How many stripes do tigers have?

How many stripes do tigers have?

How many stripes do tigers have? Around 100 I’d say as it is possible to do the obvious: count them from a photograph. Of course it is not a very precise process as a tiger’s stripes are irregular in shape and fragmented. But if you count the number of stripes on both flanks and add the number of stripes on the (1) face (2) forelegs (3) hind legs and (4) tail you come to a bit less than 100 at about 98.

Note: I decided to count each flank separately as the stripes don’t necessarily circumvent the body. There might be a break.

I am also able to rely upon accurate figures for the number of stripes on the tiger’s flank from a book: Riding the tiger: tiger conservation in human-dominated landscapes By John Seidensticker. The authors obtained the information from the National History Museum and from photographs in Mazák (1996).

Across the species the average number of stripes mid-flank is around 26. Multiply this by 2 for both flanks tom make 52. Add in the hind legs at 10 for each leg making 20. Add the forelegs at 3 per leg making 6. Add in the tail at about 10. Finally add the stripes on the tiger’s head at about 10.

The total is 98 stripes. Bearing in mind (1) the difficulty in counting and (2) the variation between species and individual tigers I think it is far to round it up to about 100. This is the same as the answer provided on the website.

Great Cats by edited by Seidensticker and Lumpkin says that the Chinese tiger has the fewest stripes. Next fewest are on the Amur tiger then the Bengal tiger, then the Indochinese tiger. The island subspecies have the most stripes.

A tiger’s stripes are unique to each cat and provide the equivalent of a ‘finger print’ for each cat. If a scientist wants to positively identify a specific animal he can do so from his/her stripes. Using this characteristic of tigers scientists came up with a computer algorithm to identify tigers accurately.

Associated pages (this is a selection. Please search for more):

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It seems fair to suggest that tigers use facial markings to recognize each other combined with their body scent (odor). In other words, they use appearance and smell to identify neighbors and relatives. This is how humans recognise each other … please continue reading

Why are tigers orange?

Why are tigers orange?

One question that you might ask when you look at a tiger is: how can the coat be good camouflage? The background colour is orange upon which there are dark, jagged stripes. The orange is quite bright and certainly not … please continue reading

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


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