The Sumatran tiger is the smallest species of tiger. Their small size helps them to move through the jungle much easier than the bigger tiger species.
The coat pattern is made up of orange, black and white species. The stripes of the Sumatran tiger are much closer together than in other tiger species which helps them with camouflage. The habitat that the tiger usually lives in has tall grass which means with the stripes the tiger is able to blend in. They have large strong front paws with five toes and sharp claws which can be pulled inside while they walk which helps to keep them sharp. The paws are webbed which help them to be very fast swimmers.
The average length and weight of a male Sumatran tiger is 2.4 metres (8 feet) and 120 kilograms (265 pounds). While the average length and weight of a female Sumatran tiger is 2.2 metres (7 feet) and 90 kilograms (200 pounds).
At the shoulder they stand 75cm (29.5in) tall.
The Sumatran tiger is a carnivore (meat eater). They generally hunt larger mammals including cattle, goats, wild boar and deer as well as smaller animals such as fish, crocodiles and fowl.
They are slow and patient hunters and will often stalk their prey for 20 to 30 minutes before making a move. They will usually attack from the side or the back when the prey is in close range using their large teeth and strong jaws to suffocate it.
The Sumatran tiger will make a kill about once or twice a week and eat as much of the prey as they can. They will then use their paws to cover the leftover prey with grass and dirt so that it is hidden. The tiger will then come back to the prey over the next couple of days to snack on the leftovers.
Wild 20 years
Captive 25 years
The Sumatran tiger is only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Their habitat ranges from mountain forest, lowland forest and peat swamp forests.
The Sumatran tiger has become critically endangered due to hunting for their body parts but more importantly due to habitat destruction. Sumatra has had huge agricultural growth which means that the tiger population has been fragmented into some living in five national parks and two game reserves while about 100 live in unprotected areas. The tigers that live in unprotected areas are very vulnerable as that area will soon be lost to agriculture and they are also in danger from hunters.
The Sumatran tiger can breed at any time of the year but they will generally mate in the winter or spring.
After a gestation period of 103 days the female will give birth to two to six cubs. The cubs are born blind and helpless and usually weigh about 1 kilogram (2 lbs). For the first eight weeks of the cubs life they eat only their mothers milk then they will be introduced to eating milk. They will continue to suckle from their mother however for about 5 or 6 months.
The cubs will leave the den for the first time when they are about 2 months old but they will not learn how to kill prey until they are about 6 months old.
They will hunt for themselves at about 18 months old and will be fully independent by about 2 years of age.
Learn more about the Sumatran tiger with our video
The Sumatran tiger is largely a solitary animal and they will use their claws to scratch on trees to mark their territory. The male will not let another male stay within his territory but he will let other tigers move through his territory. The female only uses her territory for hunting and the territory of a single male can overlap with the territory of several females.
They will come out to hunt at dusk and they can sometimes travel more than 32 kilometres (20 miles) in a night.
Sumatran tigers can run at up to 64.3km/h (40mph).
The only predator of the Sumatran tiger is humans.
Tigers are one of only two cats that like being in the water. The other is South America’s jaguar.
Males and females mark their territories by spraying scent on trees and bushes.
Each tiger has its own stripe pattern so you can tell an individual tiger by their unique stripes.
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Linkie, M., Wibisono, H.T., Martyr, D.J. & Sunarto, S. 2008. Panthera tigris ssp. sumatrae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T15966A5334836. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T15966A5334836.en. Downloaded on 24 May 2020.
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