Interactions and Behavior

Bengal tigers are mostly solitary predators and live alone. Both males and females claim their own individual territories. Mature females (age 3) tend to live adjacent to their mothers’ territories. The interactions between tigers are very little. Males and females only interact to mate and sometimes share their kill. Males interact with other males mainly for territorial purposes. A male Bengal tiger will not share its’ territory with another male, a fight will be had and the dominant male will gain the territory. Bengal tigers also interact very little with other species. Besides killing their prey, tigers do not often see other predators because Bengal tigers are relatively inactive during the day. (Ullas, Karanth K. & et. 2004)

In terms of behavior, communication is a vital part of a Bengal tiger’s interaction. Bengal tigers use vocal or sounds, visuals, and scent to communicate to other tigers as well as other species.

Vocals and Sound: When many people think of both lions and tigers, the first sound that comes to mind is roaring. Roaring is not used to signal aggression like many think. Roaring is used for signaling a tiger’s location. A roar could be to warn other tigers away or to invite other tigers to the territory. Growls and hissing are the sounds referring to aggression. Mother and cub tigers usually communicate through moans. These moans are also used for signaling location. (Encyclopedia of Life 2013)

Visuals: In general, Bengal tigers use the same visuals any house cat would use. For example “when a tiger shows aggression (an offensive threat) the tail is usually lashed from side to side, the head is held low, the ears are twisted so that the backs face forward (showing the ear spots), the eyes are opened wide, and the mouth is almost closed with the lips forming a straight line” (Tiger Info Books, SeaWorld, 14)

Scent: The most common form of communication through scent is through the use of urine. Similar to dogs, Bengal tigers urinate in order to mark their specific territory. Additionally when Bengal tigers greet each other, either a mother and cub or a male and female about to mate, they rub cheeks and noses transferring their body scents. By doing so, this demonstrates a close social bond between the pair. (Encyclopedia of Life 2013)


Pictured to the left is the rare interaction between a male and female Bengal tiger. This picture is showing not only the beginning of mating, but also the exchanging of body scents between the two.


Read more about the Endangerment of Panthera tigris

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