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Do Tigers Climb Trees? Really?

The largest of all the big cats, including lions and jaguars, tigers can grow to over 13 feet in length. When fully grown, they can weigh over 500 pounds.

So, do tigers climb trees because that is a lot of weight, and only a few strong trees could take such an intrusion? When they are young, they spend a lot of time in trees playing, hunting, and trees are a great place to hide from predators.

Yes, even tigers have predators, and the young of any animal species are always the most vulnerable. In addition, like our domestic house, cats like to get up high for safety and a height advantage for spying prey.

Tiger cubs begin climbing on what they can at a young age. 


Do tigers climb trees?

Tigers mount on trees but mostly when they are young. When they are older it gets more difficult as a tiger cub will weigh an average of 90 pounds at 6 months of age, enough to break the largest trees. Also, they need to climb down the tree instead of jumping down from it.


Why Tigers Climb Trees

Until they reach the age of about a year and a half, tiger cubs are avid climbers. Observers have noted cubs hunting prey in the canopy in hopes of finding dinner. Or for an undisturbed nap.

However, when a tiger cub reaches 16 to 18 months, it can weigh in at 200 pounds. Although tigers are very muscular, it is a lot of weight to pull up a tree with only your claws for support.

Older tigers can climb trees, even full-grown tigers; however, they must get there at a run. As they cannot pull their dead weight from the ground like the lighter leopard or jaguar can.

If you are hungry, though, and dinner is up a tree, then you go for it. Younger tigers have better luck than their parents do with this hunting tactic.

However, tigers have been observed chasing smaller cats and monkeys up a tree, searching for meals.


The Ability to Climb Keeps Young Tigers Alive

Statistically, young tigers do not live past two years of age. This can be due to drought and starvation, fire, hunters, and the males in the group.

Yes, the males will often kill male offspring to keep them from being competitors for the females in the group.

But, unfortunately, this practice has done little to curb the falling number of tigers that never make it to adulthood.

Even though the males in a lion’s pride (group) can diminish the number of offspring that make it to adulthood, man is still the biggest enemy of tigers in the wild.

Being able to climb trees gives young tigers and even adults a way to escape from danger. Although adult tigers have no natural enemies, young tiger cubs do.

Other cats, snakes, hyenas, and crocodiles will attack young tigers, and climbing is often their only defense.


Where Tigers Live

Tigers live from far eastern Russia, through North Korea, down into China, India, and Southeastern Asia. There are eight known subspecies (Panthera tigris) of the tiger, and three are now extinct.

The remaining subspecies of tigers include the Amur, Bengal, Indo-Chinese tigers, South Chinese tigers, and the Sumatran tiger.

Less than a hundred years ago, almost 100,000 tigers were estimated to live along that range of land. Through the years, their numbers have dwindled to less than 4,000 of these magnificent creatures.

The ability to climb at a young age helps some of the young tigers beat the odds and stay alive. However, as with many animals, young males are at more considerable risk from their own group than from men.


Frequently Asked Questions about Tigers Climbing Trees


Why do tigers climb trees?

Tigers climb trees when on the hunt and use them as a place to stay safe. They will also climb a tree and find a limb on which to nap. This high perch gets them away from the traffic of the forest floor.


Is a tree protective for a tiger?

They are for tiger cubs because many of a tiger cub’s enemies cannot climb a tree. So, a sleepy tiger can also find refuge in the boughs of a tree where it cannot be seen very easily by its foes.


When do tigers hunt?

Like domestic cats, tigers hunt at nighttime as they’re nocturnal animals. If they get hungry, though, and a night hunt does not yield a meal, they will hunt during the light of day.


Both Young and Old Tigers Climb Trees

Since young tigers use trees for protection and a food source, it stands to reason they would still climb trees throughout their lives.

However, their massive weight makes climbing trees more complicated with age.

Tigers become mighty hunters with few enemies once they are grown. Climbing becomes much less something they do for food and fun, as it is out of necessity.

However, even though they may weigh in at 550 pounds, they can still scale a tree. They’re just not very graceful about it.

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