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 at land and water. Bengal Tigers are apex predators and usually hunt large animals to fulfill its hunger. We have gathered complete information on “What do Bengal Tigers Eat” and list down all the animals that are part of 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 is 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:
Some times small animals become optimal choice for Bengal tigers. They encounter situations where even medium sized animal become rare. Their hunt become harsh due to search and encounters time. In such circumstances they go for small sized animals like:
- Rhesus Monkey
These small preys consists a small portion of the Bengal tigers diet as they can hardly meets 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 diet 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.
- Zoo keepers give them all the essential vitamins and mineral supplies. Taurine is also important in diet of these tiger’s if they don’t get enough it may leads to blindness, tooth decay and heart failure.
Do Bengal Tigers Eat Humans
Bengal tigers avoid eating humans as we humans are not part of its 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 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 the average. However, it can survive for a year if it could take prey of deer sized animal 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 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 then tigress.
Favorite Prey of Bengal Tigers:
- Though tigers prey selection is different in different habitats, depending mainly upon the availability of prey.
- Studies show that the top most favorite prey of Bengal Tigers is Gaur and 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 stalked.
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 drag the body to some bushes, shelter, or water where they can consume the rest of the prey.