Das Tigerspiel im Schnee

December 29, 2010 • 3:15 pm

Three young Amur tigers (aka Siberian tigers) and their mom in the Bronx Zoo, encountering their first deep snow in this week’s blizzard.  This subspecies is adapted to snow—it’s now restricted to eastern Siberia—so they have the genes to tolerate it, but seemingly not the genes to recognize it!

22 thoughts on “Das Tigerspiel im Schnee

    1. Wouldn’t that take the fun out of it… for the kitteh?

      Heh, reminds me of the way my dad would play with the dog (a german sheppard) which, by the end of it, my dad would be grinning from ear to ear with his arms covered in blood (his own). The dog liked to play rough, and my dad didn’t mind 😉

      1. Actually, Baihu’s favorite toys are my hands. They’re perpetually scratched up, as are my shoulders — his favorite perch.

        It’s just…well, Baihu’s teeth and claws are maybe a quarter inch long. He can — and frequently does — draw blood.

        I’m sure it’d be a blast playing patty-cake with a tiger…for about ten seconds, until your hand got ripped to the bone and the sinews severed….

        But with a steel-reinforced Kevlar bodysuit? Game on!


  1. They seems to be having a great time. My house-cat plays the exact same way: Pounce, gentle claws, gentle bite, lick, relax, repeat.

  2. Fing Ich die Praxis an, Deutsch für die Schlagzeile zu verwenden?

    The cats are beautiful, and so obviously playing too, and enjoying the snow. I have seen Bengal tigers in the wild, never Siberian ones. Tigers in India were found in the “hills” (in the mountains where I grew up), where it snowed. Would they not have been adapted to snow?

    1. I got tired of English titles; foreign ones add some faux class to the post!

      Tigers in the wild! In what part of India did you grow up? I suspect the tigers might have gone down when it snowed.

      1. Ah, perhaps they did. I grew up in Mussoorie, in what is now called Uttar Anchal, but then was Uttar Pradesh. Mussoorie is a hill station about 6-7000 feet above sea level, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

  3. Wonderful to see them looking so healthy & vibrant.
    But a question, do Amur tigers change their colouration in the winter to better merge in with the background?
    Couldn’t help but notice they stick out somewhat.

    1. Good question! No, they don’t: they’re orange and stripey all year ’round. You’d think that genes that make them turn white in winter, like those of the arctic hare or arctic fox, would camouflage them from prey, but perhaps those genes just don’t exist.

      1. Did you read PZ’s review yesterday of Nick Lane and William Martin’s work on the energy available in cells to explore genomic space? If so…would you care to make a wild guess as to how many generations it’d take for tigers to express such a trait (assuming, of course, we weren’t driving them extinct)?



  4. I liked when the one tiger jumped on the other and shoved its face into the snow around the :45 second mark. I used to do that to my little sister too. Heh.

  5. I wonder what that bird call in the background is. Maybe some sort of pheasant…?

    Background vocalizations are one of the pleasures of being at a zoo all day. Siamangs…gibbons…lions…bald eagles…zebras…hippos…’phants…cranes…

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