Life Span

The life span of the tiger:

On average tigers will live for 10 to 15 years out in the wild and 16 to 20 years in captivity, though there is one Australian tiger recorded as living to the ripe old age of 26.

Elderly tigers take on a saggy appearance, their hip bones tend to protrude, they often have to be fed on soft food like milk and eggs, and at this stage many zoos consider them unfit for display. In their last few months some become blind and may experience partial paralysis.

Tigers in the wild face  a great many dangers and the odds are against them living past even their early months. One cub often dies at birth, this is usually the runt of the litter. The other cubs are prime targets for predators, including their own father.

Once they become adults, the defence of territories, particularly by males, places the tiger at risk of injury or death.

Chronic shortage of prey can also result in starvation and some are killed by other animals, such as bear, or packs of wild dogs.

Tiger reserves have an expected natural mortality rate. In the case of Ranthambhore, this is about 10%.

The presence of man poses another danger. For instance, it's pretty obvious the tiger displayed on this page didn't die of natural causes.

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