Tiger courting process

Tigers don’t have a set season for reproduction to take place. Instead they are able to engage in the activities throughout the year. However, most of the time it will occur from late November through early April. Males are ready to mate when they are approximately 5 years of age. For females it is about 3 ½ years of age.

During the courting process you may hear tigers making a variety of howls and whines for each other. The males usually start this off but the females are very likely to respond. When they do come into contact with each other a dance of smelling each other, purring, and even rubbing against each other is very common. Some couples will go as far as to lick and to groom each other as well.

When a male and a female decide they would like to mate with each other, they will engage in the act several times over the course of a couple of days. That is how long the female will remain in heat at any given period of time. It is common for a male to mate with several different females as long as he is healthy and his basic needs are being met.

Tiger reproduction facts

Pair of wild siberian tigers on snow

Once conception has occurred, it will take about 16 weeks for the cubs to be born. The males and females part ways after conception so she will be on her own to take care of them during the incubation period and afterwards. She will find a den where she can go to before they are born.

Generally there will be three or pups born at a time. They weight about 2 pounds each and they are completely dependent upon their mother as they are blind when they are born. The cubs will remain in the den until they are about 8 weeks old. The males often try to kill these young cubs if they come into contact with them. This is because the female will then be able to mate again with him.

Research has shown that there is a dominant cub in each liter. It is usually a male but that isn’t always the case. These cubs will engage in various types of play with each other and with their mothers. The dominate cub is the one that the mother will give the most food and care to if things become scarce to go around. The cubs will learn to hunt with their mother as well as they get older.

Tiger cub

Mother tiger carry her little cub.

By the time that these tiger cubs are from 1 ½ to 2 years of age they are ready to go out on their own. The females tend to make a territory that is very close to that of their mother. The males though tend to spread out much further. The females tend to be very good mothers for their offspring. They are fiercely protective when it comes to keeping them safe from predators.

Sometimes though the females will have to choose to care for only one or two of the cubs. These will be the strongest of the bunch. They do this instinctively so that survival of the fittest is able to continue. Otherwise they risk all of their cubs dying if they try to continue inadequately caring for all of them.

The mortality rate for young tigers is extremely high. Less than half of them will survive the fist two years of life. They may be killed by males that are threatened by them, not get enough food from their mother, or become prey for other types of animals out there in the wild.