Interspecies Conflict/tiger


Lets say we have tigers in the arctic

White fur black stripes just like white tigers
3000lb bite force
males avg around 820lb
Better swimmer than polar bear
50mph top speed across dry land or ice
Lives in alaska/canada and above arctic circle

What will they eat
How will competition be with polar bears
can it take down a salmon shark
and can you tell me how and if it would be dominant in its habitat
also how will it fare in summer months will it be able to adapt to summer prey
can it take a walrus?
i know polar bears have trouble in summertime

Hello Anthony.

Intro: Let's say we have tigers in the Arctic.  White fur, black stripes, just like white tigers.  3000lb bite force, males avg around 820lb.  Better swimmer than polar bear.  50mph top speed across dry land or ice.  Lives in Alaska/Canada and above Arctic circle.

Q: What will they eat?
A: This tiger will eat anything it can catch/overpower.  It will likely target many of the same things a polar bear eats, but will lean heavily on muskox, moose, and other terrestrial herbivores.  When these types of animals are unavailable, the tiger will look to more unconventional targets like seals, subadult walruses, and perhaps small aquatic animals (by relying on its excellent swimming skills).  Even Arctic wolves, Arctic foxes, wolverines, and Canadian lynx will be vulnerable to predation by this super-cat.  Modern tigers are skilled at killing a large gamut of terrestrial animals (and sometimes animals that frequent the water like crocodiles), and the adjustment for the majority of available prey items would not be extreme.  Considering its speed, cervids will be targeted often.

Q: How will competition be with polar bears?
A: In Siberian habitats there are occasionally conflicts between brown bears and Siberian tigers (and both reportedly prey on one another).  The scenario here would be similar.  However, with this tiger's enhanced abilities, it would be able to give a polar bear (even one heavier) a run for its money.  Polar bears typically average close to 1000lb when full-grown (max is close to 1500lb), so one won't have a huge weight advantage in a typical encounter.  Conflicts will go both ways in face-to-face encounters, but any tiger getting into a great position (especially through ambush) will have a good chance to make a kill with a bite to the spine with its 3000lb bite force.  Most encounters will be one-on-one, and the tiger might actually have a slight edge in most battles (considering its max might be well above 1150lb).  Polar bears aren't as confrontational or territorial as brown bears, so one might actively avoid contact with one of these tigers.  Fighting may occur if food is scarce, and a larger animal will likely seek to predate on a smaller one if the size difference is great.

Q: Can it take down a salmon shark; how would it do so?
A: Even though Bengal tigers (for example) are able to kill crocodiles (like muggers) even in the water, this is a skill this cat has perfected though generations of trail and error.  They are simply practiced at doing this.  It is unlikely this super-tiger will have the skill set right off the bat required to tackle a salmon shark.  The shark will be almost as heavy as the tiger, and its scales are tough.  Even though the tiger's tremendous jaw strength will enable it to crunch right through any area on the shark's body, it will need to learn (over time) the best way to engage the shark in such a way to allow a quick kill with a bite in a vulnerable area.  Other things to consider will be the water depth, the level of the tiger's swimming ability compared to the shark (these sharks are fast swimmers), and whether or not the tiger can avoid a potentially fatal bite from the razor-sharp teeth in the shark's mouth.  I don't think the tiger will be able to enage a shark in water depth too deep for the cat to touch the bottom (which would make the tiger's ability to use its explosive action be lessened greatly), but in shallower water the tiger will have a good chance to pull this off once it learns what it needs to do.  Even though a polar bear is a great swimmer, it can't fight well without being able to touch the bottom.  It can't apply its great strength and offense (paw swipes, bites, etc.) the same way it does on land.  Same goes for the tiger.  It's rare for a terrestrial animal to be able to enter the water and defeat an aquatic one.  The tiger may eventually learn to kill the salmon shark in shallow water, but in water over 4 or 5ft the risk will be too great.  It would likely make the kill be pouncing upon the shark close to its side (to avoid landing on the dorsal fin) and corralling it close with its claws (or at least sinking the claws in to keep itself next to the fish).  Once in the proper position, it would bite into the neck area of the shark to dispatch it.  As with a tiger attacking a crocodile in the water, it will need to avoid the jaws and prepare to disengage if the shark's movement throws it off of its position.  Basically, it will cling to it and bite.

Q: Would it be dominant in its habitat?
A: A tiger with this size and these abilities will be an apex predator, and will share that title with the polar bear.  It may back down to a large polar bear or an extremely large pack of Arctic wolves, but on most occasions other animals (carnivore and herbivore alike) will learn to avoid it.  Modern tigers will hunt in pairs on rare occasions, and any duplication of this would give other animals greater reason to fear.

Q: How will it fare in summer months; will it adapt to summer prey?
A: Assuming this tiger is adapted to the colder regions of the Northern hemisphere, it will likely adapt to the warmer seasons (in regards to how its body will function) much as the polar bear or Siberian tiger does.  Modern tigers are among the greatest hunters on the planet, and this one will be able to capture food in adequate amounts regardless of what areas it ventures into and where the temperature rises or falls.

Q: Can it take a walrus?
A: It has the tools, but will need a little know-how to begin hunting them successfully.  A bull walrus can weigh close to 2 tons, and is covered in extremely tough hide that makes predation of them difficult.  Polar bears have trouble with average-sized walruses, and have almost no chance against a big bull.  The tiger will have a lot more speed and mobility than any polar bear, but won't be as strong.  Polar bears usually need to use brute strength somewhere along the way to subdue a walrus, but the tiger won't have to.  The tiger will be able to easily avoid the offense of the walrus, but will need to use technique to overpower it.  If the tiger hunts them enough to learn how to leap upon it and bite through the skull/spine of the walrus (like a jaguar does to a caiman), it can successfully kill a large walrus on land.  Even though this tiger is a great swimmer, it will have no chance in the water against a bull walrus.  The walrus will be too strong to handle, and will be a threat to impale the tiger with its 3ft tusks.  It may take the tiger a while to kill a walrus if it tries to chew through the thicker parts of its hide, and may not find the time it takes worth the effort.  Learning the best way to kill one through trial and error will give it the means to be a serious predator of the walrus.  The tiger's best assets will be its 3000lb bite and its quickness/agility.  After time, it will be able to take most walruses on land.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.


From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

©2016 All rights reserved.