What’s a Group of Tigers Called & How Do They Behave?

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: January 19, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/slowmotiongli
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Tigers are the largest big cats in the world but are still incredibly threatened in the wild. These magnificent animals face poaching, habitat loss, and regional isolation in almost every environment they live in. Still, they find ways to survive in some of the most remote places in the world. As solitary animals, they rarely interact with other tigers. Still, they need to come together for things when the situation demands it. What is a group of tigers called? How do they behave?

What is a group of tigers called?

What's a Group of Tigers Called & How Do They Behave?
A group of tigers is called a “streak”, but they rarely gather in the wild.

Kabir Bakie / Creative Commons

A group of tigers is known as a “streak” or an “ambush” of tigers.

Tigers are naturally solitary animals, spending most of their day alone and roaming their hunting grounds. Still, there is an occasional cause that requires groups of tigers to travel and live together for periods. When these circumstances arrive, the group of tigers forms what is known as a “streak.” Although less common, a secondary name for a group of tigers is known as an “ambush.”

The collective names for things all have varied etymology (the history and development of a word’s usage), and using streak to reference tigers seem to have been pretty arbitrary. Often, these terms (like schools of fish, pride of lions, and murder of crows) are just made up to reflect the animal they are representing and don’t have much history of actual usage outside comical settings.

For most people interesting in researching groups of tigers, using just that, groups of tigers, is more likely to get the search results you desire.

How do groups of tigers behave?

What's a Group of Tigers Called & How Do They Behave?
The most common reason tigers are found in groups is after a mother gives birth to cubs.

iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Tigers are incredibly solitary, but occasionally social, animals. They often communicate and interact through visual marks, scent trails, and vocal expression. For tigers that share borders with other tigers, these marks of identification are essential to keeping the social structure in order.

A group of tigers would really only gather for two reasons: if they are a family (mother and cubs) and if they are gathering for resources.

Families of tigers are considered to be streaks of tigers, but “family” being used to describe them is much more common. When a mother gives birth to cubs, the cubs stay with her for 18-20 months. The mothers raise them and teach them to hunt. Interestingly, male tigers will occasionally take on a parenting role, defending and teaching the cubs. On the flip side, unrelated male tigers will often kill the cubs of mother to snd her back into a fertile season.

There are two main resources that cause tigers to group up. Mating and feeding are a major part of a tiger’s life, and interactions around these two events are the most common reason for interaction. Tigers can be possessive over their kills, but it seems to be they are much more sharing than other big cats (lions, for example). When there is a large kill, it’s been noted that tigers don’t mind sharing, even to the point of allowing cubs to join while the dominant male and female eat. In a pride of lions, this behavior would have been a transgression met by aggression.

When it comes to mating, however, fights can break out. Males often fight over females, with the results often being deadly.

How often do tigers group up?

Tigers don’t group up very often and never with the intention of just gathering for the sake of it. Females have an average of three cubs per litter and usually wait 18-24 months between litters. When a mother has cubs, they will move as a group until the cubs strike out on their own, usually within two years. Additionally, large kills will sometimes cause tigers to gather to feed.

How much land does a solitary tiger need to live?

What's a Group of Tigers Called & How Do They Behave?
Tigers need large ranges in order to avoid other tigers and kill large prey.

dangdumrong/Shutterstock.com

The exact amount of land a tiger needs to live in the wild is largely dependent on the region it lives in. The amount of prey per mile, the human interference, and the landscape all have to do with how singular tigers mark their borders. They have their home territory but often range and explore well beyond their specific grounds. In India, their ranges are between 20-390 square miles. In sparse areas like Manchuria, their ranges are 190 to 1540 square miles.

Male tigers don’t tolerate equally sized males in their regions but will allow a submissive individual to be closer in. The most common reason for the death of adult tigers is through fighting, as young males often try to establish their superiority through fighting.

When land is plentiful and tigers are happy in their ranges, they rarely interact unless it’s to mate. With that in mind, streaks of tigers are exceedingly rare and not behaviorally consistent outside of a mother and her cubs.

Are tigers aggressive in groups?

What's a Group of Tigers Called & How Do They Behave?
Tigers are aggressive when territory is crossed, but will occasionally tolerate group feeding sessions.

iStock.com/Rajkumar Natarajan

Tigers can be aggressive when they are near each other, especially when they intrude on one another ranges.

Males will attack and kill one another in a battle for females or if they are both dominant males fighting for feeding grounds. A male tiger will allow other male tigers within his range, but only if they are notably submissive and unwilling to fight.

When it comes to feeding aggression, there seems to be data that shows tigers aren’t possessive. This is unlike lions and other large cats. These social feeding events occur when a tiger kills large prey and other tigers come to investigate. In one instance, a mother brought down a 550 lb deer, and by the next day, there were nine other tigers feeding.

Can tigers be kept together in captivity?

Generally, tigers shouldn’t be kept together in captivity. There are some instances where this does occur. These captive tigers aren’t mimicking their behavior in the wild, however, and the interactions could turn aggressive, especially if the tigers aren’t cubs that were raised together.

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