are up to 5
inches in length. Forefeet have five claws, including a dew
claw, while hind paws have four claws with the dew claw being
dew claws are placed high on the limb they do not suffer wear
from contact with the ground. This means they become particularly
long and sharp, very useful for holding prey.
have a number of uses:
lethal weapons during the hunt. The hook shape enables
the tiger to grasp the skin of prey and so prevent its
addition to licking, felids repeatedly scratch. This
dislodges dead hair, deals with skin irritations and
out territory through the scratching of trees. Once
a tree is chosen it is used repeatedly leaving deep
longitudinal marks on the trunk. Not all tigers scratch
at trees, some do it frequently while others don't bother.
from glands in the feet leave deposits which are easily
smelled by other tigers. For experts the
height of claw marks on trees is an indicator of the
tree climbing. Tigers seldom climb trees, but are quite
capable of doing so; they may do this if being chased
by dogs or when after prey. There have been occasions
of men climbing trees to escape an attacking tiger,
only to be killed when the tiger followed them up. Though
claws make the climb possible, their angle also makes
the descent an awkward job.
defence; primarily in encounters with other tigers,
but also with other animals and when a cat feels threatened
balance when stretching, walking, running and jumping,
amongst other actions.
between the toes produce secretions which are left when
tigers scratch. These send chemical signals to other
cats in the area.