The hind legs of the tiger are longer than the forelegs. It is this that enables them to jump impressive distances. There have been instances recorded of tigers leaping widths of as much as twenty feet, with one tiger seen to leap thirty feet. (Note that a lion was measured as leaping 40 feet, but this is very unusual; lions are reluctant jumpers).

Some captive facilities now include circus-like activities to prevent boredom in their cats, and to improve general physical and mental health. Leaping over natural obstacles is often part of this.

It is not uncommon for wild tigers to make vertical leaps of up to six feet in an effort to scale an obstacle. On one occasion a tiger was recorded as carrying the entire carcass of a domestic cow over a six-foot wall.


Tigers are powerful swimmers and along with the jaguar are quite at home in the water. They can easily cross rivers 6-8 kms wide and have been known to swim distances of up to 29 km.

In southeast Asia tigers are semi-aquatic, spending much of their time in rivers or swamps and feeding on fish or turtles. Some biologists believe that the tiger swam the channel between Java and Bali to colonise the latter island.


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Photography With Thanks To Les Thurbon (Photo 1)
Lisa Purcell (Photo 2)

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