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White Bengal Tigers

Few are aware of the fact that all the white tiger population of the world can trace back their lineage to 'Mohan', a white bengal tiger caught by Maharaja Shri Martand Singh of Rewa in 1951. White Bengal Tiger also called Great Cats were the most numerous of all the tiger subspecies. However, their population dwindled because of poaching and sport carried out by Indian and British royalties. Today, only about 12 white tigers have been spotted in the wild.

Physical Characteristics: A full grown white tiger is about 3 metres long taking about 2-3 years to reach maturity. Male reach an average weight of 200-230 kgs, females 130-170 kgs and they grow to an average length of 3 meters. They live for about 10 to 15 years. They have blue eyes, cute pink nose with creamy white furs lined with chocolate-coloured stripes. Their colour is caused by a recessive gene. Just like fingerprints, none of the white tigers have the same stripes. The stripes are for camouflage to aid them during hunting for hiding in the grass and trees. They can shed or grow their fur depending on how cold or hot the weather gets. They are found mostly in South East Asia, Siberia, part of China and central and south India in grassy or swampy areas.

General Information: White Tigers are one of the only two species of cats that like water. They can swim and move swiftly in the water. Their average speed is 60 kms per hour but they do not possess great stamina. They sleep an average of 16 to 18 hours a day. They are very patient and watch their prey intensely and strike only when they feel the time is right. They also have a strong sense of smell and good vision for hunting at night. It has strong jaws for catching its prey and equally strong teeth for killing it. Their hunting habit varies greatly from the lion. They begin hunting from dusk and rest during the day under the shade.

The White Bengal Tiger are loners. Their only time of socialisation is the courtship period, and the association between mother and cub. The tigresses make devoted mothers and take care of their cub till they reach about two and a half years old.

Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Bandipur National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaziranga National Park and Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary are places where one can spot white tigers in their natural habitats.

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