Tigers are the largest cat species in the world and the third-largest carnivore on land, only polar and brown bears are larger.
Tigers are strong swimmers and have been known to swim long distances to hunt or cross rivers, unlike the majority of large cats.
Except when females are caring for cubs, they spend the majority of their time alone. Although rarely seen, the term for a group of tigers is a “streak.”
In general, tigers hunt at night. Their ability to see in the dark is up to six times better than ours.
Tigers are ambush hunters preferring to sneak up on their prey before exploding into action, killing them with a bite to the neck or back of the head.
They mainly hunt deer, wild boar, buffalo and antelope. These remarkable abilities are enabled by the tiger’s incredibly dense muscular structure.
Differences in Physical characteristics
In terms of size, it is clear that the tiger is the largest of the 4 candidates, followed by the lion, jaguar and leopard.
The Siberian tiger
The Siberian tiger can weigh between 440 – 660 lbs (200-300 kg) and can reach a length of 10.5 feet (3.2 m).
The African lion
The African lion can weigh between 330-550 lbs (150 – 250 kg) and can reach a length of 10 feet (3 m).
The third-largest feline, the jaguar, can weigh 150 to 300 lbs (38 – 136 kg), and is 5.3 to 7.9 feet long (1.6 – 2.4 m).
The leopard is the smallest of the 4 large cats, weighing between 80 – 200 lbs (36 – 90 kg) and can reach 8 feet in length (2.4 m). All 4 cats have the same structure.
The tiger has the most dense muscle structure, so they are most likely to win against a lion or a jaguar.
The jaguar is considered, pound for pound, the strongest big cat, but in terms of physical and real size, it is not.
Tigers are the biggest and strongest of all the wild cats.
Because of their massive size and greater weight than any other cat they develop incredible strength and muscle and have a high muscle density, even higher than lions.
Lions are the close second to the tiger but because they are front muscled, not muscle balanced, and because they aren’t as active or as well muscled, they are only second to the tiger.
The jaguar is the 3rd largest cat and the 3rd strongest. Jaguars are so strong they can swim across rivers with a 200 lbs caiman in their mouth.
And the leopards, unfortunately, are at the bottom of this list.
However, their hunting style as well as their lifestyle is different, so some will be better at some things and others at others.
It is also unfair to compare a lion to a leopard or a tiger to a jaguar.
A lion can lift over 1,000 pounds (453 kg).
While there are no scientific studies, anecdotal evidence and observations in the wild show that lions can lift and pull large prey such as buffalos.
Tigers can lift twice their own 1,000-lbs body weight (453 kg), and they don’t just carry it on their back…they’re able to pull this much weight up an entire tree to feast on their prey.
In addition to powerful jaws, jaguars have strong muscles that allow them to lift 700 pounds (317 kg).
Even the leopard is the smallest of the ‘big cats’, they have the ability to hoist a carcass of up to 110 kg (50 kg) into a tree.
Despite its small size compared to its cousins, I think the jaguar is a champion here.
Habitat and fighting style
However, due to their habitat and fighting style, tigers have much stronger hind legs than other large cats.
Even if they are similar to all felines, a tiger’s leaping abilities are impressive.
These big cats can leap forward about 25 feet (7.6 m) in a single jump without a running start.
Tigers are slower than other big cats in terms of speed. Most tigers can run at high speeds of 35 – 40 mph (56 – 64 km/h).
Siberian tigers are capable of short distances of running at speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h).
Comparatively, a lion also can reach 50 mph (80 km/h).
Jaguars can also reach speeds of 50 miles per hour while leopards are slower, reaching around 36 mph (58 km/h).
But why have tigers evolved in this way, and why do they have such powerful legs?
why do tigers have powerful legs
As you can imagine, a tiger’s limbs have adapted to the environment where the animal lives.
Tigers are kings of the jungle, and as apex predators, they hunt a variety of animals.
While they generally prefer large prey, tigers will sometimes hunt birds.
Their strong hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs, enabling them to jump higher up or over larger distances.
At the same time, the robust front legs help them bring down prey.
how strong is a tiger paw?
Tiger paws can measure up to 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 cm). It is estimated that the force of a tiger’s paw swipe is around 10,000 lbs of force.
Equipped with sharp claws at the tip of the paws, a tiger swipe is one of the main weapons.
how strong is a lion paw?
In comparison Lion paw swipe force is under 10,000 lbs, but due to the fact that they do not fight standing on their hind legs and hitting their paws, the tiger will have an advantage here.
how strong is jaguars and leopards paw?
Besides bears, a swipe from a tiger’s paw is one of the most deadly. In the case of jaguars and leopards, their force of paw swipe is much smaller.
How strong is a Jaguar bite force?
But let’s move on to something that jaguars excel at. Bite force.
The bite force of a jaguar is 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi), which makes them, pound for pound, the cat with the highest bite strength.
Their jaws are slightly shorter, which grants them more leverage than other big cats, and their jaw muscles are a bit different in shape.
How strong is a Tiger bite force
Tigers have very strong jaws and a bite force that reaches up to 1,050 PSI.
Alongside their strong jaws, tigers also have long, sharp teeth that can slice through flesh and crush bone.
Their canines grow up to 4 inches long and play an essential role for the animal.
How strong is a lion jaw?
The lion’s jaws are pretty strong, their bite has been measured to be around 900-1000 PSI.
Leopard bite force
The leopard ranks last again, with a bite force below 500 PSI.
Differences in Hunting techniques
Tiger Hunting techniques
Like the majority of cats, tigers typically ambush their prey.
They are known as “concealment and ambush hunters,” that means basically that they would stalk their prey first, circle about them closely, and then strike at them from behind.
When the tiger is ready, it will use its strength and size to knock its prey.
A tiger on the hunt will use its stripes as camouflage in its natural surroundings in order to stay close to the prey.
The tiger will attack once it is around 20 to 30 feet (six to nine meters) away from its next prey.
Typically, the tiger strikes silently, leaving the prey surprised and with no opportunity to escape.
After the tiger reaches its prey, it will bite the back of the prey’s neck. The bite will have very severe and deadly consequences on the prey.
The tiger will now drag its prey to the ground while continuing to hold on to its neck until it is certain of its death.
Tigers will usually hunt during the nighttime, in the dark, as they are able to see much better in the dark than humans.
Lion Hunting techniques
Lions hunt in packs with their pride because they are social cats. Hunting is primarily done by females, and it is a well-planned and strategic process.
While tactically surrounding their prey, the females focus on their prey and make eye contact with the other members of the pride.
The go-ahead is given with one look, and lions fly from all angles. They rip off the prey’s rump with their claws before climbing up to the throat area to strangle it.
When prey does escape the deathly clutches of the lions, they often die from injuries inflicted by the lion.
Jaguar Hunting techniques
Jaguars stalk and ambush their prey rather than chasing down prey. Jaguars will listen for prey, and stalk until they are close enough to chase and kill the animal.
They will frequently use a throat bite to suffocate prey, or they will sever the vertebrae to immobilize more dangerous prey before killing it.
Occasionally while hunting, jaguars employ a different killing method unique among cats.
The jaguars will use their powerful jaws to bite through the skull of their prey, killing them by piercing the brain.
They will then drag the prey to a more secluded location to feed.
Leopard Hunting techniques
Leopards hunt on their own. They dart in and out of cover until they are right next to their prey, at which point they ambush.
They stalk their target and are experts of stealth mode.
They keep low to the ground, and their tawny mottled coloring ensures they remain camouflaged during the most complex of hunts.
When they are within a few meters, they lunge forward and get their quarry in a lethal stronghold, executing a swift kill tactic of strangulation and suffocation.
Tigers – The strongest of all big cats
Tigers are extremely strong animals.
Due to their build, muscle mass, and the constant fight for survival, they have evolved into an apex predator, being the most powerful big cats in the world, thus surpassing lions, jaguars, and leopards.
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