1. Tigers have exceptional hearing, which they use to locate prey in dense cover. Their hearing is probably similar to the hearing of domestic cats. Domestic cats can hear sounds in the range of about .2 kHz to 65 kHz. The average hearing range for humans is about .02 kHz to 20 kHz. (3)
1. Tigers also have good vision, both during the day and at night.
a. During the day, a tiger's sight is about the same as a human's, though its visual
acuity (ability to see detail) is not as good.
b. At night, when a tiger usually hunts, its sight is six times better than a human's.
c. A tiger sees better at night compared to a human because its eye
has a larger anterior chamber and lens, and a wider pupil. (3)
d. Like other cats, the tiger's retinae have mostly rod receptor cells which are
sensitive to low light levels and movement.
e. Tigers and cats in general have a cluster of cone receptor cells in each retina
indicating they have some color vision. However, scientists believe a cat's cone cells are
used primarily to enhance day vision, not for color vision. (2, 3)
f. Tigers also have a layered structure at the back of the eye behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum. This mirrorlike structure reflects light (that hasn't already been absorbed by the eye) back into the eye a second time to help produce a brighter image. The tapetum lucidum is what causes the eyes of cats to shine when a light is shown directly at them. (2, 3)
1. Tigers have a well-developed sense of smell, however, it's rarely used for hunting.
Smell is most commonly used to communicate with other tigers. (3)
2. When smelling another tiger's scent mark, a tiger will wrinkle its nose and hang out
its tongue in a grimace called flehmen. Flehmen is used to
draw a scent to the Jacobson's organ (a sensitive organ in
the roof of the mouth), which receives the chemical information. (2)
3. Through scent marking, tigers can communicate their home range boundaries, and female tigers can advertise their readiness to mate. A tiger can tell whether a scent belongs to a local resident or a stranger, a male or a female. (2)
1. Tigers also have a well-developed sense of touch. They have tactile sensory hairs
called whiskers on their cheeks, above the eyes, and on the muzzle. The whiskers,
especially those on the muzzle, are used to feel for objects in the environment. (3)
2. Mother tigers and cubs, and courting pairs often rub against and lick each other.
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