Horse Picture - Horse Wallpaper

Horse spotted wallpaper
Horse spotted wallpaper

runing white Horses wallpaper
runing white Horses wallpaper

jumping Horses picture
jumping Horses picture

baby Horse picture
baby Horse picture

horse beach wallpaper
horse beach wallpaper

red white horse picture
red white horse picture

runing horse photo
wild horse photo

noble horse picture
noble horse picture


Depending on breed, management and environment, the domestic horse today has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. It is uncommon, but a few horses live into their 40s, and, occasionally, beyond. The oldest verifiable record was "Old Billy," a horse that lived in the 19th century to the age of 62. In modern times, Sugar Puff, who had been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest then-living pony, died at age 56.

Regardless of a horse's actual birthdate, for most competition purposes, horses are considered a year older on January 1 of each year in the northern hemisphere and July 1 in the southern hemisphere. The exception is endurance riding, where the minimum age to compete is based on the horse's actual calendar age.

The following terminology is used to describe horses of various ages:

Foal: a horse of either sex less than one year old. A nursing foal is sometimes called a suckling and a foal that has been weaned is called a weanling. Most domesticated foals are weaned at 4-6 months of age.
Yearling: a horse of either sex that is between one and two years old.
Colt: a male horse under the age of four.
Filly: a female horse under the age of four.
Mare: a female horse four years old and older.
Stallion: a non-castrated male horse four years old and older. Some people, particularly in the UK, refer to a stallion as a "horse."
Gelding: A castrated male horse of any age, though for convenience sake, many people also refer to a young gelding under the age of four as a "colt."
In horse racing the definitions of colt, filly, mare, and stallion or horse may differ from those given above. In the United Kingdom, Thoroughbred horse racing defines a colt as a male horse less than five years old and a filly as a female horse less than five years old.[citation needed] In the USA, both Thoroughbred racing and harness racing defines colts and fillies as four years old and younger.

A very rough estimate of a horse's age can be made from looking at its teeth.

The size of horses varies by breed, but can also be influenced by nutrition. The general rule for cutoff in height between what is considered a horse and a pony at maturity is 14.2 hands high. (abbreviated "h" or "hh") (147 cm, 58 inches) as measured at the withers. An animal 14.2h or over is usually considered a horse and one less than 14.2h is a pony.

However, there are exceptions to the general rule. Some smaller horse breeds who typically produce individual horses both under and over 14.2h are considered "horses" regardless of height. Likewise, some pony breeds, such as the Pony of the Americas or the Welsh pony, share some features of horses and individual animals may occasionally mature at over 14.2h, but are still considered ponies.

The difference between a horse and pony is not simply a height difference, but also a difference in phenotype or appearance. There are noticeable differences in conformation and temperament. Ponies often exhibit thicker manes, tails and overall coat. They also have proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, shorter and thicker necks, and short heads with broad foreheads. They often have calmer temperaments than horses and also a high level of equine intelligence that may or may not be used to cooperate with human handlers.

Light riding horses such as Arabians, Morgans, or Quarter Horses usually range in height from 14.0 (142 cm) to 16.0 hands (163 cm) and can weigh from 386 kilograms (850 lbs) to about 540 kg (1200 lbs). Larger riding horses such as Thoroughbreds, American Saddlebreds or Warmbloods usually start at about 15.2 hands (157 cm) and often are as tall as 17 hands (172 cm), weighing from 500 kg (1100 lbs) to 680 kg (1500 lbs). Heavy or draft horses such as the Clydesdale, Belgian, Percheron, and Shire are usually at least 16.0 (163 cm) to 18.0 hands (183 cm) high and can weigh from about 680 kg (1500 lb) up to about 900 kg (2000 lb). Ponies cannot be taller than 14.2h, but can be much smaller, down to the Shetland pony at around 10 hands, and the Falabella which can be the size of a medium-sized dog. However, while many miniature horse breeds are small as or smaller than a shetland pony, because they are bred to have a horse phenotype (appearance), their breeders and registries classify them as very small horses rather than ponies.

The largest horse in history was a Shire horse named Sampson, later renamed Mammoth, foaled in 1846 in Bedfordshire, England. He stood 21.2½ hands high (i.e. 7 ft 2½ in or 2.20 m ), and his peak weight was estimated at over 3,300 lb (approx 1.5 tonnes). The current record holder for the world's smallest horse is Thumbelina, a fully mature miniature horse affected by dwarfism. She is 17 inches tall and weighs 60 pounds.

Reproduction and development
Main article: Horse breeding
Pregnancy lasts for approximately 335-340 days and usually results in one foal (male: colt, female: filly). Twins are rare. Colts are usually carried 2-7 days longer than fillies. Females 4 years and over are called mares and males are stallions. A castrated male is a gelding. Horses, particularly colts, may sometimes be physically capable of reproduction at approximately 18 months but in practice are rarely allowed to breed until a minimum age of 3 years, especially females. Horses four years old are considered mature, though the skeleton usually finishes developing at the age of six, and the precise time of completion of development also depends on the horse's size (therefore a connection to breed exists), gender, and the quality of care provided by its owner. Also, if the horse is larger, its bones are larger; therefore, not only do the bones take longer to actually form bone tissue (bones are made of cartilage in earlier stages of bone formation), but the epiphyseal plates (plates that fuse a bone into one piece by connecting the bone shaft to the bone ends) are also larger and take longer to convert from cartilage to bone as well. These plates convert after the other parts of the bones do but are crucial to development.

Depending on maturity, breed and the tasks expected, young horses are usually put under saddle and trained to be ridden between the ages of two and four. Although Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse race horses are put on the track at as young as two years old in some countries (notably the United States), horses specifically bred for sports such as show jumping and dressage are generally not entered into top-level competition until a minimum age of four years old, because their bones and muscles are not solidly developed, nor is their advanced training complete. For endurance riding competition, horses may not compete until they are a full 60 calendar months (5 years) old.

Main article: Horse anatomy
Horses have, on average, a skeleton of 205 bones. A significant difference in the bones contained in the horse skeleton, as compared to that of a human, is the lack of a collarbone--their front limb system is attached to the spinal column by a powerful set of muscles, tendons and ligaments that attach the shoulder blade to the torso. The horse's legs and hooves are also unique, interesting structures. Their leg bones are proportioned differently from those of a human. For example, the body part that is called a horse's "knee" is actually the carpal bones that correspond to the human wrist. Similarly, the hock, contains the bones equivalent to those in the human ankle and heel. The lower leg bones of a horse correspond to the bones of the human hand or foot, and the fetlock (incorrectly called the "ankle") is actually the proximal sesamoid bones between the cannon bones (a single equivalent to the human metacarpal or metatarsal bones) and the proximal phalanges, located where one finds the "knuckles" of a human. A horse also has no muscles in its legs below the knees and hocks, only skin and hair, bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the assorted specialized tissues that make up the hoof (see section hooves, below).

Main article: Equine nutrition
A horse is a herbivore with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed regularly throughout the day, and so they have a relatively small stomach but very long intestines to facilitate a steady flow of nutrients. A 1000 pound horse will eat between 15 and 25 pounds (approximately 7-11 kg) of food per day and, under normal use, drink 10 to 12 gallons (about 38-45 litres) of water. Horses are not ruminants, so they have only one stomach, like humans, but unlike humans, they can also digest cellulose from grasses due to the presence of a "hind gut" called the cecum, or "water gut," that food goes through before reaching the large intestine. Unlike humans, horses cannot vomit, so digestion problems can quickly spell trouble, with colic a leading cause of death.

Main article: Horse teeth

the incisors of a horse.Horses are adapted to grazing. In an adult horse, there are 12 incisors (six upper and six lower), adapted to biting off the grass or other vegetation, at the front of the mouth. There are 24 teeth adapted for chewing, the premolars and molars, at the back of the mouth. Stallions and geldings have four additional teeth just behind the incisors, a type of canine teeth that are called "tushes." Some horses, both male and female, will also develop one to four very small vestigial teeth in front of the molars, known as "wolf" teeth, which are generally removed because they can interfere with the bit.

There is an empty interdental space between the incisors and the molars where the bit rests directly on the bars (gums) of the horse's mouth when the horse is bridled.

The incisors show a distinct wear and growth pattern as the horse ages, as well as change in the angle at which the chewing surfaces meet. The teeth continue to erupt throughout life as they are worn down by grazing, and while the diet and veterinary care of the horse can affect the rate of tooth wear, a very rough estimate of the age of a horse can be made by looking at its teeth.

Main article: horse hoof, horseshoe, and farrier
The critical importance of the feet and legs is summed up by the traditional adage, "no foot, no horse." The horse hoof begins with the distal phalanges, the equivalent of the human fingertip or tip of the toe, surrounded by cartilage and other specialized, blood-rich soft tissues such as the laminae, with the exterior hoof wall and horn of the sole made essentially of the same material as a human fingernail. The end result is that a horse, weighing on average 1,000 pounds, travels on the same bones as a human on tiptoe. For the protection of the hoof under certain conditions, some horses have horseshoes placed on their feet by a professional farrier. The hoof continually grows, just like a large fingernail, and needs to be trimmed (and horseshoes reset, if used) every six to eight weeks.


A horse's eyeThe senses of a horse are generally superior to those of a human. As prey animals, they must be aware of their surroundings at all times. They have very large eyes (among land animals only the ostrich has a larger eye), with excellent day and night vision, though they may have a limited range of color vision. The side positioning of the eyes gives the horse a wide field of vision of about 350°. While not color-blind, studies indicate that they have difficulty distinguishing greens, browns and grays. Their hearing is good, and the pinna of their ears can rotate a full 360 degrees in order to pick up sound from any direction. Their sense of smell, while much better than that of humans, is not their strongest asset; they rely to a greater extent on vision.

A horse's sense of balance is outstanding; the cerebellum of their brain is highly developed and they are very aware of terrain and placement of their feet. Horses' sense of touch is better developed than many people think; they immediately notice when a fly or mosquito lands on them, even before the insect attempts to bite. Their sense of taste is well-developed in order to determine the nature of the plants they are eating, and their prehensile lips can easily sort even the smallest grains. Horses will seldom eat most poisonous plants or spoiled food unless they have no other choices, although a few toxic plants have a chemical structure that appeals to animals, and thus poses a greater risk of being ingested.


Main articles: Horse behavior and Stable vices
Horses are prey animals with a well-developed fight-or-flight instinct. Their first response to threat is to startle and usually flee, although they are known to stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring in cases where flight is not possible, or when their young are threatened. They also tend to be curious; when startled, they will often hesitate an instant to ascertain the cause of their fright, and may not always flee from something that they perceive as non-threatening. Through selective breeding, some breeds of horses are quite docile, particularly certain large draft horses. However, most light horse riding breeds were developed for speed, agility, alertness and endurance; natural qualities that extend from their wild ancestors.

Horses are herd animals, with a clear hierarchy of rank, led by a dominant animal (usually a mare). Horses are also social creatures who are able to form companionship attachments to their own species and to other animals, including humans. They communicate in various ways, including vocalizations such as nickering or whinnying, mutual grooming, and body language. Many horses will become difficult to manage if they are isolated. When this behavior occurs while being handled by human, the horse is called "herd-bound". However, through proper training, it is possible to teach any horse to accept a human as a type of companion, and thus be comfortable away from other horses.

When confined with insufficient companionship, exercise or stimulation, horses may develop stable vices, an assortment of bad habits, mostly psychological in origin, that include wood chewing, wall kicking, "weaving" (rocking back and forth) and other problems.

Sleep patterns
See also: Horse sleep patterns and Sleep in non-humans

When horses lie down to sleep, others in the herd remain standing, awake or in a light doze, in order to keep watch.Horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down. They are able to doze and enter light sleep while standing, an adaptation from life as a prey animal in the wild. Lying down makes an animal more vulnerable to predators. Horses are able to sleep standing up because a "stay apparatus" in their legs allows them to relax their muscles and doze without collapsing.

Unlike humans, horses do not need a solid, unbroken period of sleep time. They obtain needed sleep by means of many short periods of rest. Horses may spend anywhere from four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and from a few minutes to several hours lying down. However, not all this time is the horse actually asleep; total sleep time in a day may range from several minutes to a couple of hours. Horses require approximately two and a half hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period. Most of this sleep occurs in many short intervals of about 15 minutes each.

Horses need to lie down occasionally, and prefer soft ground for a nap.Horses must lie down to reach REM sleep. They only have to lie down for an hour or two every few days to meet their minimum REM sleep requirements. However, if a horse is never allowed to lie down, after several days it will become sleep-deprived, and in rare cases may suddenly collapse as it involuntarily slips into REM sleep while still standing. This condition differs from narcolepsy, though horses may also suffer from that disorder.

Horses sleep better when in groups because some animals will sleep while others stand guard to watch for predators. A horse kept entirely alone will not sleep well because its instincts are to keep a constant eye out for danger.

Main article: Horse gait

Sequence of a race horse gallopingAll horses move naturally with four basic gaits: the walk, trot or jog, canter or lope, and gallop.

Besides these basic gaits, some horses pace, instead of trot. In addition, there are many "ambling" gaits such as the slow gait, rack, fox trot running walk, and tölt. These special gaits are often found in specific breeds, often referred to as "gaited" horses because they naturally possess additional gaits that are approximately the same speed as the trot but smoother to ride. Technically speaking, "gaited horses" replace the standard trot (which is a 2 beat gait) with one of the four beat gaits.

Horse breeds with additional gaits that often occur naturally include the Tennessee Walking Horse which naturally performs a running walk, the American Saddlebred which can be trained to exhibit a slow gait and the rack, Paso Fino, which has two ambling gaits, the paso corto and paso largo, and Icelandic horses which are known for the tölt. The fox trot is found in several breeds, most notably the Missouri Foxtrotter. Standardbreds, depending on bloodlines and training, may either pace or trot.

Horse Care
Main articles: Horse care, Equine nutrition, Horse grooming, and Veterinary medicine
Horses are animals that evolved to graze. Therefore, they eat grass or hay, sometimes supplemented with grain. They require a plentiful supply of clean water, a minimum of 10 to 12 gallons per day per horse. Although horses are adapted to live outside, they require shelter from the wind and rain. Horses require annual vaccinations to protect against various diseases, need routine hoof care by a farrier, and regular dental examinations from a veterinarian or a specialized equine dentist. If horses are kept inside in a barn, they require regular daily exercise for their physical health and mental well-being. When turned outside, they require well-maintained, sturdy fences to be safely contained.

Tiger Picture - Tiger Wallpaper

Tiger Picture - Tiger Wallpaper

Tiger hunted picure
Tiger hunted picure

Tiger anger wallpaper
Tiger anger wallpaper

Tiger anger wallpaper
Tiger anger wallpaper
Tiger anger picture

white Tiger wallpaper
white Tiger wallpaper
white Tiger picture

Tiger tooths picture
Tiger tooths picture

Tiger run on snow wallpaper
Tiger run on snow picture

interesting white Tiger picture
interesting white Tiger picture

white Tiger picture
white Tiger picture

Tigers (Panthera tigris) are mammals of the Felidae family and one of four “big cats” in the Panthera genus. They are superpredators and the largest cat species in the world, comparable in size to the biggest fossil felids. The Royal Bengal Tiger is the most common subspecies of tiger, constituting approximately 80% of the entire tiger population, and is found in the Indian subcontinent. The tiger’s beautiful blend of grace and ferocity led the legendary author and conservationist, Jim Corbett to remark, “The Tiger is a large hearted gentleman with boundless courage…”.

Most tigers live in forests or grasslands, for which their camouflage is ideally suited, and where it is easy to hunt prey that are faster or more agile. Among the big cats, only the tiger and jaguar are strong swimmers; tigers are often found bathing in ponds, lakes, and rivers. Tigers hunt alone and eat primarily medium to large sized herbivores such as sambar deer, wild pigs, gaur, and water buffalo. However, they also take smaller prey on occasion. Old and injured tigers have been known to take to easier prey such as humans or domestic cattle and are then termed as man-eaters or cattle-lifters which often leads to them being captured, shot or poisoned.

Humans are the tiger’s only true predator, as tigers are often poached illegally for their fur. Also, their bones and nearly all body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine for a range of purported uses including pain killers and aphrodisiacs. Poaching for fur and destruction of habitat have greatly reduced tiger populations in the wild. A century ago, it is estimated there were over 100,000 tigers in the world; now numbers are down to below 2,500 mature breeding individuals, with no subpopulation containing more than 250 mature breeding individuals.

Physical traits

Tigers are the largest and heaviest cats in the world. Although different subspecies of tiger have different characteristics, in general male tigers weigh between 200 and 320 kg (440 lb and 700 lb) and females between 120 and 181 kg (265 lb and 400 lb). At an average, males are between 2.6 and 3.3 metres (8 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 8 inch) in length, and females are between 2.3 and 2.75 metres (7 ft 6 in and 9 ft) in length. Of the living subspecies, Sumatran tigers are the smallest, and Amur or Siberian Tigers are the largest.

Most tigers have orange coats, a fair (whitish) medial and ventral area and stripes that vary from brown or hay to pure black. The white tiger has far fewer apparent stripes. White tigers, however, are not a separate sub-species; they are leucistic Indian tigers. The form and density of stripes differs between subspecies, but most tigers have in excess of 100 stripes. The now-extinct Javan tiger may have had far more than this. The pattern of stripes is unique to each animal, and thus could potentially be used to identify individuals, much in the same way as fingerprints are used to identify people. This is not, however, a preferred method of identification, due to the difficulty of recording the stripe pattern of a wild tiger. It seems likely that the function of stripes is camouflage, serving to hide these animals from their prey. The stripe pattern is found on a tiger’s skin and if shaved, its distinctive camouflage pattern would be preserved.

Like most cats, tigers are believed to have some degree of colour vision.

Several obscure references to various other tiger colours have also been found, including most notably, the reference to the “blue” or slate-coloured tiger.

Hunting methods

Tigers often ambush their prey as other cats do, overpowering their prey from any angle, using their body size and strength to knock prey off balance. Even with great masses, Tigers can reach speeds of about 60km/h (37mph). Once prone, the tiger bites the back of the neck, often breaking the prey’s spinal cord, piercing the windpipe, or severing the jugular vein or carotid artery. For large prey, a bite to the throat is preferred. After biting, the tiger then uses its muscled forelimbs to hold onto the prey, bringing it to the ground. The tiger remains latched onto the neck until its prey dies.

Powerful swimmers, tigers are known to kill prey while swimming. Some tigers have even ambushed boats for the fishermen on board or their catches of fish.[citation needed]

The majority of tigers never hunt humans except in desperation. Probably only 3 or 4 tigers out of every 1000 tigers kill a person as prey in their lifetimes. The usual man-eater is an injured or ill tiger which can no longer catch its usual prey and must resort to a smaller, slower target. Like most other large predators they generally recognize humans as unsuitable prey. The Sundarbans mangrove swamps of Bengal have had a higher incidence of man-eaters, where some healthy tigers have been known to hunt humans as prey.

In the wild, tigers can leap as high as 5 m and as far as 9-10 m, making them one of the highest-jumping mammals (just slightly behind cougars in jumping ability).

They have been reported to carry domestic livestock weighing 50 kg while easily jumping over fences 2 m high. Their forelimbs, massive and heavily muscled, are used to hold tightly onto the prey and to avoid being dislodged, especially by large prey such as gaurs. Gaurs and water buffalo weighing over a ton have been killed by tigers weighing about a sixth as much. A single tremendous blow of the paw can kill a full-grown wolf or human, or can heavily injure a 150 kg Sambar deer.

Biology and ecology

Adult tigers are territorial and fiercely defensive. A tigress may have a territory of 20 km² while the territories of males are much larger, covering 60-100 km². Male territories may overlap those of many females, but males are intolerant of other males within their territory. Because of their aggressive nature, territorial disputes are violent and often end in the death of one of the males. To identify his territory the male marks trees by spraying urine and anal gland secretions on trees as well as by marking trails with scat. Males show a behavior called flehmen, a grimacing face, when identifying a female’s reproductive condition by sniffing their urine markings.

A female is only receptive for a few days and mating is frequent during that time period. A pair will copulate frequently and noisily, like other cats. The gestation period is 103 days and 3–4 cubs of about 1 kg each are born. The females rear them alone. Wandering male tigers may kill cubs to make the female receptive. At 8 weeks, the cubs are ready to follow their mother out of the den. The cubs become independent around 18 months of age, but it is not until they are around 2–2½ years old that they leave their mother. The cubs reach sexual maturity by 3–4 years of age. The female tigers generally own territory near their mother, while males tend to wander in search of territory, which they acquire by fighting and eliminating a territorial male. Over the course of her life, a female tiger will give birth to an approximately equal number of male and female cubs. Tigers breed well in captivity, and the captive population in the United States may rival the wild population of the world.

In the wild, tigers mostly feed on deer, wild boar, and wild cattle, including gaur and water buffaloes, young rhinos and young elephants, and sometimes, leopards and bears. Tigers have been known to kill crocodiles on occasion , although predation is rare and the predators typically avoid one another. Siberian tigers and brown bears are a serious threat to each other and both tend to avoid each other. Statistically though, the Siberian tiger has been the more successful in battles between the two animals because bears taken by tigers are often smaller sized bears, however tigers can and do kill larger brown bears. Even female tigers, which are considerably smaller than male tigers, are capable of taking down and killing adult gaurs by themselves. Sambar, wild boar and gaur are the tiger’s favoured prey in India. Young elephant and rhino calves are occasionally taken when they are left unprotected by their herds. A case where a tiger killed an adult female Indian rhino has been observed.

Tigers prefer large prey such as sambar, gaur and wild water buffalo because they provide more meat and last for many days, avoiding the need for another hunt. In all of their range, tigers are the top predators and do not compete with other carnivores other than the dhole or Indian wild dog, which makes up for its relative lack of strength by numbers. They do not prey on large animals such as adult elephants and rhinos, although they will prey on their young whenever they have an opportunity. However, a hungry tiger will attack anything it regards as potential food, including humans.

Tigers have been studied in the wild using a variety of techniques. The populations of tigers were estimated in the past using plaster casts of their pugmarks. In recent times, camera trapping has been used instead. Newer techniques based on DNA from their scat are also being evaluated. Radio collaring has also been a popular approach to tracking them for study in the wild.


There are eight subspecies of tiger, three of which are extinct and one of which is almost certain to become so in the near future. Their historical range (severely diminished today) ran through Russia, Siberia, Iran, Afghanistan, India, China and Southeast Asia, including the Indonesian islands. The South China Tiger is believed to be the first tiger. These are the surviving subspecies, in descending order of wild population:

* The Bengal tiger or the Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is found in parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. It lives in varied habitats - grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests, scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. The Indian government’s estimated population figure for these tigers is between 3,100 and 4,500, 3,000 of which are found in India alone. However, many Indian tiger conservationists doubt this number, seeing it as overly optimistic. The number of Bengal tigers in India may be lower than 2000, as most of the collected statistics are based on pugmark identification, which often gives a biased result. Even though this is the most ‘common’ tiger, these tigers are under severe pressure from both habitat destruction and poaching. In 1972, India launched a massive wildlife conservation project, known as Project Tiger, to protect the depleting numbers of tigers in India. The project helped increase the population of these tigers from 1,200 in the 1970s to 3,000 in the 1990s and is considered as one of the most successful wildlife conservation programs. Recently these numbers have been found to be cooked up; At least one Tiger Reserve (Sariska) has lost its entire tiger population to poaching. Male Bengal tigers can range anywhere from 200 to 295 kg (440-650 lb) and females range between 120-180 kg (264-400 lb). Most males in the wild usually weigh 205 to 227 kg (450-500 lb), while the average female will weigh about 140 kg (310 lb). However, there are recorded instances of shot males that weighed more than 300 kg. One large male killed in Nepal in 1942 weighed 318 kg (700 lbs), while another, killed in 1910 in India, weighed 317 kg (700 lbs). The largest Bengal tiger ever shot was a male 3.3 m in total length and weighed close to 390 kg (858 lb.); this feline giant was killed in 1967.

* Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), also called Corbett’s tiger, is found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Estimates of its population vary between 1,200 to 1,800, but it seems likely that the number is in the lower part of the range. The largest current population is in Malaysia, where illegal poaching is strictly controlled, but all existing populations are at extreme risk from habitat fragmentation and inbreeding. In Vietnam, almost three-quarters of the tigers killed provide stock for Chinese pharmacies. Also, the tigers are seen by poor natives as a resource through which they can ease poverty. Indochinese tigers are smaller and darker than Bengal tigers, and about the size of African lions. Males weigh from 150-190 kg on average while females are smaller at 110-140 kg.

* The Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), exclusively found in the southern (Malaysian) part of the Malay Peninsula, was not considered a subspecies in its own right until 2004. The new classification came about after a study by Luo et al from the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity Study, part of the National Cancer Institute of the United States. Recent counts showed there are 600-800 tigers in the wild, making it the third largest tiger population behind the Bengal tiger and the Indochinese tiger. The Malayan tiger is a national icon in Malaysia, appearing on its coat of arms and in logos of Malaysian institutions, such as Maybank.

* The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatran) is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The wild population is estimated at between 400 and 500, seen predominantly in the island’s five national parks. Recent genetic testing has revealed the presence of unique genetic markers, indicating that it may develop into a separate species, if it is not made extinct. This has led to suggestions that Sumatran tigers should have greater priority for conservation than any other subspecies. Habitat destruction is the main threat to the existing tiger population (logging continues even in the supposedly protected national parks), but 66 tigers were recorded as being shot and killed between 1998 and 2000, or nearly 20% of the total population. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all living tiger subspecies. Adult males weigh between 100-130 kg, females 70-90 kg. Their small size is an adaptation to the thick, dense forests of the Sumatra island where they reside, as well as the smaller-sized prey.

* The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Amur, Manchurian or North China tiger, is confined almost completely to Siberia, where it is now protected. The last two censuses(1996 and 2005) found 450-500 Siberian tigers within their single and more or less continuous range making it one of the biggest undivided tiger populations in the world. Considered the largest subspecies, the largest wild Siberian tiger on record weighed 384 kg (845 lb.), while a captive one weighed 423 kg (930 lb.). Some Bengal tigers grow to the same length as Siberian tigers, but they are less stocky. Weights can vary substantially depending on whether the tiger has been fully fed or has an empty belly. The average weight of a male Siberian tiger is around 227 kg (500 lb), but they can be anywhere from 205 to 364 kg (450-800 lb). The Siberian tiger is also noted for its thick coat, distinguished by a paler golden hue and a smaller number of stripes. The Siberian tiger is the largest and heaviest of all living felines. A six-month old Siberian tiger can be as big as a fully grown leopard.

* The South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), also known as the Amoy or Xiamen tiger, is the most critically endangered subspecies of tiger and will almost certainly become extinct. It is also considered to be the first of all tiger subspecies. This subspecies is one of the smallest tiger species. The length of the South China tiger ranges from 2.2-2.6 m (87-104 inches) for both males and females. Males weigh between 127 and 177 kg (280-390 lb.) while females weigh between 100 and 118 kg (220-260 lb.). It seems likely that the last known wild South China tiger was shot and killed in 1994, and no live tigers have been seen in their natural habitat for the last 20 years. In 1977, the Chinese government passed a law banning the killing of wild tigers, but this appears to have been too late to save the subspecies. There are currently 59 known captive South China tigers, all within China, but these are known to be descended from only six animals. Thus, the genetic diversity required to maintain the subspecies no longer exists, making its eventual extinction very likely. Currently, there are breeding efforts to reintroduce these tigers by 2008.

Extinct tiger subspecies

Tigers are uncommon in the fossil record. The distinct fossils of tigers were discovered in Pleistocene deposits – mostly in Asia. Nevertheless, tiger fossils 100,000 years old have been found in Alaska. Possibly because of a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska during the ice ages, this Alaskan tiger might be a North American population of Siberian tiger. In addition, some scientists have discovered similarities between tiger bones and those of the American lion, an extinct big cat that dominated much of North America as recently as 10,000 years ago. Some have used these observations to conclude that the American lion was a New World tiger species.

Tiger fossils have also turned up in Japan. These fossils indicate that the Japanese tiger was no bigger than the island subspecies of tigers of recent ages. This may be due to the phenomenon in which body is related to environmental space, or in the case of a large predator like a tiger, availability of prey.

* The Balinese tiger (Panthera tigris balica) has always been limited to the island of Bali. These tigers were hunted to extinction – the last Balinese tiger is thought to have been killed at Sumbar Kima, West Bali on 27 September 1937; this was an adult female. No Balinese tiger was ever held in captivity. The tiger still plays an important role in Balinese Hindu religion.

* The Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) was limited to the Indonesian island of Java. It now seems likely that this subspecies was made extinct in the 1980s, as a result of hunting and habitat destruction, but the extinction of this subspecies was extremely probable from the 1950s onwards (when it is thought that fewer than 25 tigers remained in the wild). The last specimen was sighted in 1979.

* The Caspian tiger or Persian Tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) appears to have become extinct in the late 1960s, with the last reliable sighting in 1968, though it is thought that such a tiger was last shot dead in the south-eastern-most part of Turkey in 1970. Historically it ranged through Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union and Turkey. This tiger was said to be yellow with black stripes. The Caspian tiger was one of two subspecies of tiger (along with the Bengal) that was used by the Romans to battle Roman Gladiators and other animals, including the Barbary Lion.

* The Trinil tiger (Panthera tigris trinilensis) is the oldest tiger fossil dating from about 1.2 million years ago. This tiger was found at the locality of Trinil, Java, Indonesia.

Traditional Asian medicine

Tiger parts are used in traditional Korean and Chinese medicines. Many people in Korea and China believe that tiger parts have medicinal properties. There is no scientific corroboration to these beliefs, which include:

* The tail of the tiger is sometimes ground and mixed with soap to create an ointment for use in treating skin cancer.
* The bones found in the tip of the tiger’s tail are said to ward off evil spirits.
* Crushed tiger bones added to wine serves as a Taiwanese general tonic.
* The feet of a tiger, when dipped in palm oil and hung in front of a door is said to diminish the likelihood of evil spirits from entering.
* Tiger’s skin is said to cure a fever caused by ghosts. In order to use it effectively, the user must sit on the tiger’s skin, but beware. If too much time is spent on the tiger’s skin, legend says the user will become a tiger.
* Adding honey to the gallstones and applying the combination to the hands and feet is said to effectively treat abscesses.
* Burnt tiger hair can allegedly drive away centipedes.
* Mixing the brain of a tiger with oil and rubbing the mixture on your body is an alleged cure for both laziness and acne.
* Rolling the eyeballs into pills is an alleged remedy for convulsions.
* If whiskers are kept as a charm, legend says one will be protected against bullets and have increased courage.
* One will allegedly possess courage and shall be protected from sudden fright if you wear a tiger’s claw as a piece of jewelry or carry one in your pocket.
* Strength, cunning, and courage can allegedly be obtained by consuming a tiger’s heart.
* Floating ribs of a tiger are considered a good luck talisman.
* The tiger’s penis is (erroneously) said to be an aphrodisiac.
* Small bones in a tiger’s feet tied to a child’s wrists are said to be a sure cure for convulsions.

Tigers in literature and popular culture

The word “tiger” is borrowed from Greek “tigris”, which itself is derived “possibly from an Iranian source”. In American English “Tigress” was first recorded in 1611. “Tiger’s-eye” is an unofficial name for a golden-brown striped, chatoyant, fibrous variety of quartz used as a semi-precious gemstone.

The tiger has long been a subject of imaginative literature. Both Rudyard Kipling in The Jungle Book and William Blake in Songs of Experience depict the tiger as a menacing and fearful animal. In The Jungle Book, the tiger, Shere Khan, is the wicked mortal enemy of the protagonist, Mowgli. However, other depictions are more benign: Tigger, the tiger from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, is cuddly and likeable. A stylized tiger cub, “Hodori”, was a mascot of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games of Seoul. The tiger is one of the most popular sport teams mascots: the Major League Baseball team Detroit Tigers and the English rugby club Leicester Tigers, are but two examples.

Humble Oil, a division of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Jersey Standard), used a caricatured tiger and the slogan “Put a Tiger in your Tank” to promote their gasoline products. Jersey Standard used a real tiger in its advertising when it took the Exxon name company-wide in 1972 and when advertising abroad as Esso. The brand kept the tiger mascot as a part of ExxonMobil when they merged in 1999. More recently, Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize in 2002 for his novel Life of Pi about an Indian boy adrift on a boat in the Pacific Ocean, with a Royal Bengal Tiger for his only companion.

In the Chinese novel Water Margin, tigers appeared numerous times as attacking travellers. In the Wu Song story he became famous when slaying with his bare hands a tiger who had been terrorizing the local towns nearly a decade. In reality, wild tigers, being dwellers of the jungle, have rarely been found in larger human cities in China, where the idea of a tiger on the street can act as a symbol of paranoia or unfounded fear, giving rise to such idioms as three men make a tiger. The Tiger is one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. Also in various Chinese art and martial art, the tiger is always depicted as an equal rival towards the Chinese Dragon. In the ancient Imperial China, Tiger usually represent the highest army general (or present day Defence Secretary) (while Dragon represent the Emperor and the Empress as a Phoenix).

In the popular children’s book series Animorphs, the Siberian Tiger is the favorite and battle morph of Animorphs leader Jake.

In the Transformers series Beast Wars, the character Tigatron has the form of a Siberian tiger as his beast mode.

Tiger as the national animal

The Tiger is the national animal of:

* Bangladesh (Royal Bengal Tiger)
* China, along with Dragon and Panda; the Tiger is the unofficial symbol
* India (Royal Bengal Tiger)
* Malaysia
* Nepal (Royal Bengal Tiger)
* North Korea (Siberian Tiger)
* South Korea
* Former Nazi Germany along with the black eagle (currently it is the black eagle (Bundesadler) (official) and leopard (unofficial))
* Former USSR (Siberian Tiger) (currently it is the Bear and golden bicephalic eagle)

Source: Wikipedia