What do White Tigers Eat

White Bengal tiger
White tiger - A White Bengal Tiger cub - photo copyright Frank Peters

In answer to the question, "what do white tigers eat", the answer is that they eat the same as orange tigers. White tigers are not a separate breed of wild cat. They are the tigers that we are familiar with. Except they carry a recessive gene in homozygous form (2 copies of the gene at the same location), that turns the usual orange fur, pale to an off white cream color and the strips to black, grey and chocolate color.

This would appear to be a form of dilution of the orange color and mackerel strips (the tiger is a mackerel tabby cat essentially). In the domestic cat the dilution gene is a recessive gene symbolized by dd in a cat with the dilute color. In the domestic cat (and the same process may occur in the tiger), the presence of the gene has the effect of enlarging the pigment granules, which are deposited less evenly in the individual hairs. Clumps of pigment of differing sizes are fixed within each hair and parts of the hair will have little pigmentation in it. This has the effect of colors appearing more dilute or faded. In the white tiger this translates to near white and less contrasty strips.
Snow Tiger
White tigers are normally larger than the "usual" tiger. There are also snow tigers (white tigers without strips - see picture >>>) but these seem to be the result of mankind's selective breeding in a zoo environment for the purpose of attracting visitors.

In fact the white tiger although hunted to extinction in the wild many years ago is widely bred in captivity and the population in zoos is growing (perhaps too much due to lack of space). The breeding in zoos of this animal is to attract visitors. Zoos have inbreed white tigers, which can throw up defective recessive genes causing inbreeding depression ("depression" meaning weakened health). I am afraid humankind has not done wonderfully well in respect of the white tiger. Having slaughtered this large cat we inbreed her to ill health for commercial gain.

Back to the question,
what do white tigers eat? This is what all tigers eat:

Deer (barking deer, chital deer, swamp deer, hog deer, Rusa deer, Red deer, Sika deer), antelope, buffalo, farm livestock, sambar, young rhino, elephant calves, water buffalo, guar, wapiti, moose, peafowl, monkeys, civets, fish, frogs, crabs, lizards, pythons and vegetation and fruit such as grass and fruit.

However as white tigers only exist in zoos they will eat whatever they are fed by the zoo keepers! Probably meat that is not fit for human consumption.

Out of interest their favourite is wild boar and deer. A tiger hunts alone. She approaches to within about 20 meters. Chases, pounces and pulls down the prey whereupon he/she will snap the spine of the prey at the nape of the neck with her large teeth (this is exactly same way domestic cats kill their prey) or if the prey is large, kill by suffocating the prey by clamping her teeth on the prey's throat. She starts eating at the rump usually and hides the prey in dense undergrowth. She'll gorge herself.


Picture RHS - Snow tiger Tenerife Zoo - photo copyright
Martynf65

Sources:
  • www.seaworld.org
  • http://library.thinkquest.org

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Comments

  1. These tigers are so beautiful! All of them that I've seen are bigger than the more common tiger though. Are there any regular sized tigers that inherit the white gene?

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  2. thank you soo much you have helped me in one part of my project that i have been trying to find for at least ova an hour =)

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