White Bengal Tigers

White Bengal Tigers

The captivating white tigers do not belong to a special species. Some people erroneously believe that white tigers are the same as Siberian tigers, and that the white coat has developed in the snowy Siberian landscape, but this is not the case. The white coat is instead caused by a mutation that changes the normal orange coating into white. White tigers are also referred to as Ice tigers and Chinchilla tigers. Since white tigers to not form a separate species, they are not considered endangered in the wild even though they are extremely rare.

White tigers are white Bengal tigers or have a mixed descent where at least one ancestor is Bengal. The coating of a white Bengal tiger is white-to-crème coloured and decorated with grey, black or chocolate coloured stripes. The nose is pink and the eyes tend to be blue, but they can also be amber coloured or green.

The gene that is responsible for the white fur of the white Bengal is recessive. Since every cub receives two copies of every gene, the cub must inherit two “white genes” to become white. Both the father and the mother must therefore carry the gene in order to produce white Bengal tiger cubs. If both parents carry the white Bengal tiger gene, there is a 25 percent chance for each cub to be born as a white Bengal tiger.   

A vast majority of the known white tigers have been captive breed since the mutation is very rare in the wild and selective breeding is necessary to promote high numbers of white Bengal tigers. Today, several hundred captive bred white Bengal tigers can trace their origin back to a common ancestor – Mohan. Mohan was a white Bengal tiger from Rewa in India. Mohan was captured in 1951 by Maharajah Shri Martand Singh and his hunting party. Mohan was one of four 9 month old cubs, but since his siblings had a normal orange Bengal tiger colouration they were shot.

The white Bengal tiger is not an albino variant of the normal Bengal tiger, because a true albino tiger would display no stripes. There are no known instances of true albino Bengal tigers. Reports of albino tigers have always turned out to be white Bengal tigers with really pale stripes. 

The white Bengal tiger is a popular attraction in zoos and it is also included in various shows featuring exotic animals. Siegfried and Roy are two magicians that have become famous for their white Bengal tiger shows. In 2003, Roy was bitten over the neck by a white Bengal tiger named Montecore. This serves to show that even a white Bengal tiger that has been born and raised in captivity must be handled with precaution since it will always remain a wild and extremely strong animal. Roy was severely injured and rushed to hospital as soon as the crew members had freed him from the white Bengal tiger. According to unconfirmed sources, Roy said "Don't kill the cat" while he was still conscious. The medical staff removed a part of Roys’ skull since his brain was really swollen. As of 2006, Roy is on his way to recovery. He is talking and can walk with a little assistance.    

More info on big and small wild cats:

Bengal Tigers
Royal Bengal Tigers
Bengal Tigers Facts
Jaguar Animal - Jaguar Cats
Black Jaguar (Animal)
Jaguar Animal Facts
Ocelot - Ocelot cat
Ocelot facts & Information
Siberian Tiger
White Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger Habitat
Siberian Tiger Fact
Siberian Tiger Information
Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard Habitat
Snow Leopard Fact
Endangered Snow Leopard
White Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
White Siberian Tigers
Baby White Tigers


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