How do tigers eat large prey animals?

Well firstly, tigers kill large animals by suffocating them with a bite to the throat. Tigers hold down their prey sometimes beyond the time when they are dead and have stopped struggling. They take their prey into cover for security and then begin to eat.

How do tigers eat large prey animals?
 How do tigers eat large prey animals? The sequence is spelled out on this page.

Normally they start at the back end of the animal i.e. the rump and buttocks. They progress forwards and open the body cavity to remove the stomach. They place the stomach to one side of the carcass and then continue eating.

Tigers normally eat in that Sphinx-like position which is in a semi-prone position with the stomach touching the ground. I guess it's more comfortable because they eat over a long period of time. They rest on their elbows.

You may know that the molars of tigers are not flat at the top as they are for humans but they are like scissors and as the teeth meet they slice chunks of flesh of the prey animal. Their tongue is covered in papillae which are sharp spines made of keratin, very similar to the tongue of domestic cats but much larger. The tongue allows them to scrape bits of flesh from bone.

How do tigers eat large prey animals?
Photo: Pixabay.

They sometimes grasp a bone between the front paws and they might hold a chunk of meat down while they pull pieces of flesh off it.

Tigers eat and rest intermittently. They might lie close to the carcass and then restart and keep eating until the edible parts are fully consumed. A tigress was reported as spending three days on average with each of her large kills. She consumed an average of 46 kg of flesh daily.

If a tiger has to leave the prey to drink or find a den site they will cover up their prey with what's available such as rocks, grass, dirt, leaves et cetera. The procedure applies to large prey such as some deer species such as hog deer (37 kg). Adult chital can weigh 98 to 110 kg (216 to 243 lb).  

Small prey will be eaten in one sitting and I'm referring to 20 kg in weight approximately and less. This will apply to barking deer and young chital.

One scientist reported that an adult tiger consumed 18 to 27 kg of food in a night. Another scientist recorded that a large male ate 35 kg of meat in one night. I have a page on how much tigers eat in one day which you can read by clicking this link here.

Reference: myself and Wild Cats of the World. If you'd like more details on references please leave a comment. Thanks.


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