Tigers are majestic animals that have captured our imagination for years. You’ll find them in films, books, and plays – such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which is a stage show of the popular children’s book. If you’re looking for fun things to do in London this summer, add this fantastic production to your list.
When we picture a tiger, we tend to think of it as having the classic orange coat with black stripes. But did you know not all tigers have these exact colours? Let’s look at some of the different types of tiger, and the colours of their fur.
Orange is, of course, the most common colour for tigers, with different subspecies having different depths of orange colour. Sumatran tigers, for example, have a burnished orange coat and black stripes, while the Amur (or Siberian) tiger has fur that is a golden orange, and brown stripes.
White tigers are rare because their colouring is caused by a mutation in their genes – the building blocks that make all animals look the way they do. Most white tigers are Bengal tigers that have the mutation, which also gives them blue eyes. Unfortunately there are none left in the wild; they appear not to survive very long because the white of the fur doesn’t camouflage as well as the regular orange colour, making hunting hard.
The golden tiger was first seen in the wild in 1932 in India. Its fur is a golden orange colour and its stripes have a cinnamon tone, meaning they stand out much less than the stripes of a regular tiger. Like the white tiger, its colouring is the result of a genetic mutation, so there are more of them in captivity than in the wild.
Again the product of a genetic mutation, so-called black tigers are cats that have stripes that are so wide and closely set that their fur appears black. Reports suggests that there are parts of the world where these tigers are becoming more common, which is likely due to inbreeding because tigers are losing their habitat to humans.
Unfortunately, although tigers with the mutations described here are undoubtedly beautiful, the mutations themselves come with difficulties, which often means that the tigers don’t survive very long, or are born with health issues.
If you’re looking for kids’ activities, London has a vast array of options to entertain children of all ages. Don’t miss the chance to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which is playing at the Royal Theatre Haymarket until 4 September. Packed with sing along songs, magic and clumsy chaos, it’s the ideal trip out for children aged three and above, and is among the places to go in London that are tailored specifically for kids.