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How Sharp are Tiger Claws? Read This!

Did you know that the largest living cat species are tigers? They’re also stronger than most lion species.

Tigers form a part of the Panthera genus according to Animaldiversity Web and live for about 8 to 10 years in the wild.

Scientifically known as Panthera tigris, the big cat is endangered, unfortunately.

The tiger favors preying on ungulates such as wild boars and deer as it is an apex predator.

The animal is a carnivore, the male weighing approximately 198 – 286 lbs. (90 – 130 kgs), while the female weighs 143 – 374 lbs. (65 – 170 kgs).


How Sharp are Tiger Claws?

A tiger is a deadly animal that can kill prey in a single attack. While the exact force of a tiger’s claw is unknown, a tiger’s one paw swipe is estimated to be around 10,000 lbs. (22046 kgs). Its claws are the main weapon for hunting, attacking, and defending. Apart from bears, a tiger’s paw’s swipe is most deadly. 

How Sharp Are Tiger Claws?

How Sharp Are Tiger Claws?


Tiger Claws- A Deadly Swipe?

Tigers have one of the strongest claws in the world. While bears also have strong claws, tigers also bear naturally strong claws that they almost always use when chasing prey, attacking it, and holding it down.

A tiger does not sharpen its claws, unlike domestic cats. Although tigers and bears come from the same species, the former naturally have deadly claws.

The latter only gives you scratches, the intensity depending on the force applied by the cat.


A Tiger’s Claws at a Close Glance

A tiger usually has four regular-sized claws on each paw. A special claw is located at the paw’s back, called a declaw; this does not touch the ground while walking.

All of these claws are used for various purposes discussed in the further sections.

Each claw is mostly 4 inches (10 cm) or close to this value in length. The tiger uses them to grasp and tightly hold onto prey.

Its paw can measure up to 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm), making each swipe deadly.

Tiger's Claws At A Close Glance

Tiger’s Claws At A Close Glance


What do Tigers Use their Claws For?

Tigers use their claws for several purposes. The common ones include the following:


1. Hunting

An animal, especially a carnivore at the top of the food web, needs sharp and effective weapons to survive in the wild.

In accordance with this, tigers have sharp claws with an approximate force of 10,000 lbs. (22046 kgs) that help them hunt.

A tiger uses these claws to grasp its prey, lock it in its grip, maintain the steady grip, and tear apart the flesh.

The tiger cannot effectively attack any prey without its claws, such as deer and elephant calves.

Tiger`s Claw For Hunting

Tiger`s Claw For Hunting


2. Defending

Very few animals attack tigers due to their immense strength and agility.

However, some animals occasionally prey on the cubs, such as snakes, crocodiles, bears, and elephants.

Humans are also predators of tigers due to various reasons.

They kill tigers either when the animal poses a threat to other wildlife or people or for monetary gain.

Historically, tigers were poached for their fairly thick fur.

Although some illegal organizations are still poaching tigers for fur, public awareness and campaigns have significantly reduced poaching rates.

International trade for fur has also decreased as more light is now being shed upon animal rights.

However, some illegal traders continue to kill tigers, making them an endangered species.

Tiger`s Claw For Defending

Tiger`s Claw For Defending


2. Communication

A surprising fact about tigers is that they sometimes use their claws to communicate with fellow tigers and even their prey.

If a tiger retracts its claws while looking at prey means that the former is ready to attack.

Similarly, tigers may mark territory by raking their claws, and creating scrapes on the ground, usually with their hind feet.

Tigers may also form scrapes on trees to warn their prey.

Apart from this, a tiger utilizes various vocalizations to communicate with its species over long distances.

These vocalizations are now also understood by experts and other animals inhabiting the wild jungles.

The tiger roars mostly to communicate with other animals.

This may convey that the big cat is feeding on prey, taking down a big animal, calling their young, or indicating sexual receptivity.

A tiger’s roar can easily be heard over 1.8 miles (3000 m).

Tiger`s Claw For Communication

Tiger`s Claw For Communication


Maintenance of a Tiger’s Sharp Claws

The tigers are born with naturally sharp claws. However, they are exposed to perpetual wear and tear so that the claws may become less sharp over time.

Young tigers typically have very sharp claws; however, mature tigers may damage them over time.

It is necessary for a tiger to sharpen its claws every now and then so that it can catch its prey without much effort.

Sharp claws don’t only help the tiger grasp its prey but also assist in slowing it down and picking its flesh and bones apart.

Therefore, a tiger sharpens its claws by clawing or scratching at tough surfaces like trees and rocks.

Like housecats, some also prefer biting their claws at various angles to sharpen them.


A Tiger’s Claws Identification

A tiger’s claws can only be identified by close examination. The standard procedure involves examining the size, shape, and curvature.

The size is mostly around 4 inches (10 cm), 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm), and very sharp.

To further confirm if it is a tiger claw, part of it is burnt to see if it releases any smell.

Typically, a tiger claw has a pungent smell as the proteins burn and break down.

However, a strong smell does not always mean it is a tiger claw; other animal claws also release a similar smell.

A DNA test can accurately identify a claw and the animal’s age. A DNA analysis combined with correct examination findings identifies a tiger claw.

Tiger's Claws Identification

Tiger’s Claws Identification


Frequently Asked Questions About How Sharp Are Tiger Claws?


What do tiger roars mean?

Tigers are capable of roaring very loudly; some roars are heard over 2 miles (3000 m). It may indicate hunting, marking territory, pain, or invitation to potential mates.


What are tiger claws used for?

Measuring up to 4 inches (10 cm) lengthwise, the tiger’s claws help them grasp and hold onto prey. Furthermore, the claws are used for marking territory and pulling flesh apart.


Do tigers have louder roars than the lions?

Both tigers and lions have very high roars. However, the latter has a higher pitch, so the roar can be heard over long distances.


Is a tiger stronger than a lion?

Experts believe that most tiger species are stronger than a typical African lion. However, strength also depends on several other factors like food and the environment.


Can tigers see colors?

Formerly, experts think that tigers are colorblind. But recent studies have proved that, most likely, tigers are able to see blue, yellow, green, and various shades of grey.