What Do Bengal Tigers Eat?

Like other big cats, Bengal tigers are carnivores. They fancy eating ungulates such as sambar, barasingha, takin, water buffalo, gaur, chital, antelopes, pigs, and nilgai. Bengal tigers will also prey on large animals such as wild boar, hog deer, grey langur, and muntjac.

Bengal tigers take on smaller mammals if the larger prey is not abundant. They also consume porcupines, peafowls, and hares but these animals make up only a small portion of the tiger’s diet. Lately, they have started hunting domestic animals because humans have occupied much of the tiger’s habitat.

The most favorite prey animal of a Bengal tiger is gaur which forms almost 45% of the tiger’s diet. In the Nagarahole National Park, sambar deer makes up 29% of the overall diet.

While they do not form the essential part of the diet, Bengal tigers do occasionally take on other predators such as crocodiles, wolves, Asiatic black bears, sloth bears, leopards, dholes, and foxes. They also feed on young elephants and rhinoceroses.

References & Further Reading

Biswas, S.; Sankar, K. (2002). “Prey abundance and food habit of tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) in Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India”. Journal of Zoology. 256 (3): 411–420.

Andheria, A. P.; Karanth, K. U.; Kumar, N. S. (2007). “Diet and prey profiles of three sympatric large carnivores in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, India“. Journal of Zoology. 273 (2): 169–175

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