A tiger lives most of its life alone in its personal territory, staying in a den during the day and hunting large prey animals at night for food. During mating season, tigers meet only briefly to mate. The female raises her cubs alone.
Tigers hunt food by stalking and pouncing. Although tigers live in diverse habitats, from wetlands to forests to grasslands, their stripes camouflage them from their prey in most environments. Depending on the tiger's habitat, primary prey animals include cattle, deer and antelopes, wild pigs, water buffalo, and young rhinoceroses and elephants. Tigers are good swimmers and occasionally hunt prey in the water. When traditional prey animals are scarce, tigers eat most types of meat, including monkeys, hares, snakes, fish and birds. When live prey is not available, tigers eat carrion.
Tiger territories are large, up to 400 square miles, so tigers create multiple dens across their territories for resting during the day. Females have litters of three or four cubs. The cubs remain in the den until they are eight weeks old and then follow their mother about during her nightly excursions. Cubs are able to live independently at around 18 months old, but they usually remain with their mothers for another year.