Amur (Siberian) Tiger Fact File
The Amur tiger is the largest of the five subspecies of tiger. Overall tigers are considered to be the largest of the world's big cat species.
Males are larger than females. The males can reach lengths of up to 3.3m (11ft) long with females coming in at 2.7m (9ft) long. They reach weights of up to 272kg (600lbs) for males with females weighing 168kg (370lbs). At the shoulder both will stand around 0.9m (3ft) tall.
Their large size helps to conserve heat better, an adaptation for their cold habitat.
Amur tigers are covered by a coat of orange fur which is patterned with black stripes. On the underside and around the face and muzzle they have white fur. Around the neck is a ruff of fur. This subspecies has the most developed ruff.
Their fur tends to be the lightest shade of orange of any tiger subspecies.
Each Amur tiger has a unique coat pattern similar to a human's fingerprints.
At the end of the body is a tail which can add between 60 and 110cm (2 and 3.5ft) to their length.
Due to the cold environments which they call home these animals have thicker fur to keep them warm. This fur extends on to the feet pad to keep the feet warm and also makes their steps silent as they move towards prey.
Extending from either side of the mouth are whiskers.
Each toe ends with a retractable claw which helps them to run.
Records exist of these animals hunting and eating an adult brown bear.
Due to the large size of their prey it may provide food for several days. They can consume large amounts of prey at once, potentially up to 27kg (60lbs) in one night.
They will stalk close to prey before pouncing on and killing it. Prey is then dragged to a secluded spot where they can consume it.
Panthera tigris altaica
Wild 10-14 years
Captive 20 years
— AD —
Asia is the native home of the Amur tiger. The majority of the remaining population is found in Russia and China with a potential population remaining in North Korea.
These animals make their home in forests. They are well adapted for life in colder climates.
Amur tigers maintain one of the largest home ranges of any tiger subspecies which is a result of naturally low prey numbers in part of their range.
When a female is receptive to mating she scratches and leaves urine deposits around to alert males. Several males may be attracted to the same female and this can lead to a battle for mating rights.
Males and females will both have multiple partners throughout their life.
An Amur tiger will give birth to a litter of 1 to 5 cubs after a gestation period of 3 to 3.5 months.
By 3 months old the cubs will accompany their mother on hunts. Cubs are weaned off milk by six months old though the mother will assist them with food until 18-20 months old.
Females will give birth in a sheltered spot such as a cave or dense thicket.
Between 1.5 and 3 years old the cubs will become independent.
Females reach sexual maturity by 3 years of age with males maturing by the time they are 4 years old.
A female tends to give birth once every two years.
Tigers are one of the few cats to not be afraid of water and will often live near it. They will use water to cool off during warmer periods.
Amur tigers are considered to be a solitary species and outside of mothers and their cubs they do not associate with one another.
Communication with other tigers still occurs potentially though scent marking and leaving scrapes, claw marks or feces for other tigers to find.
They can also create a range of vocalizations including roars, growls, snarls, grunts, moans and a meow.
During the day a human and a tiger have similar eyesight but at night the Amur tigers is around six times as good.
Predators and Threats
In their habitat the Amur tiger represents the apex predator and they have no natural threats.
Adult males may kill cubs which have been fathered by other males if they encounter them.
Amur tigers are highly threatened with fewer than 400 thought to remain in the wild. This does represent a small increases from the 1940s when they were close to extinction with as few as 50 individuals remaining. The outlawing of hunting of this species in 1947 helped to halt this decline.
Humans have contributed to their decline though habitat loss and poaching along with spreading infectious diseases. Logging creates a secondary issue of removing their food source. This can then lead them to seek out domestic livestock which may lead to persecution by ranchers.
Hunting may occur to feed the traditional medicine trade with tiger bones, meat and skin seen as a cure for many ailments.
Their small population size has created an increased risk of inbreeding which may cause a loss of genetic diversity.
The Amur tiger is also known as the Siberian tiger.
During winter the Amur tiger may endure temperatures as low as -34°C (-29.2°F).
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By Appaloosa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8890924
By S. Taheri – Zoo, own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=969938
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