Bengal Tiger is a carnivore which means that it eats meat only. To get meat, it hunts other animals. Different factors determine the choice of Bengal tiger’s prey like availability of prey animal, anti-predator strategies of prey species, and the size of the prey. The prey selection of these tigers ranges from animals on land and water. Bengal Tigers are apex predators and usually hunt large animals to fulfill their hunger. We have gathered complete information on “What do Bengal Tigers Eat” and listed down all the animals that are part of the Bengal Tiger Diet. Furthermore, we have written down the dietary requirement of a Bengal Tiger and how the animals they hunt fulfill them.
What do Bengal Tigers Eat
- The simple answer to this question is “Meat”.
- To get meat, the Bengal Tiger hunts other animals which are mostly herbivores that are plant-eating animals.
1. Large Sized Animals:
Bengal tigers mostly like to hunt large ungulates (plants eating large mammals) which include:
- Sambar Deer
- Water buffalo
They avoid too large animals like adult elephants and rhinoceros because they are too large to be attacked and dragged.
2. Medium Sized Animals:
When the large ungulates become scarce the Bengal tigers opt for medium-sized animals which include:
- Hog deer
- Wild boar
- Grey langurs
Bengal tigers rarely take other predators as prey such as wolves, foxes, leopards, crocodiles, dholes, and beer. They are not typically a part of the Bengal tiger’s diet.
3. Small Sized Animals:
Sometimes small animals become the optimal choices for Bengal tigers. They encounter situations where even medium-sized animals become rare. Their hunt becomes harsh due to search and encounters time. In such circumstances, they go for small-sized animals like:
- Rhesus Monkey
These small prey consists of a small portion of the Bengal tiger’s diet as they can hardly meet its meat requirements.
What do Bengal Tigers Eat in Captivity
- A Bengal Tiger requires a diet that is highly rich in proteins and fats. In captivity, they usually eat less because of their sluggish lifestyle which leads to fewer calorie burns.
- In some zoos, they feed Bengal tigers with camel and donkey meat.
- But mostly these tigers’ diets consist of beef, chickens, pigs, water buffalo, goats, rabbits, and sometimes fish meat. They fed them with bones too, because if the calcium level gets low they might get bone diseases.
- Zookeepers give them all the essential vitamins and mineral supplies. Taurine is also important in the diet of these tiger’s if they don’t get enough it may lead to blindness, tooth decay, and heart failure.
Do Bengal Tigers Eat Humans
Bengal tigers avoid eating humans as we humans are not part of their diet. Sometimes they become man-eaters when human settlements advance to their habitat. When prey is scarce they also take domestic livestock like buffalo, cows, and goats, this causes a confrontation with humans. During these confrontations either a Bengal Tiger gets killed or a human.
How much Bengal Tigers Eat
- In one meal the Bengal Tiger can eat 18 kg of meat and almost 112 kg in three nights.
- Bengal Tigers hunt large ungulates whose mean weight ranges between 50-100kg.
- A tiger hunts 3000 kg of prey in a year through 40-50 kills on average. However, it can survive for a year if it could take prey of deer-sized animals every week.
- Bengal Tigers consume most of their time in finding food. They can eat their food for more than one hour.
- Tigers usually consume all of their prey and leave nothing uneaten except the intestines.
- Male and female Bengal tigers take almost the same kind of diet ranging from large ungulates to small-sized peafowl. However, the amount of meat they take may differ.
- A female Bengal tiger needs to take 5-6 kg of meat a day to survive. This approximately makes 2500 kg of meat a year. This encompasses the diet of a tigress only. When the tigress feeds two young then it needs 50% more meat.
- An adult male Bengal tiger needs 1000kg more meat a year than a tigress.
Favorite Prey of Bengal Tigers:
- Though tiger’s prey selection is different in different habitats, depending mainly upon the availability of prey.
- Studies show that the topmost favorite prey of Bengal Tigers is Gaur and the second one is Sambar Deer.
- The reason behind the preference for Gaur is its weak anti-predator behavior which makes this species easier to be attacked and stalk.
Hunting Technique of Bengal tigers:
- Bengal tigers usually prefer to hunt at night. When they find their prey they crawl and creep close towards it to attack.
- With their incredible strength, they attack the victim from the side or behind and grasp the throat of the prey to cut down the main blood vessel and kill the animal.
- The tiger then drags the body to some bushes, shelter, or water where they can consume the rest of the prey.