Fun facts: Why do Tigers have whiskers?

The Tiger

Fun facts: Why do Tigers have whiskers?

We all know how beautiful, strong and fast Tigers are. They are a force to be reckoned with. They live in Asia and Eastern Russia, their scientific name is Panthera Tigris and these animals are a part of the feline family, which basically means they are just really big cats! We also know that Tigers share similar characteristics with the common house cat but they are much bigger and therefore much more dangerous. They prefer to live and hunt alone.

But do you know why Tigers have whiskers? If you don’t worry, let’s find out together!

Just like how the hairs on our arm can feel a soft breeze blowing or a spider crawling, whiskers on a Tiger’s face and chin give it messages about what is going on around them.

Tigers use their whiskers for navigation (getting around) - As the Tiger walks whiskers are bought forward to increase their sensing ability. The extreme sensitivity of the whiskers can register very small changes in air pressure that occur as the Tiger nears an object. Along with excellent night vision, this enables the cat to avoid objects.

Whiskers give messages that could be important information for a Tiger – it may be a clue when an animal it would like to eat is rushing past it. In other words, it could help them hunt in the dark.

Tigers use their whiskers to catch prey - When stalking prey a Tiger must approach from downwind so as not to be detectable. Whiskers can detect even slight changes in the direction of a breeze so the Tiger can increase its chances of success.

Whiskers also come forward when prey is caught in the jaws. At this stage the whiskers will make contact with the target and give the cat information regarding dinner. Though little is known about what information is passed on, studies have shown domestic cats are quite capable of seizing and killing prey, even whilst blindfolded, as long as their whiskers make contact with the prey. 

Whiskers and Evolution - Over time, Tigers that had whiskers were more likely to live long enough to have babies (who also had whiskers). So the number of whiskery Tigers grew and grew while the Tigers with shorter or no whiskers may not have lived long enough to have babies, as a result their numbers fell.

Evolution – where certain features that help animals live longer get passed on to the next generation it is called evolution.

Looking for Hertfordshire events and things to do in Hertfordshire with kids? Check out the fun and entertaining hit show 'Tiger Who Came To Tea' at Hertford Theatre - showing from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September. Book your tickets now and take the stress out of thinking about what’s on in Herford!


★★★★

'This Tiger is the cat's meow'

The Times

★★★★

'Perfectly pitched adaptation'

Daily Telegraph

★★★★

'A delight from start to finish'

Time Out