Wednesday 9 November 2011

Can tigers purr?

No, so says the best source of information¹ on the wildcats. What I mean is that this book¹ does not mention purring as a vocalization made by the tiger. Is this incorrect? These are the sounds the tiger makes:
  • main call
  • prusten (short range vocalization)
  • grunts (short range vocalization)
  • growl
  • snarl
  • moan (subdued roar) - close range vocalization
  • meow (this is a domestic cat vocalization, tiger style!)
  • spit
  • hiss (the spit and hiss are also made by the domestic cat)
  • roar (although one expert says that technically tigers don't roar)  - long range call.
As you can see the purr is not included, so by default the tiger can't purr. Perhaps the experts are wrong. There is still a lot about the wildcats that we don't know.

If you can can get close enough to a tiger to touch his throat, you might feel a purr if he is content! In this video, a tiger called "Freedom" (he is caged) moans and purrs when petted. You have to listen carefully.

Associated page: Cat Sounds.

Note: 1. Wild Cats of the World, page 356. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7

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