The kinds of tigers in the wild and in controlled environments are few and to a layman, they look the same. However, the tigers actually vary in appearance, musculature, and most importantly, point of origin. All tigers share the same scientific name, Panthera tigris, as well as the characteristic stripes all over their body. The technical names for the different kinds of tigers are delineated by adding the subspecies name after the actual scientific name.
Tiger species are differentiated by their stripes, and each tiger has a different pattern. Although we see each tiger as alike, much like they probably see humans as alike in appearance, they are actually very different from each other. Markings and stripes on tigers are useful for blending into their surroundings when they’re stalking prey or when they’re keeping away from hunters.
Here are the different kinds of tigers.
Siberian tigers are of the subspecies altaica and are also called Amur tigers. These tigers are characterized by their immense size and their light colored fur. Some experts say the defining coat color of Siberians is a result of adaptation rather than genetics. Since they live in mostly snowy land, they develop light colored or darker colored fur to keep away from standing out amidst the light colored snow and earth around them. A bright orange speck will surely stand out amidst the snowy landscape, making it easy for poachers to hunt these tigers. The coat of Siberian tigers might have lightened or darkened to adapt to their surroundings.
They are endemic to the northern regions of North Korea, China and some parts of Russia, and are considered endangered with less than 800 of these Siberians left. They dwell in woodlands amidst thickets of small conifers and birch. While light in color and very muscular, Siberians are not the subspecies of tiger that yield the white variety.
Bengal tigers are of the subspecies tigris and they have been found in abundance across India’s Bengal region, hence their name. But these tigers are also found in surrounding forests, in the countries of Bhutan, Nepal, Burma and Bangladesh. Bengals like to thrive in marshlands, mostly because this is the dominant landscape in their native environment.
Some Bengal kinds of tigers are born as albinos, due to the presence of the gene that comes from a mutant ancestor. Thus, white tigers are Bengal tigers.
Indochinese tigers are of the corbetti subspecies. These are the native tigers in Thailand and they take to hills and mountain regions like other big cats like lions. These kinds of tigers resemble Bengal tigers the most, although their size is smaller and their stripes narrower.
South China tigers are of the subspecies amoyensis and are on the brink of extinction. In fact, the only known kinds of tigers from eastern China are in controlled conditions like zoos and nature reserves. They differ from other tigers because of their size. They are considered smaller than Indos, Bengals and Siberians, and they have widely spaced and broader stripes.