Q:

How do tigers defend themselves?

A:

Quick Answer

Tigers primarily defend themselves with their claws, large teeth and powerful forelimbs that allow them to hold other animals down. The fur of the tiger also acts as camouflage in vegetation, allowing them to avoid detection.

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Full Answer

Tigers have no consistent natural predators other than man, so the need to defend themselves from attack is rare. Tigers only fight amongst themselves if there is a dispute over territory, but these fights are usually based solely on intimidation and end with one tiger adopting a submissive posture by rolling over and showing its belly. Male tigers have only been known to fight to the death over females in heat and only on rare occasions.

When tigers hunt, they tend to try to hold prey down with their forelimbs and bite their throats. They defend themselves from attacks in a similar manner and may also attack the eyes in self-defense. Tigers may fight with other predators, such as leopards, dholes, striped hyenas, wolves, crocodiles and bears, when prey is disputed or scarce. Most other predators coexist with or avoid tigers, but crocodiles have been known to ambush them while they are drinking. Bears and packs of dholes are also capable of killing tigers.

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