Thursday, November 06, 2008

That is one Hot Kitty!

Male tiger's means to fight is usually over a breeding female. They will challenge each other and if neither give way they will go into a ritual. The ritual is made of various challenges and one has the opportunity to back down. They challenge each other by staring one another down, showing their teeth, and fanning their whiskers. To bring it up a notch they add vocals. First they give a catlike hiss then quiet growls. As the challenge gets more intense they get louder. After this the battle begins.

The battle begins with a constant back and forth slapping with the front paws until one reveals its claws. Their vocals increase and then they stand on their hind legs and start swinging. This can continue for a few minutes, but in extreme cases a few hours and if neither male backs off the fight will continue till death, which is often from a broken neck. While all this is taking place the female may have left in search for another mate.

Click here to view the article and other tiger behaviors.


It seems as if most of the comments revolve around why male tigers continue to fight if the female leaves and what are the other reasons for fighting. Therefore, instead of individually answering questions I will make one response.

Male tigers will continue fighting, if the female they are fighting over leaves, because it isn't only the female they are fighting over, but also the territory. This is because adult tigers of both sexes have to get an area of their own before breeding. In some cases a male comes along and tries to obtain an already occupied territory and the female in it. Therefore, other than fighting for a female tigers fight to defend, expand, or acquire a territory. Also, female tigers will attack male tigers and other predators to protect their young. Despite all this fighting tigers actually rather avoid one another instead of fight.

Chantal Gomes (8)


At 1:37 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Very interesting article...but there has to be other reasons to fight intensely whether it is over territory or food as well depending on the season. I believe during mating season rates of male fighting probably increase over females but also for resources they will need in order to have enough energy to reproduce with as many females as possible.

-Joanne Philippeaux

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this ritualized fighting only in regards to breeding? are there different types of fighting with various reasons? maybe this ritual is also a courting ritual since the females are often nearby. I wonder how often the fights really go until death. thanks for the article.

Erica Damon

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice title. So this fight seems to be over the right to a mate. I wonder if this ritualized fight tells the others the health of each of the males in the fight? And if in the cases where it ends in a few minutes, is it because a male of better health was able to portray it to the weaker tiger, sending him on his way? And that the fights that end in a death match, I wonder if it would be because the two tigers present are both of good health, stamina, vigor, and are possibly the "dominate" males in the area. Do you know the social hierarchy of male tigers?

Katie Cole

At 9:49 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Wow that's interesting that they'll still proceed to fight even once the female has moved on. You would think they would stop, it seems that they'd be wasting energy and risking death or injury.

Jennifer Smith (8)

At 9:53 AM, Blogger PWH said...

You said that while they are fighting to the death the female that they were fighting over may have moved on. Why would they continue fighting? Is it that they are unaware of what is around them because they need to put all of their energy into fighting their opponent? It just doesn't make sense that they would continue fighting if the female was gone because in the end they would not really get anything out of it except wasting energy or dying.

-Tara Quist

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article. it seemed very ritualized fighting. however you would think they would stop after they moved on.

-Matthew Sousa

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's awesome- I always thought they just go at it.
It's probably infuriating for the "winner" though if he goes through all that trouble just to turn around and see that the female got bored and left.....somewhat comic though, if this was made into a scene in a Disney movie it would probably get a few laughs.

Noam Pelleg

At 5:47 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is an interesting topic. Do they ever perform this ritual fight in any other circumstance than trying to win over a female? Are they more likely to stop fighting if the female leaves? Are there ever fights between more than 2 tigers?

Rob Lubenow

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is quite intriguing! I am curious though, do females often just get up and leave during this fight? If the males are fighting for the female and she simply leaves at the end, wouldn't there be consequences for the males that expended so much energy with zero gain? I would think that they would learn a quicker way to win over the female!

Sarah Moltzen

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting behavior. How long would these ritual last for?

- David Huynh

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fight to the death seems pretty counter-productive, especially if during that fight the female has wandered away. It seems that it would make more sense from a reproductive standpoint for a tiger to back down before the fight reached that level. After all, in an evenly matched fight to the death, there's a 50-50 chance that you're the one who is going to get killed, and you are almost certainly going to get injured, perhaps seriously enough to impair your hunting and mating. Add that to the chance that the female tiger might get bored and wander off, and it seems like there's almost no benefit to either tiger from such a fight.

-Corinne Delisle

At 9:30 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger PWH said...

The article was very informational about the mating ritual of the tigers, but what actual species of tiger portray this behavior? Are there any physical cues/signals that tell the opposing tiger "I will not back down, I'm taking this up another level" ? Also, I know that the male tigers are competing for the female mate, but are there any there any other factors besides 'duel-victor' that the female tiger considers when she's looking for a suitable mate?

-Kiel Boutelle

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was an interesting entry. I didn't know that the female tiger would leave even though they are fighting to be her mate. I was wondering what does the male tiger do if the female tiger leaves during the fight? Does he find another mate or does he try to look for the one he was fighting for?

- Debbie Theodat


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