Tigers reproduce by first reaching sexual maturity, waiting for the female to enter the estrus cycle, allowing the courtship process to begin and then finally mating with one another. Most tiger births involve three to four cubs and the mother protects her young cubs until they are approximately 2 1/2 years, reports Defenders of Wildlife.
Before any animal is able to reproduce, both the male and female animals must reach sexual maturity. The male tiger reaches sexual maturity when it is 4 or 5 years old while the female tiger reaches sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years.
Female tigers come into the estrus cycle at different times depending on where the tiger lives. In tropical weather, the female will enter the estrus cycle at all times throughout the year, while in cooler areas she will most likely only enter the estrus cycle in the winter. The estrus cycle occurs every 3, 6 or 9 weeks and the female is able to mate for 3 to 6 days during that time.
Once in the estrus cycle, the male tiger will come over and the two will circle one another. They may vocalize, and the female often leaves her scent to attract her mates.
The mating itself is simple and takes only a few days of repeated interactions. Tigers will choose many mates during their lives and will often leave one another immediately once mating is over.