"Tiger Style" - The Courtship and Mating of the Tiger - Part I, Sexual Maturation of the Tiger  

tigerdickaches 62M
58 posts
10/18/2005 6:27 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

"Tiger Style" - The Courtship and Mating of the Tiger - Part I, Sexual Maturation of the Tiger

Back again for Part I of a three part series on "The Courtship and Mating of the Tiger". Part I's subject is "The Sexual Maturation of the Tiger".

Sexual maturity in tigers:

Female tigers first come into season at around 2 1/2 years of age, but do not become sexually mature until 3 to 4 years old. They are usually pregnant, or rearing cubs, for the following 15 years. Copulation may take place before sexual maturity, though pregnancy is extremely unlikely. For males, sexual maturity occurs later, at approximately 4 to 5 years of age.

Tigers are sexually dimorphic which simply means males and females are distinctly different in appearance and medical tests are not required to establish gender.


A female will enter oestrus, or 'heat', either seasonally -- if it is a temperate climate -- or throughout the year in more tropical areas. Oestrus is the time when a female is receptive and able to become pregnant.

She will signal her readiness for breeding in various ways, including roaring, moaning and scent marking with a distinctive-smelling urine, mixed with a secretion from the anal gland.

Vocalisations can be persistent and one female was recorded as roaring 69 times in only 15 minutes. Approaching males sometimes reply.

The female will continue her efforts until a male is attracted, or oestrus is over. As wild tiger numbers become fewer, increasingly there are times when a mate is not found.

The time between episodes of oestrus varies considerably. In zoo tigers gaps of between 13 and 61 days have been recorded. The interval between the last litter and the next oestrus also varies from tigress to tigress.

Records taken from captive cats showed a range from 75 to 592 days. These figures may actually be much wider as the sampling of cats for this survey was very small.

Abortion and stillbirth:

Oestrus is also influenced by abortions or a stillborn litter. In these cases the tigress comes into heat again very quickly, often in only 10-12 days.

False oestrus:

Possible false oestrus in tigresses has been reported from both Ranthambhore and Panna National Parks. This behaviour is known in lions, though it is as yet unconfirmed in tigers.
The most recent report of possible false oestrus made to Tiger Territory involved a tigress with older cubs (approximately 16 months). She was initially seen fighting with a male who was not the father of her cubs, then a fortnight later was sighted mating with him. All her behaviour (vocalisation, spraying, etc) indicated she was in heat, but the fact that she had two cubs made this unlikely. The possibility she was displaying a false oestrus in order to reduce the male's aggression is still being considered.

So, what analogies can be drawn between the sexual maturation of tigers and the sexual maturation of humans? What observations can be made?

1. Human males usually reach sexual maturity later than do the females, very much analogous to tigers. (Side note: Can you guys and gals out there relate back to your junior and senior high school days?)
2. Humans, like tigers, are also sexually dimorphic which, as you will recall, means that males and females are distinctly different in appearance and medical tests are not required to establish gender. (Side note: I've noticed there are some little tigresses and lionesses on this site that are very, very DIMORPHIC! We cannot make any comparisons between transvestites and transexuals and tigers, because there are simply no transvestite or transexual tigers.)
3. Human females come into oestrus or 'heat' on a monthly cycle whereas tigers experience this on a seasonal basis in temperate climate zones or throughout the whole year in the tropical climate zones. (Side note: Being a Bengal Tiger myself, I always felt blessed to have been born in the jungles of India, more of a tropical climate. I always felt sorry for my brethren, those Siberian Tigers, who lived to the north of me!)
4. Tigresses signal their readiness to mate in a number of ways to include vocalisations and scent marking (Side note: Did you notice that part about vocalisations (persistent roaring and moaning) to get noticed by an approaching male tiger? In the human world, I'm not sure what the analogy would be as I am quite sure I have completely missed more subtle "readiness" signals given off by human females far too often! That's why I'm on this site, darn it! If I were already picking up on those subtle human female signals, I wouldn't even need to be here on this site nor would I have time to post this drivel on my stupid blog! If you "ready" female felines out there would just help us guys out by vocalizing with unmistakable "roars and groans", it sure would make things a lot simpler and eliminate the need for cybersex web sites, electronic winks, pics, webcams, blogs, etc.)
5. The oestrus cycle in female tigers is much more variable than in human females. (Side note: Interesting that a tigress is more unpredictable in terms of their mood and availablity for mating than is a human female! Interesting indeed!)
6. Scientists are still attempting to confirm the possibility that tigresses, like lionesses, display a false oestrus in order to reduce the male's aggression. (Side note: Could there be some sort of Dom/sub interpersonal dynamics going on in the world of the Big Cats? I never had time to think about it out in the jungle! I was always busy just trying to catch my next meal or avoid being eaten by a predatory alligator or python!)

Well, all of the foregoing is from a tiger's perspective, so if there are any tigresses or lionesses out there who would like to add the female perspective on the subject of "The Sexual Maturation of Tigers", please jump in and add your comments! I admit to having much yet to learn!

I hope you will join me again for Part II on this subject later this week. Exact timing kinda depends on how the Cards do tonight against the Astros. It's looking pretty bleak for our Redbirds! That reminds me ... I gotta run to catch up with my buddies at the local sports bar. Yes, good observation, no tigress or lioness once again tonight! And yes, it's still aching! Need relief soon!

Until next time! ROARRRRRR!

Tiger Dick
Visit me @ "Tiger Talk"

tigerdickaches 62M

10/21/2005 6:06 am

BGRS - Thanks for the female perspective on this very important subject! Most helpful to me as I compile my research and prepare to post the final installment in my three part series! Yes, yes, yes ... you will see when I post "Copulation of Tigers" later today that the Big Cats do indeed "approach" their mates in much the same way as do the Little Pussy Cats! I also appreciate the tip on how to detect when the human female is receptive to coitus ... you know the bit about the pheremones and personal hygiene habits! Amazingly enough at age 50, I still don't know a damn thing about the human female! I'd love to get more training in these human matters from a person as obviously qualifed as say yourself for example! By the way, do you happen to be either a PhD zoologist or an MD gynecologist? You seem very knowledgable about these subjects!

sweetmiriah - How have you and your horses been up there in Moberly? Have you been riding them or have you been riding some lucky cowboy? Thanks for the lovely, sensuous prrrrrrrr! That just drives us Tigers totally wild! Speaking of Tigers and Moberly, will you be heading over to Columbia this weekend to root for MIZZOU?



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