White Tigers

White Tiger

White tigers are born from Bengal Tigers that have a recessive gene which results in the coat of their offspring being completely white. While most white tigers have a coat that is white with black stripes on it, the rarer white tigers are completely white in color. Most white tigers have pink noses and off-white to white coat with grey, black or chocolate-colored stripes on them. Their eyes are mostly blue in color, though occasionally they have amber or green eyes. Although the white tigers are very popular because of their exotic looks, there are very few of them left. In India alone, less than 20 of these tigers have been spotted in the last 100 years or more.

Most white tigers are found in local reserves and zoos where they attract a huge crowd. While the true white tiger that is found in the wild is not a sub species, the white tigers that are grown in captivity are usually the result of a cross between 2 species. Although a large variety of Bengal Tigers have the typical flame colored coat, they have a gene for white coloration. Rarely, and due to cross-breeding, white tigers have also occurred in the Amur or Siberian species too. Some Amur tigers have been interbred with Bengal tigers. So in addition to the white Bengal tigers and the white generic tigers there are also purebred white Amurs in existence.

White tigers are also referred to as chinchilla tigers or ice tigers, the name indicative of their white coat and not of their habitat. White tigers are not albinos. A pure white tiger, in one of its rare sightings in the wild, has been described as having a wholly white fur with the stripe pattern visible under reflected light. Stripeless white tigers are very rare indeed.

White tigers are believed to have certain characteristics that are different from their more common counterparts. These tigers grow faster and are therefore heavier than their cousins. White tigers are also believed to have better eyesight and are faster runners too. Undoubtedly, the white tiger is much more beautiful and attractive. But beauty also brings a curse, what with so many people willing to poach and mutilate. To cater to their growing demand, white tigers usually suffer from breeding depression due to inbreeding. Previously, deliberate attempts to produce white cubs by mating closely related tigers have resulted in a dramatic toll in the offspring. Breeding father with daughter and brother with sister has indeed led to a spurt in their numbers. Typical signs of breeding depression include curved spine, crossed eyes, twisted necks and short legs. As inbreeding exacerbates, the number of stillbirths and abortions also rise, and the few cubs that survive often die due to mysterious illnesses. Because of all these factors working against them, white tigers that grow in captivity generally have a shorter lifespan than their cousins.

The pressure from industries that are willing to buy white tigers at exorbitant rates has led to a worsening situation. In some parts of the world, the competition is so fierce that orange cubs are usually killed at birth. White tigers are revered in some traditions with the Chinese preying to them as the God of the West. In S. Korea the white tiger represents Yin and Yang symbols and in Hundu mythology, white tigers are considered to be an incarnation of God. In India, it is even believed that killing a white tiger can cause death in a year’s time. Sadly however all these myths have not helped preserve the numbers of the white tiger.

More info on big and small wild cats:

Bengal Tigers
White 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 Bengal Tigers
White Siberian Tigers
Baby White Tigers


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