Talking Tigers: The Fascinating Way Tigers Communicate

Jul 11 19:36 2016 Lisa Jeeves Print This Article

For wildlife lovers on Tiger holidays, understanding the complex communication of the big cat assists in gaining an overall insight into its behaviour.

For wildlife lovers with a passion for big cats,Guest Posting dedicated Tiger holidays are the ideal way to experience multiple sightings of the magnificent animal in its natural habitat. Heading into the jungles of the Indian sub-continent on day and night drives gives those on Tiger holidays the opportunity to observe the animal's unique behaviours – one of the most fascinating of which is the way in which it communicates.

Communicating Through Behaviour

Vocalising is not the only way the big cat communicates with the other animals in its jungle habitat. Just as a domestic cat's mood or temperament can be 'read' from its body language, so too can its much larger distant cousin's.

Aside from when they're hunting, as a rule Tigers would rather not engage in a fight if not necessary, so they employ warning signals to avoid conflict. These include arching their backs and displaying their claws, leaving their potential opponent in no doubt of their superiority and, usually, defusing the situation.

To Hunt or Not to Hunt

When the big cat has potential prey in its sight, its behaviour and body language is completely different than during a benign encounter with another animal. If it is merely curious, its tail will be high and its ears pricked, indicating that, while it's not on the hunt or threatened, it's certainly alert. When hunting, however, the ears go back, the tail is low and the head is high, with teeth bared and ready to pounce.

The Scent of Familiarity

Another method of communicating between their species is through scent. Each animal has an individual scent, which is secreted by glands in the tail and between the toes. They use this not only as a way of recognising each other, but also in the mating ritual. A female leaves her scent as a way of communicating to potential mates that she is in 'estrus' – the period of fertility.

Vocalising

The most obvious way (to humans) the big cat has of communicating is like most of the rest of the animal kingdom: by sound, or what's known as vocalisation.

Just like a Lion, they have the ability to emit a very powerful roar, which can be heard for up to two miles. A male will roar to attract females (their long distance range means they can communicate with females outside their own territory), but also as a warning to other males who trespass into their home range.

Snarling or hissing is their way of warning other animals away – particularly in the case of a female protecting her cubs. They will also snarl when they feel they're in some kind of danger, or to warn off any other Tigers trying to muscle in on a food source.

The female will emit a low moan to communicate with her young, when coaxing them to learn new things and venture out to unfamiliar places beyond the den. Males will also moan during courting, in order to put the female at ease and assure them they are not under any threat.

Just like a domestic cat does, they also purr – which is generally considered to be a sign of contentment and relaxation.


While the best Tiger holidays are led by experienced naturalists, researching and understanding as much as possible about the characteristics and complex behaviours of the big cat ensures participants will get the most of of this once-in-a-lifetime wildlife opportunity.

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About Article Author

Lisa Jeeves
Lisa Jeeves

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in Tigers. Being passionate about her subject, Marissa chooses the expert-led Tiger holidays organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of wildlife in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.

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