Muscular, majestic and unique to look at, tigers are sensational creatures that live in many different habitats from tropical rainforests to mangrove swamps and grasslands. With their stunning stripes, huge teeth and incredible hunting skills, tigers have taken on lead roles in folktales, children’s books and even theatre shows. In fact, one of the best plays in London, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, is currently entertaining families in the capital. But what do you really know about these incredible beasts? Let’s take a look at the typical day in the life of a tiger.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Believe it or not, tigers are not the most interesting creatures to watch during daylight hours. This is because they like to sleep - a lot. A tiger will sleep anywhere between 18-20 hours every single day. Imagine dozing off for that long and not having to go to school or work! As tiger habitats can be extremely hot, these creatures source the shadiest, coolest areas and nod off amongst thickets, rocks, caves, tall grass, dense trees and shallow water bodies. They basically snooze anywhere in their territory, waking up when they hear intruders invading their space.
Tigers sleep for ages because they need to be well-rested for hunting. Unlike tigers in captivity, those in the wild aren’t given their meals at regular intervals. They have to go out and find it, making hunting a matter of life and death. Without the right amount of energy, a tiger won’t be able to stalk or sprint and will eventually die of starvation. While tigers usually just make one big kill a week, they can consume 75 pounds (35 kilograms) of food in one night. A good feed then allows them to rest and rejuvenate.
As tigers are nocturnal creatures, they love to hunt at night. Being carnivorous, they eat lots of different prey including wild pigs, deer, water buffalo, rodents, reptiles, birds, fish and even insects. They can expand their throats to swallow food in large pieces, with smaller prey being consumed whole. It can take up to eight attempts to catch the bigger animals, so now you can see why tigers really are rather sleepy creatures.
As well as eating and sleeping, tigers spend a lot of their time walking and marking their territory. They do this by spraying, scratching trees and leaving behind faeces. The smell of urine can last up to forty days and helps to keep trespassers at bay. Tigers tend to be more active when looking for a mate. One particularly determined tiger travelled an impressive 800 miles to find a mate, which is thought to be the longest distance to date.
If you love tigers and want to see one of the best shows in London, don’t miss The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Based on the much-loved children’s book by Judith Kerr, this is undoubtedly one of the best theatre shows for families with plenty of clumsy chaos, singalong songs and interactive moments.