Tiger Social Structure
Understanding the social structure of the tiger can be complex. While it had been carefully studied there are still plenty of questions that remain. It is known that the males are more dominate and that they are larger. However, there are also some extremely fierce females out there trying to protect their young. They are able to get the males that could overpower them to leave them alone.
Since tigers are loners, mainly living an isolated existence it is hard to really view their social structure on a regular basis. It can change during various periods of their life. The females tend to be more tolerant of each other and they live in smaller territorial ranges than the males. It is very common for the females to overlap the areas of the males in many areas.
This makes it much more convenient for mating though because the females and the males will come into contact with each other. The males with fight each other for the right to mate though. The strongest gets to do so with many of the females in the area so this isn’t a fight that they will easily give up. Outside of mating though the tigers are generally more likely to go their own ways rather than being confrontational and fighting.
There is research to indicate tigers are able to recognize each other. They may be willing to share prey they have killed with other males that are related, females that have had their cubs, and even those that have been in the area before and they recognize the scent of. This doesn’t always happen though.
What is interesting is the eating habits of these animals. For example males that do share their meals with females and with cubs will allow them to feed first or at the same time. With most types of cats including lions the males eat first until they get their fill then what is left can be shared by those remaining as they go down the social hierarchy.
Tigers can be social with each other though depending on what is going on. Some of the vocal sounds they offer indicate that they aren’t giving a warm welcome. They may hiss, meow, or growl to get others to get out of their territory. Other types they will purr and make low growling sounds to indicate interest and to draw others to them, especially for mating purposes.
The most social activities takes place when a mother has her cubs. She may have from 1 to 6 of them depending on the type of tiger. There is generally a dominant cub that emerges early on as well. It is typically a male but not always. This cub will set the pace for playing, sleeping, and engaging in various other types of activities.
There is still many unanswered questions about the social structure of the tiger though. Even through close observation in captivity they don’t always follow the same pattern of behavior. This is very interesting to researchers as it does indicate some level of problem solving skills that are separate from those that are just related to survival instinct.
Many researchers agree that the area of the social structure for tigers is one that does need to be explored further. However, it has been placed on a back burner for a very long time due to the endangered status of the different species of tigers. It is more appropriate to spend time and money to help them to survive then to gain answers to the questions that remain in reference to this particular topic.