Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Territorial Behavior

Tigers are solitary animals and highly territorial.  They primarily live in home ranges that often overlap with a number of female home ranges, but exclude other males.  Female tigers usually remain within the same home range for their lifetime, but male tigers may establish new home ranges over the years.  Sometimes, tigers establish their own territories, which don't overlap with any others.  This decision primarily depends on the amount of prey in the area, which also influences the size of tigers' home ranges or territories.  Areas with a dense population of prey show smaller home ranges, but male tigers consistently have larger territories than females. 

Female tigers tend to establish themselves near the territory they grew up in, while male tigers set out on their own.  They either find an area not already occupied by other tigers, or challenge another tiger for the territory he has already established.  
In situations where tigers have home ranges rather than clear territories, they use intimidation rather than aggression when confronted with another male within their range.  Often, the intruding tiger with display a subordinate posture and the dominant tiger will allow him to stay in the range, as long as he keeps his distance.

Tigers mark their territory with scent and visual cues.  The most basic means of scent marking is urinating on trees or rocks surrounding the boundary of the territory.  Tigers produce a unique type of urine with a longer lasting scent for this purpose.  They also visually establish their territory by scraping out marks along the boundary.  


  1. Its so interesting that males are in a way nomadic while females live in home ranges. is the evolutionary significance of this the same as how Dawkins explains the relationship between males and females in lion prides?! or am i stretching that too far...