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What Do Tigers Eat?

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Tigers are the most beautiful cat species in the world.  They are easily identified by their stripes and they are dangerous predators.  There are three different color variations of tiger; white, golden and stripeless snow tiger, but they are all part of one single species.

These beautiful animals are highly endangered since their population has declined by 93% due to extensive hunting and a reduction in natural habitat.  These animals need all the care they can get and people need to do much more to preserve their natural food sources to those who are left in the wild can flourish.

What Do Tigers Eat?

Tigers are carnivore predators.  They mainly consume meat that they can hunt but they will occasionally consume carrion meat from dead animals.  Here is a quick look at the most important foods of these majestic animals.


Tigers love to swim or soak in the water to cool off.  They also need lots of freshwater for drinking so they can stay hydrated.  They cannot get enough water from just wood and will become dehydrated if they are not offered fresh water every day.  Typically, a tiger can only survive for 3 days without water.

Small animals

Tigers will hunt and eat a huge variety of small animals.  They will eat goats, pigs, deer, rabbits, hares, wild boars, monkeys, elk, cattle, and any other small animals they happen to find.  Typically they do prefer larger animals or the young of larger animals but these are still good food sources in times of need.

Large animals

Tigers love to catch and eat large animals.  They can eat just about any large animal that they can successfully catch and kill.  Tigers are known to eat cattle, horses, bears, baby elephants, buffalo, young rhinoceros, pandas, and many other large animals because they do have the sheer force to bring these big animals down.


Tigers love to swim and they will catch fish.  They will eat any fish they can get their claws or fangs into.  Since tigers are usually found inland, they usually focus on freshwater fish species.  They can even dive underneath the water to seek out and catch fish but they usually focus on shallow waters when hunting for fish.


These huge animals are not shy to catch and eat rodents.  They will eat all rodent types from small to large.  Tigers are known to eat mice, chinchillas, gobblers, agoutis, hamsters, guinea pigs.


Their sharp claws and agile bodies allow these big furry cats to climb to great heights where they can reach all sorts of birdsbirds are not a primary food source to tigers but they will hunt and eat all sorts of large bird species they can find in their natural environment.  In some zoos and enclosures, tigers are also fed on chickens when other food sources are scarce.


Not too many predators will catch and eat reptiles but the tiger isn’t too shy to resolve to these food sources.  They have been known to catch all sorts of reptiles such as lizards, certain snake species, and even crocodiles.

Reptiles are however an unusual food source for tigers and are usually only consumed in times of need.

Diet Variations

Tigers will eat almost any type of animal they can find.  Some animal types, like reptiles, are however not a favorite food source and can thus be considered as a diet variation.  Tigers may also catch and eat humans which are also different from their normal diet.

If there is no food to be found, tigers will also eat grass, berries, and fruits to survive.

How to Feed Tigers

Tigers are very dangerous animals.  Great care needs to be taken when these animals are being fed.  In enclosures, keepers will do what they can to recreate a natural feeding method for these animals.  They are mostly fed on carrion meat but on rare occasions, tigers are offered live meals to help keep their instincts sharp and to keep them from becoming too bored.

To feed these animals, their food is usually included in their enclosures or released into their area so the tiger can hunt down the animal and make the kill.

What Do Tigers Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, tigers can only eat what they find in their natural environment.  They prefer larger animals such as baby elephants or tigers, elk, deer, bears, and other foods but they will resolve to smaller food sources like fish, rabbit, and rodents.

In tough times, tigers will even hunt and eat dangerous reptiles like crocodiles and snakes.

What do Baby Tigers Eat?

It is important to never simply feed a baby tiger on any milk or food.  As cubs, they are incredibly sensitive and can become very ill if they are offered the wrong foods.

Wild cubs need to nurse on their mothers to survive and they are usually weaned around 24 weeks of age. They will however stay with their mother for long after this so they can eat from their mothers kill.

The survival rate of baby tigers is still very low due to their extremely sensitive digestive system.  Orphaned cubs are kept on very specific formulated milk until they are 24 weeks old.  From 8 weeks old, they can be introduced to small pieces of meat.  The cubs can eat all sorts of animal meats such as buffalo, wild pig, deer, and other animals.

Tiger cubs will start to hunt on their own when they are one and a half years old.

How Much Do Tigers Eat?

In captivity, tigers consume about 1 – 25 pounds of meat per day.  This is around 4 – 7 percent of their body weight.  But in the wild, these animals don’t always have access to food every single day.  They will gorge up to one hundred pounds of meat in one sitting after making a kill and can then fast for many days while these foods process.

Do Tigers Eat Humans?

Tigers usually avoid harming humans.  They only attack if they feel threatened or if other food sources are scarce.  Typically, they are not very fond of human meat but they will kill and eat humans if they are out of natural food options.

Do Tigers Eat Grass?

If tigers are out of food they will resolve to eat plant mater just to survive.  They can eat berries, grass, and fruits but these foods are not very healthy for them and don’t offer much nutritional value since their bodies require lots of protein and fat to stay healthy.

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