How do tigers mark their territory?

Briefly, male and female tigers mark territory by cheek rubbing, claw raking, urine spraying, scraping with their hind feet, and through depositing uncovered and scattered faeces. In addition the male tiger also head rubs.

Tiger scent marking by depositing scent from his cheeks on a tree
Tiger cheek rubbing. Camera trap image in the public domain.

In rubbing various parts of their anatomy against objects such as trees and rocks the tiger and tigress are depositing scent from their glands which are located at this areas of the bodies. The scent is picked up by other tigers who can recognise the other tiger by their scent and will know when they were there by the deterioration in the strength of the scent.

These marking behaviours are very similar to those of the domestic cat as you will no doubt recognise. Not only are the tiger and cat very similar in their anatomy except for their size they are very similar in their general behaviour.

"Scent is deposited as an odorous musky liquid known as 'marking fluid'". It is mixed with urine and sprayed backwards. The anal glands will deposit scent onto the faeces. Tiger will also rub their heads on objects that have previously be sprayed with urine. The objective? To enhance the 'odour field'.


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