jungLEARNingz #4 – #GlobalTigerDay series – Water babies!
As we approach the #GlobalTigerDay on 29th July, this series is a glimpse into the mesmerizing behaviors and characteristics of our national animal – The Royal Bengal Tiger. One of the few cats who love frolicking about in cool waters, this one is about the tiger’s love for water.
JungLEARNings #3: #GlobalTigerDay2016 Series
Masters of Speed and Strength!
Remember those wonderful summer vacation days when you used to splash about in the baby swimming pools, enjoying the cool rush of water as it drove off the last remnants of scorchy heat from your body? Well, a tiger’s behavior is no different! So for all those water babies out there- here’s some resemblance between the might striped cat and you!
If you have ever owned a cat you would know the mammoth task it is to bathe your cat clean! Suds of soap all over the place, buckets of water down the drain and still that sprightly beast managed to evade your grasp and stay dry n clean (of its own admission, not yours!). Now, imagine a tiger instead of your housecat and the scene shall unfold albeit differently (try this at your own risk!). What shall unfold is a slew of happy catty expressions-huge paws splashing about in the water, tail flicking a stream of droplets, eyes squeezed shut in an expression of utter glee! That’s the tiger for you!
Of course, it’s a puzzle how an animal designed for speed, strength and stealth on land, can do very well in waters too! Its strong paws have a large surface area and even stronger muscles, making them powerful paddles. Moreover, the tiger originally hails from Siberia and have migrated to the tropical climes of India centuries ago. One theory goes that a meat-eating animal used to the cool climate of Siberia needs to develop some mechanism to cool off in the hot and humid Indian summers- hence the love for water!
An interesting observation is the adaptations of the Sunderbans royal Bengal tiger from its counterparts. They are slightly smaller in size than their all-land counterparts. This is believed to be a modification so that they can easily survive in the mangrove habitat, hunting prey while swimming from island to island, as well as subsisting on smaller prey such as fish. Reduced size and bulk makes this tiger an even better swimmer and instances of stalking and attacking from the waters are well known from this region.
Fun Fact: Tigers are known to attack crocodiles at the edge of water, creating great clashes between the master predators of land and water.