The white tiger is not a separate subspecies, but only a color variation.
It is actually a type of Bengal tiger. While they are sometimes bred with Siberian tigers as a way of manipulating genetics to produce white tigers in captivity.
This type is extremely rare in the wild. This is partially because of the genetic rarity of such a tiger being conceived in nature, and also because in the wild, their white-and-black coloring prevents them from camouflaging themselves while hunting – that makes it harder for them to survive.
White tigers result from genetic mutations that are part of their natural species diversity.
The average lifespan for white tigers is from 10 to 15 years in the wild.
White tigers lack the pheomelanin pigment that normally gives a tiger its orange coloration, but they still produce the lighter eumelanin, and are therefore not considered to be albinos (i.e., deficient in all forms of skin pigment).
For a white Bengal tiger to be born, both parents must carry the unusual gene for white coloring, which only happens naturally about once in 10,000 births.
When compared to Bengal tigers, the white Bengal tigers tend to grow faster and heavier than the orange Bengal tiger. They also tend to be somewhat bigger at birth, and as fully grown adults. White Bengal tigers are fully grown when they are 2–3 years of age.
Along with the Bengal Tiger, the White Tiger is considered to be the second largest species of Tiger in the world after the Siberian Tiger.
White male tigers reach weights of 200 to 230 kilograms (440 to 510 lb) and can grow up to 3 meters (9.8 ft) in length. As with all tigers, the white Bengal tiger’s stripes are like fingerprints, with no two tigers having the same pattern. The stripes of the tiger are a pigmentation of the skin – if an individual were to be shaved, its distinctive coat pattern would still be visible.
All white tigers have blue eyes.
Like all other tigers white tigers have eyes with round pupils, unlike domestic cats, which have slitted pupils. This is because domestic cats are nocturnal whereas tigers are crepuscular – they hunt primarily in the morning and evening.
White tigers can reach top speeds of 50 to 65 kilometers per hour (35 to 40 miles per hour).
The average white tiger sleeps between 16 to 18 hours per day.
Like all other tigers, white tigers are good swimmers!
An additional genetic condition can result in near-complete absence of stripes, making the tiger almost pure white. One such specimen was exhibited at Exeter Change in England in 1820, and described by Georges Cuvier as “A white variety of Tiger is sometimes seen, with the stripes very opaque, and not to be observed except in certain angles of light.”
In 2004, a blue-eyed, stripeless white tiger was born in a wildlife refuge in Alicante, Spain. Its parents are normal orange Bengals. The cub was named “Artico” (“Arctic”).
Because of the extreme rarity of the white tiger allele in the wild, the breeding pool was limited to the small number of white tigers in captivity. According to Kailash Sankhala, the last white tiger ever seen in the wild was shot in 1958.
Limited gene pool in white tigers has led to a high rate of health problems and deformities among these captive tigers’ offspring.
The white tiger is a Bengal tiger which is actually the most populous of all the remaining tiger subspecies, with numbers estimated to be at around 3,500 individuals in the wild.
Reasons for the extinction of wild white tigers were likely the same as those accounting for the dramatic decline in wild tigers in general: uncontrolled trophy hunting, habitat loss, and habitat
White tigers, Siamese cats, and Himalayan rabbits have enzymes in their fur which react to temperature, causing them to grow darker in the cold.
Since they were first brought into captivity, White Tigers have been interbred by Humans in a business that is morally questionable and purely profit based.
Today there is a large number of white tigers in captivity.
Their unique white color fur has made them popular in entertainment showcasing exotic animals, and at zoos.
White tigers appear frequently in literature, video games, television, and comic books.
The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West, and is known as Baihu in Chinese, Byakko in Japanese, Baekho in Korean, and Bạch Hổ in Vietnamese. It represents the west in terms of direction and the autumn season.