Javan Tiger -- Panthera tigris sondaica

Javan - Page 1: In The Wild | 2: Subspecies Description | 3: Photographic Records | 4: Weight & Length Figures


Javan tiger appearance:

The Javan was quite similar in appearance to the Sumatran tiger, but had numerous darker and closer-set black stripes. Striping on the flanks and back was often double-looped and this can be seen both on the mounted specimen at the top of this page, and on the photograph on Page 1.

Javans tiger were also notable for their cheek whiskers which were the longest of any of the subspecies.

Museum specimens:

The Hungarian National Museum of Natural History has two mounted skins of Javan tigers, along with a skeleton and ten skulls.

One of the skins is particularly interesting for the strange stripe pattern which covers its flanks. On this area the stripes are reduced to such an extent they have become spots, and some are missing altogether. This specimen came from western Java and was obtained in the early 1800s by three of the first Dutch zoologists to explore the area:

    • Heinrich Kuhl
    • Johan Christiaan van Hasselt
    • Gerrit van Raalten

The second mounted tiger is an adult male. He was imported from Java in 1920 and died in Rotterdam Zoo in February 1931. During the war the Germans bombed this zoo and many of the animals died. Whether or not that caused the death of any Javan tigers is unknown.

Prehistoric Javan tigers:

Panthera tigris sondaica which is the topic of this article was not the first tiger located on Java. Panthera tigris trinilensis is the oldest tiger fossil ever found there and actually the oldest in the world.

This Trinil fossil dates from approximately 1.2 million years ago and was located in the same place as the oldest human remains ever to be found on Java. There is no evidence to suggest that sabre-toothed cats like Panthera tigris trinilensis were in any way related to our modern tigers.


Javan - Page 1: In The Wild | 2: Subspecies Description | 3: Photographic Records | 4: Weight & Length Figures

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Photography With Thanks To The Hungarian National Museum Of Natural History (Photo 1).
 © All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.