How much do tigers sleep?

How much do tigers sleep? I think the question is a weak one because the response is dependent upon so many factors. It depends, for example, on how successful a tiger has been in finding food and that in turn depends upon the amount of prey in the area in which it resides. It also depends upon the age of the tiger. The internet quite boldly states that tigers sleep for about 18-20 hours a day but I'm not sure about that answer.

Sleeping tiger
Sleeping or snoozing tiger in captivity. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

For instance, the best reference work that I have on the tiger states (and I will quote verbatim if I may): "The usual daily round of a tiger is to commence questing for food shortly before sunset and to continue doing so all night. In this questing, they go at a slow walk often following the beds of nalas and jungle roads, especially so in cold weather when cover is dense and the grass is wet and cold". The quote is from Dunbar Brander in his work Wild Animals in Central India published in 1931.

So for 12 hours of the day a typical Bengal tiger might be hunting during the entire night. Of course it depends upon the availability of food as mentioned but if that is a genuine assessment then a tiger has 12 more hours remaining part of which is occupied in eating the food and part of which will be occupied in resting and the remainder in sleeping. On this basis it is probably reasonable to state that a tiger might sleep - and I mean genuinely sleep not snooze - for a similar duration of time as humans i.e. about eight hours.

But it probable that they sleep for a bit longer than that. However, we have to differentiate sleep from snoozing. And that is another reason why the question is weak.

Another point worth mentioning is that the books I have do not state in plain language that tigers sleep for so many hours and specify the hours in detail. This is because it is not something which is of great interest to scientists. And perhaps it is too difficult to generalise. Indeed it is dangerous to generalise about such a thing for the reason stated. I would be cautious about reading bold and confident statements on this subject on the Internet.

They are generally guesswork and I think a fair assessment would be that tigers sleep for about eight hours a day genuinely and they might snooze for a further three depending upon circumstances.


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