Tigers are one of the most fearsome and largest of the big cats. They are one of the world’s greatest natural hunters, adaptable and cunning.
When it comes to their diet, they are first and foremost natural predators with a love for the raw flesh and meat of prey… but do they eat fish?
If you’re curious about it, read on to find out all you need to know… the answers may surprise you!
Where Do Tigers live?
You’ll usually find tigers living in India, but you can also find them in places like Siberia, Sumatra, China, Nepal, and other places in Southwest Asia.
They prefer environments that have lots of trees and open spaces to move around and hunt in, so they can be found in grasslands, plains, rainforests, and savannahs.
The Diet Of A Tiger
Adult tigers need around 9kg of food a day in order to stay healthy and survive.
Sometimes they are overindulgent and they can eat up to a staggering 50kg of food in a single meal!
A tiger’s diet mainly consists of raw meat. They are predators and eat a lot of prey.
Tigers usually eat things like deer, boar, wild pigs, buffalo, and in some cases, young elephants.
On very rare occasions, they have been known to attack and eat humans. The most well-known of these attacks were from a tiger known as The Champawat Tigress.
She attacked and killed over 400 humans and when she was finally put down, they discovered both sets of her canines were damaged and she couldn’t pierce the skin of normal tiger prey, so she was attacking and eating humans out of necessity.
Though they do eat meat, tigers are technically omnivores. They are very adaptable and if they can’t find the appropriate food, they will resort to eating other things in order to survive.
On top of their usual diet of deer and boar, they will also eat things like berries, grass, and fruits. They also eat rodents, including mice, chinchillas, and agoutis.
Do Tigers Like To Swim?
Although cats are known for their hatred of water, tigers really love it. They are excellent swimmers and spend a lot of time in rivers.
As cubs, tigers are encouraged and taught to swim by their mothers, though some cubs can die in the water.
But the cubs that do learn how to swim and survive are set up for a better future as water is a big part of a tiger’s life.
Tigers use rivers and lakes to hunt, but they also use them for leisure. In their natural habitat, you would see tigers frequently like to take baths in bodies of water.
The water also has a cooling effect that helps in the hot summer months to keep their body temperature down.
Tigers are nocturnal hunters, so cooling down at night isn’t an issue, it’s more during the day they need to do this in order to stay comfortable.
They can swim in rivers as wide as 7km and they usually swim about 29km a day during their patrols.
Tigers usually keep their heads above the water though as they don’t like to get water in their eyes, but if they are hunting in the water, they will occasionally dive below for a very short period of time.
Another thing to note is that tigers will attack and eat crocodiles if they are in the water.
Crocodiles aren’t always their first choice of food, but if they are out for a swim and hungry, they won’t turn the opportunity down.
Do Tigers Eat Fish?
The short answer? Yes, tigers do eat fish, but it’s more a question of do they want to eat fish?
Because they prefer fleshy, meaty prey, fish are not ideal candidates to fill them up. Fish are too small and they don’t come across them very often.
Tigers are attracted to the smells of their prey, finding them appetizing straight away, which activates their hunting instincts.
When fish are swimming around in the rivers and lakes, they don’t really have a strong smell, so this might be another reason tigers generally ignore them.
But tigers are clever animals and if they can’t find the appropriate food, they will resort to eating almost whatever they need to.
Fish are one of their backup options if their regular food sources are a bit sparse.
Tigers live inland, usually in grasslands, rainforests, savannahs, and even mangrove swamps.
So they don’t cross paths with fish very often, but when they do, they’ll find them in rivers. So if they are going to eat fish, they will be of the freshwater variety.
Tigers are excellent swimmers, which might surprise you because they are cats.
They spend a lot of time in the water and will hunt the prey that dwells there. Fish are no exception.
If they are hunting fish, they will swim in the river and even dive down to find them.
Tigers will eat all sorts of freshwater fish, including salmon, carp, tengra, river eel, and pink perch.
Tigers have also been known to eat fish in captivity. Lots of zookeepers tend to feed them fish because it’s easier to obtain in larger quantities.
The tigers will eat the fish so they can survive, but they’d definitely prefer to have some raw deer meat instead!
In regards to their diet, yes, tigers do eat fish, but eating fish is definitely not their first choice. They will look for other options before they resort to eating fish.
Tigers are adept hunters and will do whatever they need to do, eat whatever they need to eat in order to sustain themselves and survive, so if they really can’t find the appropriate prey, they will substitute with fish.
Tigers are one of the smartest and most adaptable of the big cat families.
Although your housecats love a good tin of tuna, tigers more often than not wouldn’t be too happy with this as a first choice meal!