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Sabre-Toothed Tiger

Sabre-Toothed Tiger Facts

Scientific NameSmilodon populator
Size (L)2m - 2.5m (79in - 98in)
Weight300kg (661lbs)
Lifespan20 - 40 years
Conservation StatusExtinct
Extinct10,000 BC
ColourTan, Brown, Yellow, Black, White
Skin TypeFur
Favourite FoodDeer
HabitatForests and grasslands
Average Litter Size3
Main PreyDeer, Bison, Woolly Mammoth
Distinctive FeaturesLarge muscular body and long canine teeth

Sabre-Toothed Tiger Location

Map of Sabre-Toothed Tiger Locations

Sabre-Toothed Tiger

The sabre-toothed tiger is one of the most well-known prehistoric animals along with giants such as the woolly mammoth. Sabre-toothed tigers roamed the mid-western US and parts of both North and South America and were named for the enormous canines which skeletons show, protruded quite far out of their mouths.  It became extinct in the Quaternary period (the end of the dinosaur period) and during the ice age.

Despite its name, the sabre-toothed tiger was not actually related to the modern tigers that are found throughout the jungles of Asia. It is thought that the sabre-toothed tiger would have roamed across the grassland plains and open woodlands throughout both North and South America where individuals would have varied slightly depending on the area which they inhabited.

The sabre-toothed tiger is one of the best known ice-age animals but little is really known about them as they are thought to have become extinct around 10,000BC which is a long time ago. The sabre-toothed tiger was named for the canines that could grow to more than 7 inches in length and were capable of fatally wounding their prey with one bite.

Sadly, the colour of the sabre-tooth tiger is unknown but it is thought that is would have been of a similar colouration to the modern day lion found in Africa (and which it is not closely related to). The sabre-toothed tiger also had a powerful, muscular body which meant that it could quickly catch and pounce on its prey before using its knife-like teeth to cause the fatal blow.

In the same way as modern day felines, the sabre-toothed tiger was a carnivorous animal and would of been the most dominant predator within its environment. Large herbivorous animals such as deer and bison would have been the most common prey of the sabre-toothed tiger along with occasional giant such as a small woolly mammoth should their ranges cross, although their exact diet is unknown.

The sabre-toothed cat would have been the most ferocious and therefore the apex predator within its environment so had no natural predators on the American plains. Humans are thought to be the most likely cause of the demise of this enormous cat and more than 2,000 sabre-toothed tiger skeletons have been found emerged in the tar pits close to Los Angeles.

As with modern felines, the sabre-toothed tiger would have bred in the warmer months of early spring, when after a gestation period that could last as long as 8 months, the female sabre-toothed tiger would give birth to an average of 3 cubs per litter. Nothing is known about sabre-toothed tiger cubs but they could be born blind like the cubs of today's felines.

The sabre-toothed tiger is thought to have become extinct more than 12,000 years ago when human settlers first arrived in the Americas, hunting this species to extinction. Although climate change could also be the primary cause of their demise, little however is really known.