Wild Animals/average weights of tigers and lions
I've been interested in big cats for a very long time, but I'm finding it difficult to get reliable information about them. In particular, I want to know the average of weights of bengal tigers, siberian tigers, and lions (the various subspecies). If possible, could you point me to studies done by scientists that have individual data points for specimens?
Another simpler question is that I'm curious as to whether Siberian Tigers are still the largest extant cat. Based on recent findings, it seems as though the Bengal Tiger is significantly heavier (if you exclude the sunderban sub-population) than the Siberian Tiger. Is this true? If not, what is the truth.
Finally, if i under stood correctly lions appear to have a shoulder height of roughly 4 feet whereas I know that tigers rarely exceed 1 meter which is 40 inches. Lengthwise, tigers and lions are roughly the same length as far as i can tell. However, nearly every source I've looked at puts tigers ahead of lions in weight.
I do not doubt this information, but I'm curious as to how this is possible. In order for tigers to be heavier, they must exceed lions in some linear dimension or just have a much larger density. I doubt that the density of a tiger is much different from that of a lion considering that they are anatomically nearly the same cat.
One final albeit slightly unrelated question. What motivates tigers to attack prey such as gaur? It seems to me that attacking such a large and powerful bovine is a huge risk for just a simple meal (even if it is a large one). Even if the tiger isn't killed, it seems quite probably that the tiger will be injured. It seems to me that just taking more medium sized and less aggressive prey is a better option.
Thanks in advance,
Thank you for your questions. I have tried to find source material, but you should check the bibliographies of websites to obtain additional information.
I wish to thank the authors of the websites and books I used. Sunquist refers to Family Felidae by M.E.Sunquist and F.C. Sunquist in Volume 1 of the Handbook of Mammals of the World, published by Lynx. I have given measurements for male animals.
1. What are the average weights of Bengal tigers, Siberian tigers and lions?
says that male Bengal tigers weigh 175-260 kg (390-570 lb), giving an average weight of about 218 kg (480 lb), but tigers in northern India and Nepal often average 235 kg (520 lb). The male Siberian tiger has an average weight of around 227 kg, while http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_tiger
gives the average weight of an adult male of more than 35 months of age as 176.4 kg (389 lb) with the mean weight of historical Siberian tigers being 215.3 kg (475 lb) for males.
says that adult male lions weigh 150–250 kg (330–550 lb) and Nowell and Jackson report an average weight of 181 kg (400 lb).
2. Is the Bengal Tiger (excluding the Sunderban sub-population) significantly heavier than the Siberian tiger?
Please note that this question can be very controversial, as the size of different subspecies is usually given as the 'average' size, rather than being based on the largest known individual. This means that you cannot exclude the Sunderban sub-population when deciding which tiger subspecies is heaviest.
says the heaviest wild tiger was a Bengal tiger weighing 389 kg (860 lb), but its weight may have been boosted as it had eaten a water buffalo the previous night.
says that male Bengal tigers weigh 175-260 kg (390-570 lb), giving an average weight of about 218 kg (480 lb). The tigers tend to be larger in northern India and Nepal, often averaging 235 kg (520 lb). The male Siberian tiger has an average weight of around 227 kg, with an unreliable record of 384 kg (850 lb). The average weight of the Siberian tiger is above that of the Bengal tiger, but the average weight of a Bengal tiger from northern India and Nepal is above that of the average Siberian tiger.
3. Is the shoulder height of lions roughly 4 feet (120 cm), while tigers rarely exceed 40 inches (about 1 m), despite tigers and lions being roughly the same length and tigers being heavier than lions? If so, why don't tigers exceed lions in some linear dimension or have a much larger density, despite being nearly anatomically identical?
gives a total body length of up to 3.3 m (11 ft), tail length of 0.6 to 1.1 m (2.0 to 3.6 ft), shoulder height of 0.7-1.22 m (2.3-4.0 ft) and weight up to 306 kg (670 lb) for the tiger. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger
says that an average adult male tiger from Northern India or Siberia outweighs an average adult male lion by around 45.5 kg (100 lb).
Sunquist gives the following figures for tigers: Head-body 146-290 cm, tail 72-109 cm, shoulder height about 1 m, weight 75-325 kg. Sunquist gives the following figures for lions: Head-body 172-250 cm, tail 61-100 cm, shoulder height 107-123 cm, weight 150-225 kg (average 190 kg).
While lions have a higher average shoulder height, tigers (218 cm) have a slightly higher average body length than lions (211 cm) and a higher tail length (91 cm) than lions (81 cm). This may account for the higher average weight of tigers (200 kg), compared to lions (190 kg).
give comparisons between lions and tigers. As you say, I doubt if there are any real differences in the basic anatomy of lions and tigers.
4. What motivates tigers to attack prey such as gaur and risk injury, rather than just taking more medium sized and less aggressive prey?
says that tigers tend to prefer hunting medium-sized prey rather than large prey, such as gaurs, where they often select the calves or infirm individuals. http://wildanimalelite.yuku.com/topic/71/The-Myth-of-tigers-preying-on-Gaurs?
suggests that tigers will only kill healthy adult gaurs follwoing a surprise attack. http://thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/mammals/Artiodactyla/Bovidae/Bos/Bos-f
says there are more cases of tigers being killed by gaurs, rather than tigers killing gaurs. This also indicates that tigers rarely attack healthy adult guars, even though they are capale of killing them, due to the high risk of injury.
I hope this helps
All the best