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What Do Tigers Eat? A Look At Their Favorite Food

Tigers are dominant carnivores that will eat any kind of meat they hunt down. The big cats like to hunt alone, unlike their more social counterparts, lions. So their types of prey differ considerably. This guide will consider what tigers eat based on habitat and type.

What Do Tigers Eat?

Tigers eat large prey like buffalo, chital, wild boar, moose, cows, horses, deer, pigs, and goats. In some situations, they also eat injured, sick, or young animals like rhinos, elephants, leopards, and bears.

As opportunist predators, tigers eat smaller animals like peafowl, porcupines, rabbits, hares, gray langurs, and fish to survive when they can’t find bigger prey. They can also fight and eat an animal over food, territorial issues, or when protecting their young ones.

What Do Bengal Tigers Eat?

Bengal tiger eats cattle, wild boar, deer, goats, and pigs. When these animals are scarce, they go after water buffalo, crocodiles, leopards, antelopes, and hares. Sometimes if a group of Bengal tigers finds an elephant, they can’t attack it to have enough food for themselves. 

During food scarcity, Bengal tigers try to hunt livestock on farms and attack the people they find around. Any tiger terrorizing a village for food would lose their lives as the people must protect themselves from it.

What Do Siberian Tigers Eat?

Siberian tigers eat boar, elk, wild pigs, deer, and bears. When these animals are scarce Siberian tigers eat insects, birds, turtles, and small mammals. They also eat berries, cedar nuts, grass, and fruits during summer when larger prey is unavailable in their habitat. This diet helps to balance their nutritional needs.

Tiger eating in grass

What do Malayan Tigers Eat?

Malayan tigers eat small bears, deer, wild pigs, and cattle. As good swimmers, these cats would also eat fish and any other aquatic animal they can find to survive when their options are limited. These wild cats are from the southeast part of Asia.

What Do Indochinese Tigers Eat?

Indochinese tigers eat deer, monkeys, porcupines, wild boars, and cattle. These tigers are from southern Asia with a special different individual stripes pattern. They usually live alone and are fond of hiding most time but only go out at night to hunt for food.

What Do Sumatran Tigers Eat?

Sumatran tigers eat deer, tapir, monkeys, orangutans, birds, and wild pigs. They have webbed toes that are good for swimming and help them hunt in water. They can catch fish, amphibians, and crocodiles when their favorite prey is scarce. However, these tigers’ habitat is continuously threatened by deforestation.

What Do South China Tigers Eat?

These tigers eat ungulates, wild boars, deer, antelope, gaurs, hares, gray langurs, porcupines, and peafowl. The South China specie is an obligate carnivore that likes to go after large prey. They go for smaller animals when they can’t find large ungulates. The male specie of this cat is significantly bigger than the females.

Tiger cub

What Do Baby Tigers Eat?

Tigress feed milk to baby tigers. They depend on milk until they are six months old, then their mother feeds them with part of the meat they got from hunting. The cubs can not hunt independently at this age, so they still depended on their mother to bring them food. Cubs need to learn how to hunt before finding food by themselves. Usually, from 18-24 months, they can become good hunters and leave to form their territory, where they find food.

How Much Does A Tiger Eat?

Tigers eat 30 – 110 pounds of meat at a time. Tigers can sometimes eat small or big depending on the availability of prey. However, the amount of meat they eat depends on the prey’s size, meaning smaller animals equal the lesser meat.

How Do Tigers Hunt: How Do They Catch and Kill Their Prey?

When hunting, tigers depend on their hearing and sight. They carefully watch their prey from the rear while trying to get close to it without its knowledge. They ambush and take down the animal with their strength and a bite to the throat or neck. Then the tiger kills the animal and immediately starts gnawing.

How Often Do Tigers Eat?

On average tiger eats once in 2 days. In some months, tigers eat more often when they is an abundance of prey in their habitat. Tigers hunt every time they get an opportunity because they are not always successful and wouldn’t know the one that would yield results.

How Long Can Tigers Go Without Eating?

Tigers can stay without food for 14-15 days as long as they get water to drink. This is because they can eat a lot at once to last for a while until they can find other prey. They can also eat smaller prey or fruits to keep themselves from starving. Dehydration, conversely, kills tigers faster, so they need water every 3-4 days.

Tiger eating meat in zoo

Do Tigers Eat And Digest Bones?

Yes, tigers eat and digest bones. They have a powerful digestive system with an acidic stomach that helps to break down any complex food they eat, including bones. Tigers need bones in their diet for their growth and physical and dental health.

The phosphorus and calcium they get from eating bones help to make their joints stronger. Their cubs need the nutrients to keep growing and avoid diseases like rickets, while older tigers need it to help them prevent joint pain and arthritis. This means eating bones help tigers to maintain good health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Tigers Eat Birds?

Yes, tigers eat birds. Tiger would eat any animal that they can kill when it is hungry. When the bigger prey they prefer is unavailable, they go after smaller animals like rodents, insects, fishes, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. So these smaller animals are not their primary food but a means to survive.

Do Tigers Eat Other Tigers?

Yes, tigers eat other tigers. Tigers kill and eat their kind for various reasons ranging from territorial to mating issues. A tigress can eat her cub that is disabled or reduce the number to suit her capacity to care for them.

Male tigers can eat the cubs of a tigress to make their mother experience a heat period to enable them to mate with her. On rare occasions, a tiger can kill its kind to defend its territory.

Do Tigers Eat Leopards?

Yes, tigers eat leopards. Tigers have been hunting and killing leopards for ages; they fight with them while defending their territory or over food. Tigers are stronger than leopards, giving them an edge over weaker cats. Whenever a tiger wins a fight with a leopard, it feeds on it without hesitation.

Do Tigers Eat Fish?

Yes, tigers eat fish. When the bigger animals they eat become scarce, tigers must go for options like fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Fish hunting is difficult for tigers, but they are better than other cat species. So fish is not the tiger’s favorite food.

Do Tigers Eat Bears?

Yes, tigers eat bears. An adult bear is bigger than a tiger, so many doubt if such an event can happen. Tigers usually go after female Himalayan and young bears. However, even small bears can put up a defense, so tigers are often cautious when hunting them.

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