Amur tiger

Panthera tigris altaica

Amur tigers are the earth's largest living cat. They live primarily in Russia, though a small population exists in China. The continued existence of the North Korean population is unknown. They live in coniferous, scrub oak and birch woodlands in mountain areas. They are carnivores.

Amur tiger behavior and facts

  • Amur tigers prey on any animal they can overpower, including boar, deer, elk, fish, hare and livestock. When hunting they rely more on sight and hearing than smell.
  • Tigers stalk, then spring onto prey. Thickly furred feet are an adaptation for silent stalking. Their large paws act like snowshoes to help them move through deep snow.
  • Tigers drag their kill to a hiding place, eating and resting until it is consumed, then finish their meal by drinking a large amount of water.
  • Except when courting, males are solitary, with a territory of 30 square miles.
  • Their claws are long and retractable, an adaptation to aid running.
  • Amur tigers forefeet have 5 digits; hind feet have 4 digits.
  • Tigers' striping is different on each side of its body. The pattern of stripes on a tigers face is as distinctive as human fingerprints – no two tigers have exactly the same stripe pattern.

  • Birth interval: 2 to 4 years
  • Breeding: late January to April
  • Gestation: 92 to 113 days
  • Young: 2 to 4 cubs, each weighing 2 to 4 pounds
  • Cubs make their first independent kill at about 7 months. They are taught to hunt by their mother. By the time they are two years old, they can kill large prey on their own but they may stay with their mother for another year or more before leaving to establish their own territory.
  • Sexual maturity: female 3 to 4 years; males 4 to 5 years
  • Lifespan: 15 years in the wild, 20 to 25 years in captivity.

Vital statistics

  • Length: 6 to 15 feet, head to tail
  • Males are larger than females
  • Height at shoulder: 3 feet
  • Weight: males 300 to 675 pounds; females 160 to 300 pounds

Status

US Endangered • CITES App I • SSP • studbook participant • Felid TAG

Amur tigers, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's tigers live in the Amur cats exhibit where they eat a diet of feline carnivore chow, bones, prey items and enrichment treats.

The Amur tiger has made a comeback in Russia, where populations fell to 20 to 30 animals in the 1930s. Intense conservation efforts have improved population numbers, but fewer than 400 Amur tigers exist in the wild. Numbers have declined due to hunting, poaching and loss of habitat. Tiger flesh and bones are prized in traditional medicine.

You can help Amur tigers by joining a conservation organization such as ALTA Amur Tiger Conservation. It studies the ecology of Amur tigers to help with conservation planning, and provides education and local incentives to replace poaching with conservation.

Amur tigers at the Oregon Zoo

Mikhail

Mikhail is a male Amur tiger born on October 31, 1998. He arrived on September 12, 2000 from the John Ball Zoo (Grand Rapids, MI) along with his twin sister, Nicole...

Nicole

Nicole was a female Amur tiger born on October 31, 1998. She arrived on Sept. 12, 2000 from the John Ball Zoo (Grand Rapids, MI) along with her brother Mikhail. Nicole died on March 24, 2014. She was known for her affectionate nature and was much beloved by her keepers and the community...