When we think of tigers we might imagine them prowling around hunting at night, but in reality these magnificent creatures are major sleepyheads. They spend between 16 and 20 hours a day resting or sleeping.
They source the shadiest and coolest areas in their habitat, such as caves, bushes, tall grass and shallow water holes. Often tigers in tropical climates will rest in the shade of trees and reed beds, which help to keep their body temperature low. They also love lazing in water to keep their bodies cool and they even mate in the water.
It’s important for tigers to be well rested to hunt and survive in the wild. If they don’t get enough rest they will not be able to stalk and catch their prey, and they could starve to death. They will usually make one large kill a week, which can consume 75 pounds (35 kilograms) of meat. This means they will need to sleep for longer than domestic cats to recover enough energy to hunt again.
It’s a myth that tigers den or hide to avoid humans, but they do have special spots they go to sleep in that are more secluded. For example, if a female is carrying cubs she may occupy a cave with her babies for some time and we would call this a ‘den’. However, this isn’t permanent and the cubs will eventually move on to a different area. Other secluded spots that aren’t necessarily caves are areas where a tiger feels safe and is not disturbed by other predators, such as near a fresh carcass.