Gait Gait
A Slow Walk:

A Fast Walk:


The gait of individual tigers varies from animal to animal, but certain things are common to them all.

All cats walk on their toes; their heels are positioned halfway up their legs. During a walk the tiger lifts both limbs on the same side together. This gait is similar to that of a camel, and quite unlike that of a horse.

Some people claim the tiger has almost mathematically precise movement with the hind paw stepping in exactly the spot previously occupied by the forefoot. Others have done careful measurements and claimed a slight lag by the rear paws. Yet another idea is that the longer length of the hind legs creates an impression of the hind foot falling ahead of the forefoot.

It now seems most likely that the overlap only occurs during the stalking of prey, but in a normal walk the separation can be some inches.

The separation between each stride is used in the field to estimate the size of the animal.

When a tiger runs only a single paw touches the ground at any one time.


When running flat out the tiger's gait changes so that only a single paw touches the ground at any one time. It is a little difficult to see the details from the animation so each of the five frames are shown below.

These big cats can move extremely fast over short distances, having a top speed of around 35 miles per hour, but they cannot sustain this speed in the way a cheetah can.

 (Continued Page 2)

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Photography With Thanks To Ralf Schmode (Photos 1-2)
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