The Sumatran


Name: Sumatran Tiger
Scientific name: Panthera tigris sumatrae
Range: Fragmented portions of Sumatra, South East Asia
Habitat: Heavily wooded forest
Status: Endangered
Diet in the wild: wild pigs, deer, crocodiles, birds, fish
Diet in the zoo: carnivore diet
Location in the zoo:  Asian Falls
Physical description:

Height 30" at shoulder, weight 200-450 lbs. Body length of 84-106". The fur on the upper parts of its body ranges from orange to reddish- brown, making it darker in color than other tigers.

General information: 

Tigers are the largest of the cat species. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest tiger subspecies. They inhabit only the small island of Sumatra, where there small size makes it easy for them to move in the dense tropical jungle. Unlike lions, tigers are not great socializers. Except for courtship and mating, tigers prefer to live alone. Males stake out separate territories from each other, but these will overlap with several female territories. The teeth are the largest canines among all meat eaters. The skull shape strengthens jaw leverage. The legs are heavily muscled with longer hind legs for jumping. Although not the most endangered of the tigers, the Sumatran's numbers have benn greatly reduced in recent years. There are only 650 of these tigers that remain in the wild today.

Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations:

The ability of big cats to roar is related to the arrangement of bones under the tongue. A Tiger's stripes make it a master of camouflage. To hunt a tiger relies on sight and hearing rather than smell. Unique to this subspecies, are the distinctively long whiskers, which serve as sensors in the dark and dense undergrowth.

Comments about the Sumatran tigers of the Fort Worth Zoo. 

The smallest sub-species of the world's largest cat. Their gestation period is around 100 days. Tiger's mate at anytime throughout the year and once they have the female has anywhere from three to four cubs. Their lifespan is about 15 years. Cubs open their after one to two weeks after birth, and are taught to hunt successfully by eleven months into their lives. The stripes of a tiger make it seem to disappear in tall grass. To the color-blind deer and antelope on which the Sumatran preys in the wild, the tiger appears to be just many patches of sunlight mixed with deep shadows. A tiger cannot run as fast as a deer over a long distance, so it is important for a tiger to be able to hide and then make a sudden leap at its prey. 

Personal Observations: 

Even though I didn't get to see the Sumatran tiger at the Fort Worth Zoo, I am still very interested in these animals and I hope that this subspecies of the tiger doesn't become extinct. One day I would like to go and see the tiger in the wild, to see how it fends for itself and basically how it gets on with day to day life. 

Current research: 

If more research summaries are needed on the Sumatran tiger or any other tigers then you are able to access a lot of information on the internet. I found a lot of information on the internet through Infoseek which is in the netscape navigator. I also found some information from various other zoo's across the country. I found information from the San Francisco zoo on the Sumatran tiger. Other relative information is available from encyclopedias. Also if you would like know more about tigers at the Fort Worth Zoo, check out the Bengal Tiger or the Indochinese tiger

Page author: Richard Ramskill. 
E-mail address:

Sources of information:
Fort Worth Zoo information placards.
The Encyclopedia,and the Internet.


Sumatran Tigers
Sumatran Tiger at the National Zoo
Sumatran Tigers Profile at Five Tigers
Sumatran Tiger at the Honolulu Zoo

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