Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?

Along with lions, tigers are the largest members of the cat family. One of the most feared animals of the jungle, the tiger has no enemies except man. Tigers are native to the Asian continent.

tiger stripes

Although many peoples have legends to explain the tiger’s stripes, the reason is really the animal’s adaptation to its environment. This adaptation occurred over millions of years of evolution. The tiger’s stripes are its camouflage, an adaptation in most animals which serves to protect them.

You may wonder why tigers, the largest members of the cat family along with lions, should need to be camouflaged. After all, they are the most feared animals of the jungle and have no enemies except man. It is simply that tigers, as supreme hunters, live and hunt in tall grass and tangled undergrowth. By blending in with these areas, they can sneak up on their prey, undetected.

Most scientists believe that many wild animals are color blind, or do not see vivid colors. Instead, they see only shades. The tiger’s vertical stripes would then look like bands of shadow and light in the tall grass. The stripes break up and hide the outlines of its body as it hunts, making it hardly noticeable.

The leopard’s spots serve the same function. This animal hunts in bush country, and its spots help it blend in with clumps of plants and with leaves of trees which it climbs.

The tiger’s stripes may aid in making it the perfect hunter it is. But its beautiful striped coat is also one of the main reasons that the tiger has become an endangered species. The tiger is now protected in most Asian countries, but the numbers of tigers left in the wild are startlingly low.

Only 2,000 tigers roam wild in India today as compared to 40,000 at the turn of the century.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

8 thoughts on “Why Do Tigers Have Stripes?”

  1. I love it i absoulutely adore it i go on it every day and i just live in a wee street called gleneagles gardens noone around this street could do anything like that

  2. i like tigers they are awesome i would like to have one as a pet because they could defend me from my enemies !

  3. I love tigers they are just like cats but they are bigger. I would luv to own a zoo so that i couldhave my very own pet tiger

  4. This was exactly what I was looking for for my class today. I’m so glad I found this information about the tiger’s stripes and why they are able to have orange without being greatly noticed.

  5. The tiger Panthera tigris is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.3 metres (11 ft) and weighing up to 306 kg (670 lb). It is the third largest land carnivore behind only the Polar bear and the Brown bear.

  6. i love tigers as much you all but i wouldn’t want to have one as a pet and no they are not like a domestic cats they are so much more powerful and they belong in the wild!

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