Tigers are one the most fascinating big cats out there. They are huge, powerful felines that can live in a range of different habitats.
This diversity in species and habitat means that lots of tigers eat different diets, so just what do tigers that live in the rainforest eat?
Here, we are going to look at the common prey for tigers in the rainforest. This means that you can understand more about tigers, their subspecies and their individual diets. So, let’s dive in!
Which Tigers Live In The Rainforest
Tigers as a species originate in Asia but each subspecies has biological advantages that help them live and survive in different biomes.
For example, the Siberian tiger (r or Amur Tiger) are able to live in cooler climates while the Malayan tiger lives on in the warmer climates of Malaysia.
There are two subspecies of tigers that live in rainforest biomes. These two subspecies are the Bengal tiger and the Sumatran tiger.
Bengal tigers live in rainforest areas of India, although some have also roamed into areas of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Sumatran tigers, however, have a much more limited range because they reside on the tropical island of Sumatra in Indonesia.
Because both tigers live in such different areas although in similar biomes, their diets also have some variety.
So, let’s take a closer look at the diets of these two subspecies of tiger so you can understand where their diets overlap and where they differ.
Bengal Tigers Diets
Bengal tigers are carnivores which means that their diet is limited to sources of meat. This means that Bengal tigers hunt down various prey so they can eat their flesh for nourishment.
Bengal tigers do not eat any form of plant; their diets consist of meat – but what animals do they eat?
In general, Bengal tigers will mainly hunt a group of animals known as ungulates. These are animals that are large mammals that are usually herbivores with hooves.
Common species of ungulates that can be found in the same habitat as bengal tigers include types of deer known such as chital, barasingha or sambar.
They also hunt guar (also known as Indian bison), water buffalo, nilagi (an Asian type of antelope), and cattle like takin.
Bengal tigers will also hunt smaller forms of prey including wild boar and the grey langur ( a type of monkey). Even some predators are not safe from tigers as Bengal tigers have been seen hunting and killing leopards, wolves, jackals, foxes, crocodiles and bears.
Even snakes like king cobra and Indian cobra have been found in some Bengal tiger stomachs – although no one has actually recorded a Bengal tiger actively hunting snakes. It is more likely the tiger was attacked or found a freshly dead snake, and ate it.
Indian elephants and rhinoceros are generally safe from Bengal tigers, although a Bengal tiger will not turn away if they find one that is sick or weak.
These are very rare events that are only recorded every few years so elephants and rhinoceros are definitely not a common part of a Bengal tiger’s regular diet.
Overall, Bengal tigers usually stick to eating deer-like animals, cattle and pigs. They have even been known to prey on domestic livestock in India, which is why many farmers try to deter and even kill Bengal tigers to protect their animals.
Sumatran Tiger Diets
Because Sumatran tigers live in a much limited area compared to Bengal tigers, this means that their diet is much less varied.
However, it is still a carnivorous species so Sumatran tigers still only eat meat for nourishment and do not eat grass or plants. So, what animals do Sumatran tigers hunt down?
Like Bengal tigers, Sumatran tigers also hunt large ungulates such as wild pigs and deer like the Sambar deer and both greater and lesser mouse deer.
They also hunt more unique animals like the Malayan tapir, Malayan porcupine, pheasants like the great argus, and monkeys like pig-tailed macaques.
Some Sumatran tigers have also been seen preying on orangutans but this is a very rare occurrence because orangutans spend very little time on the rainforest floor. This means that they usually reside up in trees, far out of the way of tigers.
So, overall, Sumatran tigers still try to eat the same kinds of food as Bengal tigers such as cattle, deer and pigs. However, because they live in different areas, there are different species for them to hunt.
There is some overlap with species like the Sambar deer but in general, Sumatran and Bengal tigers will eat different species regularly because they live in different areas although both reside in rainforest biomes.
To sum everything up, there are two species of tiger that reside in rainforest biomes – the Bengal and the Sumatran tiger. Although they live in similar biomes, they live in separate areas with different species available for them to hunt.
So, although both species are carnivores and aim to hunt and feed on similar types of animals, they usually end up eating very different animals.
Bengal tigers mainly feed on different species of deer, pigs, goats and cattle although they have been known to regularly hunt and eat other predators including jackals, foxes, wolves, leopards and bears.
They even eat more unusual animals including types of monkeys and snakes – so the diet of a Bengal tiger is very varied.
Sumatran tigers, due to their far limited area of habitat, have a much more restricted diet but they still aim to eat the same types of animals.
They too hunt types of deer and pig, although they are sometimes forced to eat other animals like tapirs and porcupines regularly.
Overall, it is clear that rainforest tigers try to eat ungulates including deer, pigs and cattle (both domestic and wild) but what actual species of animals they eat regularly all depends on the area they live in and how successful their hunt is.
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