White Tiger Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

White tigers are animals with white fur, blue eyes and a pink nose. Come learn about white tigers, why they are white, why they are rare and some other cool facts about these white animals.

What Are White Tigers?

Imagine walking along in the forests of India when, in the distance, you see a large, white cat with tiger stripes and four legs. You blink, because you think you're seeing things, but it's still there when you open your eyes. It looks like a tiger, but its fur is white, not orange. You're not looking at a ghost; you're looking at a white tiger!

White tiger with blue eyes and a pink nose
White Tiger

A white tiger is a Bengal tiger with very rare, creamy white fur; blue eyes; and gray or brownish stripes. It is not a special kind of tiger or an albino tiger. Just like people may have brown hair or blonde hair, some Bengal tigers are white.

White tigers can weigh as much as 570 pounds, which is a little more than two giant pandas, and can grow to be more than ten feet long. That's about the same as a yellow anaconda!

White tiger with brown stripes
White Tiger with Brown Stripes

White tigers, like all Bengal tigers, live in the wild in parts of Asia, including India. They like living in forests and grasslands. Though their lighter color sticks out more than their orange family members, they can still hide pretty well thanks to their stripes.

Why Are White Tigers White?

White tigers are white thanks to their genes. These aren't the kind of jeans you wear to school, but are the parts of a cell that control things like eye color, hair color, and for tigers, fur color.

Most Bengal tigers have genes that show up as orange fur with black stripes. But it's possible for an orange mother and father tiger to have a gene for white fur in their cells, even if they are orange. If both the orange mother and father have a white fur gene, there is a slim chance that a cub will be white.

Most of the time, the cub will be the carrot orange color. But once in a while, those white genes pop up and a milky white tiger is born. The chance of a white cub changes with the color of the parents and what genes they have, but the chance of having orange cubs is always much greater, which is why there are so few white ones.

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