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scratching, the tiger will extend them.
Tigers have longer canine teeth than any other predator. One of these teeth is at least 10 times longer than the biggest tooth in your mouth. Using its big canine teeth and its broad, powerful paws, a tiger can kill its prey with one quick bite.
Tigers and other predators play an important role in nature. By killing deer and other prey, they keep the numbers of these animals under control. And because of this, the animals that survive are healthier.
If there were no tigers in the wild, the number of prey animals would grow too fast. At first, they would eat so much that they would destroy many plants. And then many of these animals would go hungry.
A big, hungry tiger can eat about 100 pounds of meat (45 kilograms) at one sitting. This is about one fifth of its total weight. That would be like a 10-year-old human eating 40 hamburgers in one meal. Of course, a tiger has to eat this much because it often goes several days without eating anything.
On occasion, a tiger will attack a baby rhino. This can be dangerous though, because the mother rhino is probably close by. And even a tiger does not want to make a four-thousand-pound rhino (1,800 kilograms) angry!
If a tiger is hungry enough, it may even attack a bear. But that may be a big mistake.
Baby tigers look like cute kittens. At birth, they are about 12 inches long (30 centimeters), and they weigh less than two pounds (one kilogram). But in a year's time, these "kittens" will be big enough to hunt deer and buffalo.
A mother tiger usually gives birth to two, three, or four cubs at a time. This is necessary so that at least one of her cubs will survive. Many predators attack tiger cubs. To help keep them safe, the mother stays with her cubs for three or four years. During this time, the young tigers have a lot to learn from her if they are to hunt and survive on their own.
Animals, unlike man, must either capture prey, or, evade predators. In order for these animals, such as the tiger, to get close enough to its prey for the attack, these animals must be able to hide, or blend in with the background. That way the prey animal does not know that they are there…
The tiger uses what is known as disruptive camouflage, which means that instead of blending in with it's surroundings, the tiger uses it's stripes to break it's outline, or familiar shapes into smaller unfamiliar shapes.
Like all young animals, cubs are full of energy. They spend their days wrestling, chasing each other, and darting after butterflies. All this exercise helps prepare them for their first real hunt. And they are ready for this when they are about six months old.
It's hard to believe that in just six months, a playful little cub will be a ferocious hunter. By then, it will weigh almost 200 pounds (90 kilograms) and have four big canine teeth for attacking prey.
A female tiger is one of the most loving and caring mothers in the animal kingdom. She cuddles her babies to keep them warm. She feeds them and protects them from enemies. For three years or more she looks after them, teaching them how to hunt and survive in the wild.
This cub is only a few weeks old. In the wild, cubs are usually born in caves and other protected places. The mother keeps them there and brings them food for about three months. After that, the cubs are big enough to follow her as she hunts for prey.
The life of a baby tiger can be dangerous. If a mother leaves her cubs, even for a short time, they may be attacked by predators. Some of the animals that like to eat tiger cubs are leopards (left), pythons (below left), and hyenas (below right).
CLOUDED LEOPARD: PRECIOUS CARGO
One chapter in the Zoological Society's clouded leopard story began early in 1983 with the arrival of a young pair of cats from the People's Republic of China. The cats were a welcome addition to the Society collection. Staff prepared a plan to encourage successful breeding, but unfortunately, tragedy occurred before the plan could be implemented.
In the exhibit, the female was accidentally exposed to a male, which severely mauled her right foreleg and shoulder. The injury was so severe that, because of the initial trauma and resulting fast-spreading infection, amputation of the leg and affected scapula were required to save her life.
The difficult surgery was masterfully conducted. Intensive care was required for more than two months. The veterinary staff and a hospital team kept the cat alive through repeated tube-feeding and frequent hands-on care, despite the cat's aggressive distrust of such treatment. Following many weeks of this regimen, the cat responded and made sufficient recovery to allow her return to the leopard exhibit.
A primary hurdle had been cleared -- the female had survived the injury. Next to be resolved were her adjustments to life on three legs and finding a method which would allow her reintroduction to the Chinese male.
First, the mammal staff placed the cat in a program designed to help her grow accustomed to life with three legs. After several months of satisfactory progress, the staff decided to place her with the male, who had been kept in a separate but adjoining room. The animals were allowed to make contact as they chose. To the relief of all, the reintroduction was successful. The cats proved to be compatible, and, shortly after reintroduction, breeding took place.
On the morning of April 25, 1984, final proof of the success of a long and difficult management program arrived-- a litter of two cubs. One cub did not survive, but the other was taken to the Children's Zoo to be raised by the nursery staff.
The clouded Leopard has intrigued its public, been sought after for its fur, and mystified those who would try to categorize it. During the early morning hours of April 25, 1984, a discovery was made which was the culmination of a saga, which held elements of zoo diplomacy and goodwill, tragedy and suspense, cooperation and success. The discovery climaxed a chain of events surrounding this paradoxical cat.
This cat has behavioral and physical traits typical of the small cats, genus Felis, and the big cats, genus Panther. A paradox to taxonomists and zoologists, it has been assigned to its own genus, Necrfelis, and is considered a bridge between the two larger genera. A relationship to the extinct saber toothed cat has even been suggested, based on the physical characteristic of having, in proportion to body size, the longest canines of all living felines. Its canine structure is also similar to that of the saber-toothed cat.
The clouded leopard has a body size ranging from 24 to 42 inches (616-1,066 mm) Its tail adds another 21 to 36 inches (550-912 mm) of length. This leopard's weight falls between 35 and 50 pounds (16-23 kg). Its fur is grayish brown to tawny yellow and has dark markings in a variety of shapes, which seem to form cloudlike patterns.
The clouded leopard was once believed to be exclusively arboreal and nocturnal. Recent observations in captivity and in the wild indicate, however, that it may be considerably more terrestrial and diurnal than previously thought. It is believed to prey upon birds, young buffalo, cattle, deer, goats, monkeys, pigs, and porcupines. The species is difficult to manage in captivity because of a tendency to be highly aggressive toward other species and humans. The exceptionally long canine teeth can easily inflict mortal injury. True to its paradoxical reputation, however, some cats may become extremely affectionate toward humans, even permitting and seeking physical contact.
NORTH CHINESE LEOPARD
This leopard is so rare that humans almost never see it in the wild. It roams the forests and mountain meadows of northern China and Korea.
It makes its home in a great tangle of fallen trees and shrubs. When it kills smaller animals it devours them right away. But when it comes to larger prey, like deer and wild goats, the leopard drags the animal home to save for several meals.
Don't be scared. The teeth of this snarling leopard won't hurt you.
On the contrary. It's the snow leopard that should be afraid. Its relatives in the wild are in constant danger from poachers who want to shoot them for their pelts and teeth.
Even though shooting leopards is illegal, it's considered "good business." That's because some people still wear leopard fur coats, and others believe that leopard teeth earrings and necklaces have special powers.
SNOW LEOPARD: COLD WEATHER CAT
The shy, nocturnal and virtually unknown Snow Leopard is classified with the big cats, but shares some small cat characteristics, for example it doesn't roar and it feeds in a crouched position.
The Snow leopard has to contend with extremes of climate and its coat varies from fine in summer to thick in winter. The surfaces of its paws are covered by a cushion of hair, which increases the surface area, thus distributing the animal's with more evenly over soft snow and protecting its soles from the cold.
Snow leopards are solitary except during the breeding season, (January to May), when male and female hunt together, or when a female
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