Despite their large size of up to 550 pounds, Bengal tigers move gracefully due to their powerful leg and shoulder muscles. Because their hind legs are longer than their front legs, they are able to leap upon their prey. They have the ability to swim as well as run. While hunting, they cover great distances in search of prey.
When tigers close in on prey, they approach stealthily from the side or from behind. They do not attempt a long chase, but rather leap from cover and go for the prey's throat. Afterwards, they pull the animal into concealment to eat it. They usually hunt deer, buffalo, wild pigs and other large mammals. When near human habitations, they also prey on domestic animals such as cattle.
Bengal tigers are territorial, and except for the core unit of mother and cub, they are solitary creatures. Each male tiger needs a large territory in which to hunt and mate. Once a Bengal establishes a home range, it usually sticks to it, and remains aware and respectful of other tigers' ranges.
Habitat loss due to the encroachment of human dwellings and agriculture creates inevitable conflict. When prey animal populations decline, tigers hunt more domestic animals, causing humans to retaliate by killing them. The Bengal tiger's habitat continues to diminish, and it is considered an endangered species.