How much does a tiger eat at one sitting?

A maximum of 99 pounds (45 kg) for a large male according to a reliable source. I am referring to tigers in the wild 😃.

However, sources provide different information. I will do my best to answer the question in the title on the resources available to me. In general books are more reliable than the Internet.

How much does a tiger eat in a day?
How much does a tiger eat in a day? Photo (modified) in the public domain.
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Dr. Desmond Morris in his book Cat World tells us that once a tiger has dragged his prey carcass into a safe place to devour it, he or she will set about gulping down as much as 30 kg (66 pounds) of meat at a single sitting. This squares up with the maximum mentioned above.

Mel and Fiona Sunquist in their book Wild Cats of the World provide us with information on the amount of food consumed over a 24-hour period which will often translate to one sitting. For example, a tigress in Chitwan killed an adult female chital mid-morning and by the next morning only skin and bones remained. She had consumed about 30 kg of meat over that approximate 24-hour period. But it seems to me that that represented one meal at one sitting which lasted the 24-hour period.

They say that the maximum amount a tiger can eat in 24 hours is about one fifth (20%) of their own bodyweight which for a large male translates to 45 kg. On the basis that a tiger is going to eat all that he needs over a 24-hour is at one sitting I will conclude that a tiger can eat 45 kg of meat at one sitting which is 99 pounds.

I take that to be a maximum by the way. A website says that tigers consume between 4-7% of their bodyweight per day. This is less than as stated by Mel and Fiona Sunquist in their book.

RELATED: How much do tigers eat in a day?

Another website tells us that a tiger can consume as much as 75 pounds of food during a night of eating. This is a similar figure to the one mentioned.

Tigers are enormously strong
Tigers are enormously strong

A contributor says that tigers eat once in every two days provided a prey animal is available. Another says that tigers eat every 4 to 7 days. Clearly, it depends upon the availability of prey animals and their size. And also, large prey animals are cached and returned to for feeding. Tigers will feed on putrefied flesh which has been hidden for four or five days. They will even eat meat that is liquefied and covered with maggots.

If a tiger is hungry, he may remain with the partially devoured body and then continue with his huge meal later. Alternatively, he may hide it from view to protect it against scavengers and return to it later.

It is said that tigers are not as efficient at hunting as some people believe with a success rate of one in twenty attempts. A female with cubs does better, driven as she is by her urgent need to feed her growing offspring. Her chance of success is one in five, it is believed.

Other contributors to this debate say that tigers can go without food for 10-15 days provided they have access to water at least every three days. We sometimes forget that it is a hard life for a tiger with a constant need to find prey and kill it to survive. Humans are rarely on the edge of survival.

Note: Wild Cats of the World relies on a myriad of sources from the best authorities on tiger ecology. If you want some more detail on sources, please ask in a comment.

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