Saturday 12 November 2011

Roaring Sound of Tigers

Technically tigers don't roar despite the roaring sound of tigers being so well known. The tiger roar differs with respect to certain "critical features"¹ to the roar of the jaguar, leopard and lion. The tiger is therefore not one of the roaring cats. However, the tiger does roar and these four wildcat species are the only ones that do.

Air is expelled through the open mouth while the mouth is progressively closed. People can hear the roaring sound of tigers 3 kilometers away. It is therefore a long range sound telling other tigers of the caller's presence, but also used in other contexts.

A tiger might roar:
  • after killing large prey
  • before mating
  • during mating
  • when a female is calling her cubs
The lion, leopard and jaguar employ a roaring sequence. The tiger rarely employs a "regular species-specific structure"¹. Videos of tigers roaring are often not misleading as the tiger is not technically roaring. The video below would seem to be a genuine roar.

Note: (1) Wild Cats of the World ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7

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