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Sumatran tiger

OLogy Series
animal
card
094

Sumatran tiger

OLogy Series
animal

The Sumatran tiger is found in only one place on the Earth -- on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Fewer than 500 of them are left. They may soon become extinct because people are killing them to sell their skin, teeth, and claws. Also, their habitat is being destroyed as people create farmland.

The Sumatran tiger is only one of two cats that likes to:

howl at the moon

swim in pools or streams

play hide-and-seek with other tigers

Are you right?

Correct!

Sumatran tigers often cool off in a pool or stream. The webbing between their toes helps them swim fast. The jaguar is another water-loving cat.

Tigers mark their territory by:

peeing on trees and plants

building fences around their homes

posting "Keep Out" signs on trees

Are you right?

Correct!

Tigers pee on trees and plants to mark their territory. When you walk a dog, you may notice that it stops lots of times to pee. That's normal! It's a dog or a tiger's way of saying, "Keep out! You're on my turf now!"

Joel Cracraft

The majesty of tigers has always excited me, so I was thrilled when I had an opportunity to study them, and help in their conservation.

The Sumatran tiger is the largest kind of tiger.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all tigers. Its compact size helps it move quickly through the jungle. The Siberian tiger is the largest.

During the 20th century, three kinds of tigers became extinct.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Three kinds of tigers are gone forever. The Bali tiger died out in the 1940s, the Caspian tiger in the '60s or '70s, and the Javan tiger in the late '70s.

Sumatran tiger
Scientific name: Pantera tigris sumatrae
Size: eight feet long, 265 pounds
Habitat: found only in the tropical forests of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia
Diet: eats fish, crocodiles, birds, and mammals
Characteristics: the world's smallest tiger; its black stripes help camouflage it in forests
Significance: there are only about 500 Sumatran tigers left in Sumatra today

Image credits: courtesy of Jessie Cohen, Smithsonian National Zoo; Joel Cracraft: Courtesy of Joel Cracraft.