Among all the tigers, white tigers are very beautiful and fascinating. Their looks make them unique and mythical. In zoos, white tigers have always been the center of attraction for both kids and adult. Due to their unique looks, they often regarded as a separate subspecies of the tigers which is incorrect. There are many myths and wrong facts popular among the people about them. We have gathered a complete set of White Tiger Facts for Kids that will help you in learning the true facts about white tigers. These will also clear all your misconceptions about these animals and help you spread the true facts about them.
White Tiger Facts for Kids
1. What is a White Tiger
- White Tiger is a rare form of Bengal Tiger with a unique (recessive) gene inherited to it from its parents. It is due to the presence of this gene which gives it a white color.
- A white tiger is not a sub-specie of tiger.
- It is also not the albino form (the form in which hair and skin pigmentation is absent.
- White tigers are born only when two bengal tigers that possess a recessive gene (gene that affect the coat color) are bred together.
2. Where does the White Tiger Come From
- Currently there are no white tigers in the wild. The entire white tiger population in the world lives in captivity.
- White tigers were found in the wild in India. The last white tiger captured in the wild was in back in May 1950s.
- It is believed that the today’s entire population of white tiger has been generated from this one single white tiger.
- Since then all the white tigers have been born by inbreeding father to daughter and granddaughter and so on. This was done to retain the recessive gene that controls the fur color.
3. When was the First White Tiger Found
- The first sighting of white tiger ever recorded was in between AD 48-1000. Seven white tigers were found Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan & Guangdong, China.
4. Where was First White Tiger Found in India
- The first sighting of white tiger ever recorded in India is in Akbar Nama ( a chronicle maintained by the Mughal King Akbar). Two white tigers were sighted in 1561 near Gwalior, India.
5. What does a White Tiger Look Like – White Tiger Description
White Tiger Coat
- White tiger is lighter in color than the common Bengal Tiger.
- Its coat is light cream in color and has grey and light brown stripes.
White Tiger Face
- White tiger face is similar in shape to that of other bengal tigers. They are only different in colors. The face fur is white and its nose is rose-pink. The color of its eyes is also different from the other bengal tigers.
White Tiger Eyes
- White tigers have very beautiful sapphire blue eyes which makes their look more exotic.
- However, their eyes can also be green or amber.
6. White Tiger Classification – White Tiger Scientific Name – White Tiger Taxonomy
- White tiger is a bengal tiger having different color, so it classification, taxonomy and scientific name is same as that of Bengal Tiger.
- Its scientific name is Panthera tigris tigris.
- It is also known as White Bengal Tiger.
- Its taxonomic classification is as follow:
7. White Tiger Characteristics
White Tiger Special Features
- The striking feature of white tiger is the color of its fur. This color is due to absence of a color pigment pheomelanin, which is possessed by the orange colored Bengal tigers.
- Another special feature of white tiger is the sapphire blue color of its eyes which gives it a stunning look.
- When compared to the normal orange colored bengal tigers, white tigers grow faster and are more heavier.
- At the age of 2 or 3 years the white tigers are fully grown.
White Tiger Size
- White tigers are bigger in size than the orange bengal tigers at birth and in adulthood.
How much does a White Tiger Weigh – White Tiger Weight
Adult White male tigers weigh around 190 to 260 kilograms (420 to 570 pounds)
Adult female white tigers average weight is about 158 kilograms (350 pounds).
How Tall is a White Tiger – White Tiger Height
The shoulder height of white tiger is about 80 to 110 cms (31 – 43 inches)
How long is a White Tiger – White Tiger Length
The head to tail length of male White Tiger is about 8 to 10.2 feet ( 2.4 to 3.1 metres)
Females head to tail length is about 7.1 to 8.5 feet ( 2.1 and 2.6 metres).
How Fast is a White Tiger
- The top speed of white tiger is 96 km/h (60 miles per hour).
White Tiger Lifespan
- White tigers lifespan is between 10 to 20 years.
Learn more: How Long Do Tigers Live
8. White Tiger Food – White Tiger Diet
- Like other tigers, the white tiger is a carnivore i.e. it eat meat by hunting other animals.
- There are no white tigers in the wild now but a couple of hundred years ago when it was found in the wild, it hunted in the same way as a the orange bengal tigers.
- It stalks its prey in the night by approaching it quietly without being detected.
- It mostly hunted herbivores (plant eating mammals) found in the jungle and its outskirts which includes:
- Wild Boar
- Langur monkeys
- Other Cattle
- If they are unable to find any herbivore and get an opportunity they will kill and eat young wolves, leopards, rhinoceros and young elephants.
- White Tigers love to eat meat from a fresh killed animal.
- It eats about 40 pounds (18 kg) of meat at a time.
9. White Tiger Habitat – Where Do White Tigers Live
- When white tigers were found in the wild they used to live in the same habitat as that of the orange bengal tigers.
- Its habitat and range mainly depended upon what it used to hunt and eat in the wild.
- Its main habitat consisted those parts of the jungle where the food, water and trees were abundant.
- Historically, tigers have lived in a very diverse habitat such as in:
- tropical rain forests
- rocky country
- White tiger required a cover to stay hidden, access to water all year and availability of large prey to hunt.
- White tiger like other tigers is a solitary animal (animals that live alone) and lives in its own territory about 10 to 30 square miles.
10. White Tiger Life Cycle
- Female white tigers mature at the age of three i.e. they are ready to become mothers.
- In order to find a suitable mate, the female white tigers make scent markings in the jungle for male tigers. They also roar to enable the white tigers to locate them easily.
- On average the female white tiger gives birth to two or three cubs.
- When a white tiger cub is born, it will live with its mother for 2 to 3 years.
- During this period with their mother, they learn how to hunt and survive alone.
- After 2 to 3 years, the cub is fully grown.
- White tigers used to live for 12 to 15 years in the wild if it was not killed or caught by humans. However, today in zoos they can live up to 20 years.
Baby White Tiger – White Tiger Cubs
- White tiger cubs are born blind.
- They weigh around 2 to 3 pounds.
- They feed on their mother’s milk for 6 to 8 weeks.
- After 6 to 8 weeks the white tiger cubs accompany their mother to feed on their mother’s hunt (i.e. meat)
- At the age of 18 months, the white tiger cubs will try to hunt by themselves.
- Since white tigers are not found in the wild any more so today the white tiger cubs are fed in the zoos and when adult are usually sold to other zoos.
11. White Tiger Adaptations
- White tigers share the same adaptations of the other tigers which enabled them to survive in the wild.
- They are :
- strong and powerful
- fast enough to outrun its prey
- claws and teeth that are both long and sharp
12. White Tiger Behavior
- White tigers are solitary animals which means that they like to live alone in their own territory.
- They mark their own territory and do not allow any other tiger to enter it.
- The male white tiger might overlapp with several female tigers territory for mating purposes.
- They are also nocturnal which means that they are mostly active at night for hunting.
- They are ambush predators i.e. they sneak towards their prey without being detected and attack them by surprise.
- As they are large in size, they use their weight to knock their prey and then bite its neck to kill it.
- They are efficient swimmers and can kill their prey while swimming.
13. White Tiger Population
- The current population of white tigers is around 200.
- Currently no white tigers are found in the wild.
- All the white tigers alive today live in zoos and sanctuaries.
- During the last 20th century, only 12 white tigers were spotted in the wild.
14. White Tiger Predators
- White tigers had no natural predators.
- Because of its unique look and threat to human settlements, it has been hunted by humans.
15. White Tiger History – White Tiger Origin
- The earliest record available about white tiger is that it was put on display at the Exeter Exchange in 1820 in London.
- About 15 white tigers were killed between 1920s and 1930s in Bihar, India.
- Shooting tigers were common Poona, Cooch Behar, Bilaspur, Upper Assam and Orissa in India.
- In December 1915, Maharajah Gulab Singh of Rewa, India, captured a two years old white tiger cub. It lived in captivity for five years. Later on when it died, it was stuffed and sent to King George V of England as a gift.
The Famous White Tiger Mohan
- Mohan is the most famous and recent white tiger that was spotted in wild.
- Back in May 1951, a Maharajah named Shri Martand Singh was hunting in Bandhavgarh, central India.
- During the hunt reports came that a tigress with a white cub has been spotted.
- A search expedition was organized by the Maharajah. The tigress was found and shot along with two of her cubs. The white cub luckily escaped.
- Back then shooting of tigress along with cubs was allowed and the kills were properly recorded.
- The next day the white tiger cub was traced and captured.
- It was sent to the Maharajah’s palace and kept in an open courtyard from where it escaped after three days.
- He was captured again and the courtyard was secured to prevent escape.
- This white tiger was name Mohan and later on it was bred with tigresses to produce more white tigers.
- Mohan is considered to be the source of all the 200 white tigers that live in captivity today.
- Mohan is considered to be the last white tiger ever captured.
- He died at the age of 19 years and seven months.
- The last wild white found in the wild was back in 1958 when it was shot in Bihar, India.
17. White Tiger with Down Syndrome – Deformed White Tiger
- The white tigers alive today in captivity came from the following two white tigers pairs:
- Mohan and Begum
- Pradeep and Sikha
- Mohan was bred with other tigers till a white cub was born. Then Mohan was inbred with its own daughter to get more white tigers.
- Later on borther and sister white tigers were also inbred to increase the population of white tigers.
- Today still such breeding methods are used in some zoos as white tigers attract more visitors which means more earnings for the zoo.
- This continuously inbreeding created some genetic problems such as:
- down syndrome
- cleft palates
- scoliosis of the spine
- mental impairments
- crossed eyes
- Beside these genetic problems, most of the cubs born after inbreeding were deformed and disposed off by the zoos.
- The white tiger cubs which are not deformed usually die very young.
- Some people support inbreeding, regarding it as the only option for the conservation of white tigers.
- On the other hand, some people opposed this practice by calling it animal abuse for the sake of making money.
Kenny the White Tiger with Down Syndrome
- Kenny was a white tiger with down syndrome that was rescued back in 2000 from a breeder.
- Due to a deformed face the breeder was unable to sell Kenny and he called Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge to get rid of it.
- The parents of Kenny were siblings and her brother who was orange in color had crossed eyes.
- Kenny died young in 2008 at the age of 10 years.
18. White Tigers of Today
- A recent research on ancestry charts show that the genetic pool of the white tigers of today is more diverse from the inbreeding that was done 50 years ago.
- There has been 5 to 6 generations of outcrossing in them.
- So the white tigers of today are neither inbred nor descended from a single white tiger.
- A recent analysis of the breeding records of about 1700 Bengal tigers kept in Indian zoos suggests that the mortality and longevity rate of both the white tigers and orange tigers is same.
19. White Tiger Endangered – Is the White Bengal Tiger Endangered
- White tiger breeders and people who buy them, claim that white tiger is an endangered species. They advocate their conservation and support the inbreeding process.
- However, reality is that white tiger is not a specie that is endangered. It is in fact a deformity in the genes of bengal tigers that occur naturally in one bengal tiger for every 10,000 bengal tigers.
- The white tigers alive today are not the ones that occur naturally but the ones that have been continuously inbred by breeders to earn profits.
20. White Tiger Interesting Facts – White Tiger Fun Facts for Kids
- White tigers are not albino.
- Bengal tigers are the only subspecies of tigers that come in different colors such as orange, white, cinnamon, and snow white.
- White tigers do not live in a snowy climate.
- White tigers do not blend well in their habitat while the orange tigers blend well enough that they are hard to spot.