How to Care for a Pet Tiger
A large cat with long claws, sharp teeth, and an insatiable appetite what more could anyone ask for? Tigers are among the most popular pets available today, but they're not for everyone. While some people want to raise one as part of their family, others decide to keep them strictly as a source of entertainment.
In either case, there are certain things that must be considered before owning a tiger. This article will explain how to take good care of your new friend from purchasing a tiger cub to training them properly.
While tigers are generally docile cats, they do require proper nutrition and lots of attention like any other living creature. The following pages include information on everything from feeding to training to safety concerns. Read up, get educated, and then start dreaming!
What You Need to Know Before Owning a Tiger
Before anything else, you need to know that no matter where you purchase your tiger, buying one is never without risk. There are strict regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the sale of exotic species such as lions, tigers, and leopards. As such, if you are looking into adding an exotic animal to your collection, you should research all aspects of ownership thoroughly.
For example, you'll want to find out whether breeders are licensed by the USDA. If they aren't, you may end up with a sickly or deformed animal. Also, many states prohibit the breeding of exotic animals altogether. It's best to play it safe and only buy from reputable dealers who can provide detailed references.
These same guidelines apply when deciding whether to keep a tiger at home. Even though tigers are classified as "domestic" animals, they still require a great deal of care and upkeep just like any other pet. On top of taking proper care of your tiger, it's important to consider the potential legal consequences of mistreating or neglecting your pet.
If you've decided that you'd like to own a tiger, read on! We'll discuss the basics of caring for a tiger, including how much time and money you'll need to dedicate to its well-being.
Since tigers are big cats, they need abundant amounts of freshwater daily. In order to avoid dehydration, tigers should drink between 10 and 15 gallons of water per day. That means that your tiger needs access to clean water 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Make sure that you don't leave any containers of water lying around your house. Tigers are known to destroy household items such as plastic bottles, bowls, and trash cans. When possible, put the container outside of the cage so that your tiger has easy access.
A bowl filled with sand works well. Not only does the sand soak up odors, but it can also act as a natural litter box. Some owners use baby shampoo or soap to clean the sand after the tigers urinate.
It's also important to remember that wild animals tend to drink from streams, ponds, and lakes. Since domestic animals often prefer tap water over natural sources of drinking water, it's recommended that you give your tiger bottled water instead. Avoid using municipal water because it contains chemicals that can harm tigers.
Tigers also need regular exercise to stay healthy. Make sure that your home provides plenty of space for your tiger to run freely indoors. Otherwise, you might end up having to pay for expensive vet bills when your tiger gets injured running outdoors.
Like dogs and cats, tigers are carnivores. However, unlike domesticated animals, tigers are true predators that subsist largely off the flesh. Tigers hunt primarily during the daytime rather than nightfall, preferring medium-sized prey such as deer, buffalo, and wild boar. Their diets consist mainly of meat, although they sometimes consume smaller animals such as rodents, rabbits, and birds.
Other Diet Considerations
Because tigers are carnivorous creatures, their diets are made up mostly of protein. This means that you'll need to feed your tiger a high-quality, balanced diet. Although tigers can survive on raw meat, it's highly recommended that you cook it first to ensure that the meat reaches proper cooking temperatures.
Most experts recommend that you feed your tiger commercial food rather than homemade meals. Commercial foods come prepackaged and contain ingredients designed specifically for tigers. These foods are also formulated to meet nutritional requirements and allow for proper digestion. Home-cooked meals can cause diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and stomach ulcers due to incorrect preparation methods.
As with other animals, it's important to watch your tiger's eating habits closely to determine what kind of food it prefers. Sometimes, tigers will refuse to eat foods that you think would normally appeal to them. To figure out why this happens, try introducing different types of food at once. Afterward, observe which ones your tiger eats and which ones he rejects. Over time, you should notice trends that will help you choose better choices for your next meal.
Your tiger may also enjoy watching you prepare meals for yourself. Just be careful not to accidentally serve him human food. Tigers are prone to obesity and diabetes just like humans, so don't let them gorge themselves on fatty snacks. Instead, encourage him to munch on wholesome fruits and vegetables.
Now that you understand the importance of providing your tiger with adequate nutrition, let's look at some safety issues.
Even though they are called tigers, there are actually four subspecies of tiger: Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, and Sumatran. While all subspecies differ slightly in size and appearance, they share similar traits. All tigers are social animals that live together peacefully and safely within groups. Each group consists of several adults and their offspring. They usually spend their nights curled up in tight balls under furniture or inside thick bush cover. During the day, they sleep away from the rest of the group.
One of the biggest challenges of keeping a tiger as a pet is making sure that the animal remains secure while roaming free. Because tigers are naturally territorial, they may become aggressive or defensive if someone enters their territory. Owners should always follow their tiger's instinctive behavior and respond accordingly.
Many people believe that tigers are dangerous animals that attack and kill people unprovoked. While tigers occasionally defend themselves against unwanted visitors, this isn't something that occurs every day. Most attacks occur when tigers feel threatened or cornered. In fact, tigers rarely pose a threat to human beings unless provoked or otherwise angered.
On average, tigers attack about 3 to 5 people annually. Attacks are typically caused by mistakes that people make while approaching a tiger. People who enter the tiger's territory without permission or behave aggressively toward a tiger may trigger a fight response.
Although tigers are classified as "wildlife," they are not native to North America. Native Americans believed that the animals were omens of bad luck, so they hunted them relentlessly until it became illegal to possess them here in the United States.
Caring for Baby Tigers
Tigers are born in litters containing anywhere from two to 23 babies. Caring for newborns requires special knowledge and experience since each baby is unique. Babies are taken to a nursery area where they remain separated from their mothers for several weeks. At this point, the mother begins teaching her young how to hunt and survive independently.
After about eight weeks, the babies begin playing together in small groups. Once they reach six months old, they move out of the nursery and into larger spaces with the rest of the group. By the age of three years, females are ready to mate again. Males continue to grow throughout their lives.
The average lifespan of a captive tiger is 25 to 30 years. Like other animals, tigers can suffer from health problems that affect longevity. Obesity causes diabetes, which can lead to blindness and amputation. Other diseases include kidney stones, heart disease, and liver failure.
Captive tigers are kept separate from wild populations to prevent interbreeding. One way to accomplish this is through the use of fences. Fence posts are spaced approximately 4 feet apart, allowing for enough room for tigers to walk side-by-side without touching each other.
Enclosures are built with wire mesh panels to protect tigers from predators such as elephants, crocodiles, and hyenas. Some enclosures are even covered with netting to keep flies away from the tigers' faces.