If you think a white tiger is an albino tiger, you are not alone and White Tiger Facts for Kids has heaps of interesting facts about these rare cats. There are many children and adults who are under the misconception that white tigers are albinos. In reality, they are not. These are Bengal Tigers that have a gene that turns their orange fur to white, but retains the stripes. White tigers have blue eyes as well. This gene is extremely rare, with just one tiger in every 15,000 possessing it. Today, most experts believe white tigers do not exist in the wild.
Usually, zoos and tiger conservation groups breed these rare tigers; and there are just about 200 of them in existence today. Many zoos have white tigers on display, as they are extremely popular and draw visitors.
Photo Credit: Jack Fiallos (CC license)
The First White Tiger
Even though there were reports in the 1800s of white tiger sightings, the first one was captured in 1951 in India. This tiger was captured by Maharaja Martand Singh, the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Rewa, and use for breeding. It is believed that every white tiger in the world traces its ancestry to this first captured tiger, who was named Mohan.
Problems with Breeding White Tigers
The breeding of white tigers is actually quite controversial. Since most white tigers are in-bred, they are often born with deformities, such as crossed eyes, kidney problems, club feet, tendon problems and misshaped bones. Most scientists believe these deformities are due to inbreeding, but also can occur to the unique gene that gives the white color to the fur.
Since the white tiger does not serve any conservation benefits, many animal rights supporters feel it is inhumane to breed white tigers in captivity.
Habitat of the White Tiger
If the white tiger survived in the wild, it would have the same natural habitat as the Bengal Tiger. The ideal habitat of the white tiger would be mangrove swamps, tropical forests and moist jungles with dense vegetation and fresh water.
Like other tigers, a white tiger in the wild would be a solitary animal. This is because the tiger is a large predator and when it roams the jungles alone, it is easier to sneak up on its prey. Also, it is important to remember the white tiger is not a nocturnal creature, but it would still hunt in the night, as it would be more successful in killing its prey.
The tiger is territorial in nature, especially an adult male, and it marks its territory with urine and scraping the bark of trees with its sharp claws.
My Cub and I
For a white tiger to be born, both the male and female should carry the white gene. During the mating season, tigers are attracted to one another via their roars and scent. After mating, the male and female separate, with the female having a gestation period of about 3.5 months.
White tiger cubs are born blind and dependent on their mother for milk. When they are about 2 months old, they begin eating the prey that the mother brings to them. After 6 months of age, the cubs are weaned and they begin accompanying their mother on her hunting expeditions. By the time the cubs are 18 months old, they are ready to leave their mother and begin their adventurous life on their own.
Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett (CC License)
Interesting Facts about White Tigers for Kids
- White tigers have an acute sense of hearing and vision
- White tigers are carnivorous and in the wild, they prey upon wild boar, deer, goats and cattle
- They have no known predators other than humans
- There are no known white tigers in the wild. The last sighting of a white tiger in the wild was in 1958
- Like most other tigers, white tigers are excellent swimmers
More White Tiger Facts for Kids can be found below