoid attacks.
Tigresses Nurse Their Young
When a baby is born in the human world, they tend to feed for long periods in order to grow big and strong. The same applies in the tiger world. The tigress spends around 70 percent of her time nursing for the first few days after giving birth. When the cubs are a month old, she’ll nurse for around 30 percent of the day. Nursing tigresses eat 50 percent more than usual in order to keep their milk supply up. Cubs will then move onto solid food after about six to eight weeks, which their mum has to hunt for. They’re weaned completely at around six months.
Tiger Cubs are Taught How to Hunt
When tiger cubs are around eight to ten months of age, they start to hunt with their mother. The tigress will show them necessary hunting skills such as stalking, pouncing, swatting and climbing. The cubs will practise these essential survival tips as they get older and stronger.
Tigresses Lick Their Cubs
Tigresses lick their cubs a lot. This is not just to show affection. It helps to stimulate the cub’s blood flow and bowel movements. Sometimes, the tigress also eats the cub’s faeces to prevent their smell from attracting predators.
Young Tigers Become Independent
Young tigers become independent around seventeen to twenty-four months of age. Males travel far away from their birthplace, taking a permanent territory of their own when they feel strong enough. Females tend to stay closer to where they were raised.
If you love the theatre, family shows such as The Tiger Who Came To Tea are perfect. Find out more about the best theatre shows for families and enjoy a day out to remember.