How the Tiger got his Stripes

6 min read

How the Tiger got his Stripes

Have you ever thought about why tigers have stripes on their bodies? Is it possible to differentiate the different subspecies of the Tiger thanks to its bars?

Passionate about the subject, Tiger-Universe knows the answer to all your questions about the stripes of these felines and will explain everything to you.

Why is the tiger-striped? This Fawn has stripes to camouflage itself. It is also a way to differentiate each individual of the species. Indeed, the lines of these felines are not just a simple coloration on their coat. It is a bit like our fingerprints.

In this article, you will discover :
  • Cases where the Tiger needs its stripes in the wild
  • How to differentiate each Tiger by subspecies
  • If there are tigers without stripes

By the end of this article, the stripes of these cats will no longer hold any secrets for you. You may even know more than the Tiger itself. Let's get started!

Tales that tell about the Origin of Tiger Stripes

There are many little stories about why the Tiger has stripes. Its stripes are present because of a burn, a sunburn, or traces of bars. In any case, they are present as a lesson for the feline who made a mistake. There is usually a moral to these stories.

If you were to read only one, we recommend reading The Day the Tiger Got Stripes; it is a Vietnamese story.

It would make a perfect story to tell your child before he goes to sleep. He could also have a stuffed tiger friend to watch over him. Anyway, let's get to the real reasons.


What is the Tiger Stripes for?

With the "stories" part now out of the way, we'll now take a severe look together at the two actual reasons for the Tiger's stripes that help him dominate his environment and stand out from the crowd.

You will also discover if tigers without stripes exist. If so, we will detail why they can't last long in the wild.

An effective camouflage

The Tiger uses its stripes as camouflage to hide in the brush, tall grass, bamboo, etc. Indeed, the animal is not as fast as its feline cousins, such as the Leopard or the Cheetah; it must eliminate its prey by surprise.

Its stripes camouflage it perfectly in the forest, thanks to the play of shadows and lights. Combined with the fact that the Fawn hunts mostly at night, it is tough to see.

Nature does it right! Let's take the example of the African lion. Its coat has a color resembling the tall grass of the savannah, and it hunts during the day. His color is therefore consistent for him as well in terms of his natural environment. The color of the coat of every feline is always there for a reason.

Unfortunately, due to deforestation, tigers find themselves more and more exposed and threatened. Their territories are decreasing year after year and make them more and more vulnerable. If you are interested in this subject, here are the consequences of deforestation on animals. You will discover that this does not only affect the Tiger.

tiger behind the thin bamboo

A way to differentiate each individual

Even before it is born, the Tiger begins to have stripes on its body. This will define it as an individual within the species. It a bit like our identity card. They also allow specialists to identify each individual in the wild more easily.

Indeed, no two tigers have the same pattern. However, most of the tiger subspecies have their type of pattern. Each individual of these subspecies can still be differentiated. Also, stripes are not just a part of the Tiger's fur.

Do you want proof? Very well, here is one! You can see that even without its fur, the beast will still have its stripes in the picture below. Incredible, isn't it?

tigers skin

Are there tigers without stripes?

This section will allow you to see in more detail why stripes are essential to the Tiger. After much research, we have not found any evidence of a tiger without bars (or at least no severe sources) outside of fictional works.

On the other hand, two tigers have stripes but in different colors, just like their coat. These are the white Tiger and the Golden Tiger. Both tigers do not exist in the wild. They are all in captivity.

The white tigers are very well known. We have often talked about them on our blog. Its color is due to a genetic mutation, leucism. The Golden Tiger has a light red coat, and the bottom of the body is cream. Its colors are also due to a genetic mutation.

Both tigers could hardly survive in the wild as their color does not allow them to camouflage well. They could not hunt their prey. They would also be easily tracked by their (only) predator, the man.

To help you survive and dominate your environment like the Tiger (with stripes, of course), we offer you our Tiger Stripe T-Shirt available by clicking on the image below.


What are the different types of Tigers?

We could see previously what was the purpose of the stripes of this Fawn. These stripes are, among other things, a way to differentiate each individual. They are unique for each of them.

However, each subspecies is recognizable by any means, including the stripes. Indeed, each subspecies has more or less an overall shape of lines that are unique to it. We will now explain how to differentiate them all.

What makes a Bengal tiger different from a Siberian tiger?

First and foremost, let's look at the two most well-known tigers. The Bengal tiger is the most populous subspecies, and the Siberian Tiger is the largest of the tigers. At first glance, these tigers (and all the others we will see later) all look alike. However, they all have their tiny differences in their fur (and elsewhere) that allow us to recognize them.

angry tiger

Let's take a look at their coat. The coat of the Bengal tiger (picture above) is orange with black stripes, which sometimes turn grey. The Siberian Tiger (image below) is more of a reddish-brown color. It generally has lighter color.

tiger in snow

We can also see that the Siberian Tiger has denser hair than his cousin. This is what allows him to resist the great cold in Russia. Not easy to differentiate. Don't worry, once we know all this and by dint of observing them, we determine them more easily.

The other types of Tigers

It is now time to look at the other four members of the tiger tribe officially recognized by the IUCN. In the past, there were nine subspecies in total. Unfortunately, three of them have disappeared; the Bali tiger, the Java tiger, and the Caspian tiger. You will soon know how to differentiate all types of tigers (at least all subspecies still alive).

tiger looked down

The South China tiger (pictured above) has a rather short snout and closer-set eyes. This gives the impression that it has a rounder head. It is also the Tiger with the most stripes along its body. It also has a somewhat compact size.

walking tiger

The Sumatran tiger is the tiger subspecies with the smallest size. It has darker skin than other tigers. It has the least extensive white coat as well. The vast majority of its stripes are double. The males have the particularity of having a large collar of fur around the neck. You can find out more on our blog post dedicated to the Sumatran tiger.

stand out tiger

The Indochinese Tiger is a tiger with a rather dark orange color. It has relatively short and numerous stripes. It usually has more pronounced white markings.

tigers in a pack

The Malayan Tiger looks a lot like the Indochinese Tiger. It looks so much like him that it is difficult to recognize them in appearance. We can only differentiate them by their size (the Malayan Tiger is smaller than its counterpart) or by analyzing their DNA (not given to everyone...).

Do Stripes make the Tiger's Charisma?

Congratulations, you now know everything about the stripes of these majestic tigers. We have seen that their stripes are a way to blend into their environment to surprise their prey. It is also a way for them to differentiate themselves individually. I think we can say with certainty that stripes play an essential role in the charisma of the Tiger.

You now know everything about the Tiger's stripes, and you are now an expert in differentiating its subspecies. You can be proud of yourself because this is not an easy task.

We can be sure that the stripes are therefore essential for the Tiger to mark its identity, dominate and make him the king of the animals.

That's why we also offer clothes and accessories with the stripes of this majestic Fawn. Being a solid symbol of individuality and marginality, they will be perfect for bringing out the best in you. Discover our Tiger Stripes Sweatshirt, and you too can dominate your natural environment.


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