What do Tigers Eat? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Tigers
  • 0:25 How Tigers Find Food
  • 1:21 What Tigers Eat
  • 3:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Tigers are the biggest cats on the planet, and they prefer to eat other animals. In this lesson, we'll learn what types of animals tigers eat, how they hunt for their prey, and what kind of food they eat if animals aren't available.


You may have seen a tiger up close at the zoo, but most people never see a tiger in the wild. Tigers are the largest members of the cat family, but all sub-species are endangered, meaning there aren't many tigers left. Some tigers grow to be over 500 pounds, so you can imagine that they eat a lot of food!

How Tigers Find Food

Tigers are carnivores, which means they eat other animals. When they can, tigers eat large prey because this gives them the most energy. The word prey refers to any animal that is killed by another animal for food.

Tigers usually hunt alone instead of in groups, and some tigers only need to eat once every couple of days, especially if they catch a large animal. Even though they usually hunt alone, a tiger will still share its food with family members.

Tigers are strong hunters. They usually sit and wait for prey, and when they see an animal they want, they pounce! Tigers can out-jump most animals on Earth, and when they are chasing prey, they can briefly run at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. That's as fast as a car on a highway.

A tiger might eat up to 90 pounds of meat at one time, especially if it doesn't hunt every single day.

What Tigers Eat

So what animals do tigers like to eat? In general, tigers aren't very picky. They prefer large prey, but they'll eat almost anything that's available. This can include:

  • Boars
  • Wild pigs
  • Bears
  • Buffalo
  • Wild cattle
  • Deer
  • Antelopes
  • Young elephants
  • Moose
  • Goats

If large prey animals aren't available, tigers will also eat:

  • Lizards
  • Crabs
  • Toads
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Termites
  • Berries
  • Other plants

You can see this is a pretty broad list. There are different sub-species of tigers, and each sub-species has a slightly different diet because they live in different places.

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