Biology and behaviour


Tigers can live up to 26 years in captivity, but in the wild 8-10 years is more usual.

Reproduction patterns of tigers

Tigers appear to reach sexual maturity at about 3-6 years of age and can breed at any time of the year. 

Gestation: around 103 days.

Litter size: up to 7 cubs, 2 or 3 is usual.

Birth to maturity:

Cubs are born blind and do not open their eyes until about 6-14 days after birth. For the first 8 weeks the cubs consume only their mother's milk. 

When cubs are 2 months old they start following their mother, begin eating solids and leave the den for the first time. They continue to be suckled until they are 3-6 months old and they are totally dependent on their mother until they learn to kill at about 6 months old. 

By the time they are 18 months to 3 years old they can hunt for themselves, and become fully independent.


South China tigers are solitary, except during mating season.

Male territory may sometimes overlap.


South China tigers, like all other tiger subspecies, are pure carnivores.

Their most common prey is:

  • deer
  • antelope
  • wild boar
  • wild pigs
  • other hooved mammals (ungulates) native to this region

Tigers have also been known to attack livestock and even humans.