Bengal tigers are among the largest members of the cat family, weighing between 240 and 500 pounds. They are native to India. Bengal tigers are the most common tiger in the world, but they are critically endangered, as are the five other remaining species of tiger.
Bengal tigers live alone and help protect their large territories by marking them with scent. They may travel many miles to find prey, which includes buffalo, wild pigs, deer and other large mammals. Their coats help provide them with camouflage while they hunt and allows them to get close enough to their prey to spring on it and kill it quickly.
Tiger mothers normally have between two and six cubs in a litter and raise them with limited help from male tigers. Young tigers can hunt when they are approximately 18 months old and stay with their mothers until they are 2 to 3 years old, when they leave to find their own territory.
Eight species of tigers originally existed, but three of those became extinct in the 20th century. Hunting and deforestation have resulted in the reduction of tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of individuals to approximately 2,500 tigers left in the wild today. Hunters kill tigers for use in traditional Chinese medicines and as trophies.