Mating - Page 1:
In The Wild | 2:
Fighting for a Female | 3&4:
Copulation | 5&6:
Continuing the breeding cycle:
Soon, however, she lies down again and the male makes another approach, sniffing and nuzzling. She normally moves and then presents herself again.
And so it continues, lasting as long as five or six days and sometimes being repeated more than fifty times per day, every five to fifteen minutes.
Initially the frequency of copulation is quite low, reaching its peak on the third day and declining from the fifth day onwards. The actual length of copulation is very short, being 15 to 30 seconds.
The reason for the frequent and lengthy copulation period is tigers are what is known as an 'induced ovulator'. A tiger penis (pictured on this page) has spines which induce ovulation in the female; this also partially explains why females roar and often lash out at the male.
Captive tigers mate more during daylight hours and sleep at night. Wild pairs search for food during the night, though their interest in hunting and feeding is significantly reduced. In hot areas the pair will often choose to mate in rivers which provides cooling and discourages the flies.
Temporary fidelity in tigers:
Both male and female tigers will have several partners during their lifetime, although during mating a temporary period of fidelity exists, with the male remaining monogamous. He will not seek out another tigress, even if a second one in the area is on heat.
Once the pair part the male will immediately start to court other females, not taking any further interest in the tigress he just left, or her forthcoming cubs.