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Is there a Black Tiger

May 28, 2021 7 min read

Is there a Black Tiger
Have you ever heard of the Black Tiger? Don't you know much about this creature? Are you wondering if it exists?

Tiger-Universe is passionate about the subject, and we know precisely the answer to your questions.

In this article, you will discover :
  • Do black tigers exist?
  • You will find out if they have been confused with other felines
  • The potential locations of these creatures

Black Tigers will no longer hold any secrets for you. You will know everything about these exciting dark-striped cats.

Let's find out without further ado!

Do Black Tigers exist?

Yes, Black Tigers do exist! What do they look like? Why do they have this color? To which subspecies of a tiger do they belong?

Let's start by answering these general questions right now.

What is a Black Tiger?

black tiger

The black tiger is a tiger with a genetic mutation. This is what gives it its black color. Most of the time, it is just the stripes that encroach the most on the animal's whole body. Cases of all-black tigers (not just the stripes) have never been proven at this time.

There have been many cases reported in the past, but we will probably never know if they were black tigers or other cat species like the black panther. We will discuss the latter later.

Why do they have black fur?

tiger in more black

The genetic mutation we were talking about before is pseudo-melanism (from the Greek ''melas'' which means ''black''). It is a black coloration of animals that are usually another color. It is the opposite of albinism which has a white coloration. Melanism is present in many species of animals but not in humans, unlike albinism.

The most famous animal affected by melanism is the black panther. In the past, in the 19th century, to be precise, the word "tiger" encompassed many species of felines, including the panther. This is partly what confuses me.

Moreover, only the existence of tigers affected by pseudo-melanism would be recognized. That is to say, only those who are not entirely black. Indeed, when we speak of black tigers, we think of the latter. The existence of those affected by melanism, that is to say entirely black, has not been scientifically recognized.

what is melanistic tigers?

Melanistic tigers are a rare color variation of the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in which the fur appears almost entirely black due to an excess of the pigment melanin. Melanism is caused by a recessive gene and is a rare occurrence in wild populations.

Melanistic tigers are also known as black tigers, although their stripes are still visible, albeit much darker than those of a normal tiger. The largest population of melanistic tigers is found in the Simlipal National Park in India, with a small number also found in other parts of India and Southeast Asia.

The Differences between a Black Tiger and a White Tiger

These two tigers owe their color to a genetic mutation. But not the same one! For the Black Tiger, we had seen that it was pseudo-melanism or simply melanism. As for the White Tiger is about leucism (from the Greek ''leukos'' which means ''white'').

Their color is indeed not due to albinism, contrary to what many people might think, for they can have, contrary to an albino animal, black stripes, and quite clear eyes.

White Tigers are fascinating, aren't they? We could talk about them for an entire blog post (and we will soon) because there is so much to say about these majestic beasts. We even have a belted representation of them that you can see by clicking on the image below.


The differences between a tiger and a black panther

We now know that the black tiger exists, and we can see more clearly the cause of their black fur and the difference from the white tiger.

The black tiger is a black panther! This is what some people think. This statement had caused quite a debate in the animal science world. This has brought a lot of confusion about what precisely black panthers and tigers with melanism are.

But don't worry, we'll clear it up to point by point. You will know if the Black Tiger can be considered a black panther or not.

What is a black panther?

black panther

First of all, black panthers do not exist! The black panther is, in fact, several species of felines affected by melanism, including leopards, jaguars, and pumas. At first glance, you might think that the black panther is a separate species, but if you look closely, you can see the spots that characterize them.

You can find out more about the characteristics of the black panther on the site le mag des Animaux, a more knowledgeable place than we are about this animal.

Can the tiger be a black panther?

black panther climb the tree

The Felidae family includes the tiger. It is also part of the panther species like the lion (surprising, eh?) because its scientific name is Panthera Tigris.

However, it is not part of the black panther species. Among experts, the subject has been a very controversial one, but its inclusion in the black panther family is not an option. Having black fur is not a criterion. Besides, black tigers are not entirely black (at least not officially), so it could not have been possible.

Where does the Black Tiger live?

Finally, let's find out together where we can find these tigers. We are sure that just like us, you dream of seeing them for real.

Many natural parks contain the majority of the remaining red tigers. The black tigers also have their reserve where they can live safe from deforestation, poaching (not always, unfortunately), reduce territories due to urbanization, increase the Indian population, etc. Let's see it in more detail.

The Black Tigers of Similipal

black tigers in a forest

The normal tigers being themselves quite rare (about 3900 individuals worldwide); it is, even more, the case of the black tigers. We have very little information about the parks that can host these mysterious tigers. The last time I heard, there is a natural park in India that would host them.

The Similipal reserve in Orissa in the northeast of the country would be the last known place where black tigers would be present (and belonging to the subspecies of the Bengal tiger). In 2016, of the 29 tigers recorded in the park, seven were black.

You can find out more about Similipal Park on their official website. Who knows? You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these felines if you go there one day.

Why does this park gather so many black tigers in one place? It is believed to be due to inbreeding. The population of tigers of the reserve being less and less numerous with the years (97 individuals in 1995) must reproduce between related tigers.

Are they threatened?

black tigers in a pack

The small population of Similipal tigers and the increasing inbreeding may lead to the disappearance of the reserve's tigers in the coming years.

In addition, although they are among the most present tigers, Bengal tigers are, like all other species, threatened with extinction. Today, there are only about 2500 individuals left. You can find out more about the decline of the Bengal tiger population on the WWF website.

Are there any all-black tigers?

You will have understood; the black tiger does exist; it is not a subspecies of the tiger, as we have seen. It is a tiger affected by pseudo-melanism. As far as the existence of entirely black tigers (thus affected by melanism) is concerned, they remain superstitions and have not been scientifically recognized. Their appearance differs a lot from the pictures you have seen in this article.

After all this information, you are now an expert on the Black Tiger. These big cats will no longer have any secrets for you!

We hope you won't be too disappointed that they are not as black as the beliefs would suggest. Nevertheless, Tiger-Universe has representations of this fawn as everyone imagined it before. It is the case, for example, of this magnificent Black and White Tiger Hoodies.

Discover it now by clicking on the image below!



What is similipal tiger reserve?

Similipal Tiger Reserve is a protected area and wildlife sanctuary located in the Mayurbhanj district of the eastern Indian state of Odisha. It was established in 1956 and is spread over an area of 2,750 square kilometers.

The reserve is named after the Similipal hill range, which is part of the Eastern Ghats. Similipal is home to a variety of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, leopards, sambar deer, barking deer, gaur, and many other species. It is also home to several tribes, including the Kharia, Munda, Santhal, and Ho, who have been living in the area for centuries.

Similipal Tiger Reserve is one of the largest and most important protected areas in India and is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Why do we talk about pseudo melanistic tigers?

Pseudo melanistic tigers, also known as "ghost tigers," are a rare color variation of the Bengal tiger that have stripes that are much paler than those of a normal tiger.

This is not due to an excess of the pigment melanin like in melanistic tigers, but rather a genetic mutation that causes the fur to have reduced or incomplete stripes. Pseudo melanistic tigers are so named because they give the appearance of being almost transparent or ghost-like. They are also sometimes referred to as white tigers, although they are not true albinos.

Pseudo melanistic tigers are talked about because they are a rare and unusual color variation of an already fascinating and endangered animal. The genetic mutations that cause pseudo melanism and other color variations in tigers are poorly understood, and their study could shed light on the mechanisms behind the development of stripes and other pigmentation patterns in animals.

Additionally, the rarity of these tigers makes them of great interest to wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists who are working to protect tigers and their habitats from extinction.

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