There are only two subspecies of Tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris) and (Panthera Tigris Sondaica). However, there are 6 populations of tiger that fall into these two subspecies. At one time, they were all considered to be subspecies of Panthera Tigris, so until the reclassification of two distinct subspecies, they all had different Taxonomies.
The largest of these big cats is the Bengal, but even with this group alone, there can be a wide difference in the size and weight depending on where they live. These large cats are considered to be charismatic megafauna, and they are capable of stirring feelings of awe and wonder with their magnificence and charm.
They are known for being the largest of the big cats, but how much does a tiger weigh exactly? And how big are they really?
Here is a chart of some of the largest and smallest tigers:
List of Tigers and Weight Facts
While there may only be two subspecies of tiger, there are 6 existing populations, which all have their own names, and all have their own recognisable features and characteristics. While the Bengal Tiger and the Malayan Tiger may be the same subspecies, they are considerably different in appearance and easy, to the trained eye, to tell apart.
So how much does a tiger weigh? Let’s explore.
Subspecies Panthera tigris tigris
Panthera Tigris Tigris is the subspecies of tiger native to the mainland Asia. There are several populations of Panthera Tigris Tigris that have regional variations depending on where they live. Each of these populations has its own name based on their native range and characteristics. The largest of these is the Bengal tiger.
Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris)
The Bengal Tiger lives in Asia, primarily in India and Bangladesh. There are also significant populations in Nepal and Bhutan. Historically though, these tigers could also be found widely around Pakistan and Southwestern China too.
The Bengal tiger inhabits in grasslands, subtropical and tropical rainforests (mostly Asian rainforests), scrub forests, wet and dry deciduous forests and mangroves. It is the national animal of India and Bangladesh.
It has a diet that consists mostly of large animals, such as deer or wild pigs. Bengal tigers are incredibly strong and are able to drag their prey almost half a mile even though the prey may be heavier than itself.
They typically have a bright coat ranging from yellow, to amber to orange (except for the white variant). They have white underparts and dark, usually black stripes.
The size and weight of Bengal tigers, varies across its different ranges. In Central India, adult males have been recorded to average 420 lbs (190 kg) and range between 368–516 lbs (167–234 kg). Females average 291 pounds (132 kg). Whereas in the Panna Tiger Reserve and Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, males average between 440 to 570 lbs (200 to 260 kg) and females between 240 and 400 lbs (110 and 180 kg). In all of these cases males can grow in excess of 300 cm (118 in) including the tail, females up to around 270 cm (106 in)
In Bangladesh, populations of Bengal tiger have been recorded to be much smaller from examples captured and measured. It is thought that the availability of prey and habitat play a big part in this. The Sundarbans is a large mangrove area around the Bangladesh delta region. Not an area where large prey are common. The female tigers measured in the Sundarbans region weighed around 176 lb.
The heaviest wild Bengal tiger ever identified was a male from the Himalayan area, now on display in the Smithsonian. This massive tiger weighed 388.7 kg (857 lb), having just eaten a buffalo calf.
White Bengal Tigers, which are a genetic rarity, are just as big and heavy. Male White Bengal tigers reach weights of 200 – 230 kilograms (440-500 lbs) and females weigh 130 – 170 kilograms (290-370 lbs).
- Male: Average 420 lbs (190 kg). Range – 368–570 lbs (167-260 kg)
- Female: Average 291 lbs (132 kg). Range – 240-400 lbs (110-180 kg)
- Male: Average 300 cm (118 in)
- Female: Average 270 cm (106 in)
- Diet: Large Ungulates, Buffalo, Pigs, Deer, Antelope
- Region: India, Bangladesh, Nepal , Bhutan, Tibet
Siberian Tiger (Previously – Panthera tigris altaica)
Siberian Tigers have gone by many names over the years. Their range was once vast, covering large amounts of China, the Korean Peninsula and Russia. Depending on their location, they were called the Manchurian, Ussurian or Korean Tiger. Today however, their range is greatly reduced. They are sometimes referred to as Amur Tigers in reference to the Amur River, which flows through their existing habitat.
These tigers have a thicker coat than the Bengal population, which changes significantly between the summer and winter seasons. Their stripes are noted to be fewer, dark brown rather than black, and their coat contains more of a red, rusty color which is more prominent in their summer coat. They need this thick coat for trekking the coniferous forests and Siberian tundra that they call home.
Siberian Tigers at one time, rivalled the Bengal Tigers in size and weight. In fact historically they were the longest and the heaviest of the tigers. Today however, the wild Siberian Tigers are somewhat smaller than their ancestors. One paper from 1981 on Mammalian Species, Panthera Tigris, by Vratislav Mazak, give a range in size of 270-330 cm for adult males and a weight range of 180-306 kg. For females the range was 240-275 cm length and 100-167 kg in weight. In both cases, the top end of the range was larger than the range for the Bengal tiger at the time.
Today, the average Siberian tiger is smaller. According to data collected by the the Russian Wildlife Conservation Society in 2005, as part of the ‘Siberian Tiger Project‘, the largest male specimen weighed only 467 lbs (212 kg). Habitat may play a part in this, as in both studies the population measured may exist in different areas. However, the average sizes from the 2005 study are below:
- Male: Average 389 lbs (176.4 kg) in the wild
- Female: Average 260 lbs (117.9 kg) in the wild
- Male: Average 116 inches (294 cm). Range – 109-121 in (277 to 307 cm) including the tail
- Female: Average 105 in (266 cm). Range 102 to 108 in (259 to 274 cm) including the tail
- Diet: Wild Boar, Deer, Moose, Brown Bears, Black Bears, Hares, Rabbits, Salmon
- Region: East Russia, North China, possibly North Korea
South China Tiger (Previously – Panthera tigris amoyensis)
The South China Tiger is possibly the most endangered of all the tigers. While it lived widely across the Southern Chinese provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi, there have been no recorded sightings since the 1980s. While there have been signs of possible tiger activity, mostly from carcases of large prey, these are infrequent and speculative.
This tiger was heavily persecuted by the Chinese government, seen as a ‘pest’ and from a population of around 4000 in the 1950’s, was reduced to an estimated 30-40 wild tigers by 1987. Despite being a protected species since the late 1970s, hunting of tigers was common in China.
There are however attempts to recover these tigers in captivity. Numbers of captive South China Tigers doubled between 2007 and 2019, from an estimate of 72 individuals globally, to 150 within China. In a 2007 update at the Global Tiger Forum, the Chinese government have plans to reintroduce the species to the wild. But any attempts to do so will have to be very carefully managed given the critically low numbers available to maintain genetic diversity.
The South China Tiger is one of the smallest of the mainland Asian Panthera Tigris Tigris subspecies. It has a distinctive shape to its skull and its teeth are also shorter than other populations. The coat is a lighter, yellow color compared to the Bengal and Siberian populations – though some accounts describe a bright orange. They also have denser stripes and more white on the face and the points.
As for the size, the South China tiger is measured at a range of 91-104 inches (230-265 cm) long, with an average weight of 287-386 lbs (130-175 kg) for Males. Females are smaller, with a size range of 87 to 94 inches (220-240 cm), and average weight between 220 to 254 lb (100 to 115 kg). Much smaller than the Bengal at the other end of the scale.
- Male: 287-386 lbs (130-175 kg)
- Female: 220 to 254 lbs (100 to 115 kg)
- Male: 91-104 in (230-265 cm)
- Female: 87 to 94 inches (220-240 cm)
- Diet: Deer, Wild Boar, Peafowl, Hares. They like large Ungulates where available.
- Region: Southern China. Possibly now extinct in the wild.
Indochinese Tiger (Previously – Panthera tigris corbetti)
The Indochinese Tiger is native to mainland Southeast Asia. Today, populations are limited to small areas in Laos, Northern and Southern Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand. But historically, they also roamed Southern China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
In Myanmar, there are wild populations across many patches in the north and south, as well as in the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in the north. But most of the Indochinese Tigers alive in the wild, are in Thailand, with more than half of all these tigers living in the Western Forest Complex (WFC). Most of these are in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, of which there are 14 in the WFC.
Unfortunately for the Indochinese tiger, they were hunted widely in their habitats for many reasons. One reason was for medicine, with many southeastern Asian countries using tiger parts such as bones, penises and skin, to make all sorts of medicines and tinctures. A ban was placed on international trade, and it was placed on the CITES Appendix I list in 1993. However as recently as 2011, tiger parts were still found at markets throughout the countries in which they live.
According to Global Conservation, as of 2021 there were only 221 individual Indochinese tigers left, as reported by the WWF. In 1970 the population was around 40,000. Illegal trade has played a major part in that decline, along with habitat loss from industry, farming and human expansion. Unfortunately, the Indochinese tiger is also not part of any coordinated breeding program, though this may change.
The stripes on these tigers are generally fewer, shorter and thinner than other populations. Studies also reveal that these tigers have smaller skulls and a smaller body than some other populations of Panthera tigris tigris, notably the Bengal and Siberian.
Males are larger than females generally, reaching a length of 100 to 112 inches on average, while females average between 91 to 100 inches long. Male Indochinese Tigers also weight between 331 to 430 lbs, while females average 220 to 290 lbs. When you consider an adult Bengal can reach 265 kg in weight, that is a considerable weight difference!
- Male: 331-430 lbs (150-195 kg)
- Female: 220-290 lbs (100-130 kg)
- Male: 100-112 in (255-285 cm)
- Female: 91-100 in (230-255 cm)
- Diet: Sambar, Deer, Wild Boar, Pangolin, Muntjac
- Region: Laos, Myanmar, Thailand.
Malayan Tiger (Previously – Panthera tigris jacksoni)
The Malayan Tiger is native to Western Malaysia, specifically the central and south regions of the Malaysian Peninsula, as well as in the North. The habitats of both the Indochinese and Malayan tiger overlap in Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand. It is likely that hybrids will occur where populations meet.
In terms of physical attributes, these tigers share more in common with the Indochinese Tiger than larger Bengal and Siberian populations. In most cases, it is hard to tell the difference between the two. But there are indeed genetic differences, and the Malayan tigers also seem to veer toward the smaller of the two in terms of size.
Measurements have been recorded from only a few individual males and females to ascertain physical growth and weight, and most of this data is also decades old. From this small population sample in 1986, it was identified that male Malayan tigers weight around 104 to 284.7 lbs and reach between 75 to 112 inches long (190 to 280 cm), with an average of 94.2 inches. Female Malayan tiger weigh between 52 and 195 lbs, and they reach a length of between 70 to 103 inches. Males tend to be larger and heavier than females.
In older data from 1956, the average length of a male was 103.2 inches (262 cm), and of a female 94 inches (239 cm). This data, again was collected from a small sample population. But might suggest these tiger are getting smaller, or that there are regional variations across their habitat. Or, that as the samples were small, the true average is somewhere in-between.
More recent data, from two populations living in captivity in Jacksonville and Tulsa give a different picture again. The Jacksonville Zoo advise that Male Malayan tigers weigh an average of 260 pounds, and females average 220 pounds. Whereas Tulsa Zoo advise in material published in 2015, that adult males weigh between 220-308 pounds and females between 165-245 pounds. Length data appears fairly stable across the samples.
The Malayan Tiger has been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list since 2015, with only around 120 adult individuals estimated to be left in the wild. There are however, captive breeding programmes ongoing for this tiger, across many zoos with a hope of re-stabilizing the population.
- Male: Average – 260 lbs (118 kg). Range – 220-308 lbs (100-140 kg) On most recent data
- Female: Average – 220 lbs (100 kg) 165-245 lbs (75-111 kg) On most recent data
- Male: Range – 75-112 in (190-280 cm)
- Female: Range – 70-103 in (180-260 cm)
- Diet: Mainly Deer, Wild Boar occasionally larger prey such as Sun Bears, Young Elephants
- Region: Malaysian Peninsula
Subspecies Panthera tigris sondaica
Panthera Tigris Sondica, sometimes called Sunda Island Tigers, are a subspecies of tiger native to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Historically, there were three distinct populations of this subspecies, the Bali Tiger, Javan Tiger and Sumatra Tiger. Of these populations, only the Sumatra Tiger still exists today.
Panthera tigris sondaica are the smallest subspecies of tiger. In general, they have much wider and deeper stripes, and are smaller in height and length, and these features do vary between the three different populations.
It is thought that these tigers became cut off from the mainland and isolated thousands of years ago when the sea levels increased. Since then they have evolved with their own genetic traits that set them apart from their mainland cousins.
Sumatran Tiger (Previously – Panthera tigris sumatrae)
The Sumatran tiger, is native to the Indonesian Sunda island of Sumatra. Previously recognised as Panthera tigris sumatrae, in 2017 the taxonomy was changed to recognise all three populations of Sunda Island Tigers as Panthera tigris sondaica.
These tigers are generally smaller than tigers from the mainland, much smaller than the Bengal and Siberian populations. In captivity they can reach a weight of 140 kg for males and 110 kg for females. In the wild however, they tend to be smaller, ranging between 100-139 kg for males, and 75-110 kg for females. In terms of size, they have a very long tail, and males range between 87 to 100 inches in length, while females range between 85 to 91 inches.
Many accept that the Sumatran tiger is the smallest tiger, but Malayan and South China tigers have been recorded at a similar size and weight. In normal and equal environmental conditions however, the Sumatran can be expected to be the smaller of the bunch.
The Sumatran tiger is not only smaller, generally, than mainland tigers, but it also has thicker, denser stripes. Males have thicker ‘main-like’ scruffy fur around their neck and beard. Unlike the Siberian tiger that often stores large amounts of fat for the cold environment, the Sumatran tiger has very little fat, and it’s weight is mostly made up from muscle and thick skeletal structure.
The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. There are estimated to be less than 400 left in the wild, living in the forests of Sumatra. But poaching and habitat loss, as well as pressures on their availability of prey are major problems for the prospective survival of the species.
- Male: Average (120 kg) Range 220-310 lb (100-140 kg)
- Female: Average (91kg) Range 165-243 lb (75-110 kg)
- Male: Average 96 in (244 cm) Range 87-100 in (220-255 cm)
- Female: Average 84 in (213 cm). Range 85-91 in (215-230 cm)
- Diet: Smaller prey such as Rodents and Fish as well as Deer, Tapir, Porcupine and Pigs.
- Region: Sumatra Island in the Republic of Indonesia
Caspian Tiger – (Previously – Panthera tigris virgata)
The Caspian Tiger was a population of Panthera Tigris Tigris native to areas around the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. At its peak, the range extended from Eastern Turkey right across Central Asia to Western China, following the river courses across this range.
This tiger was once wide spread across the range, but in the 19th and 20th Century their numbers declined fast due to human pressures. The Caspian Tiger was hunted for sport, for trade and to protect expanding human settlements. From the 1920’s it started to become locally extinct in many countries and in 2003 it was declared globally extinct.
The last confirmed sighting of the Caspian Tiger was in 1998 in Tajikistan. There was one unconfirmed claim of a sighting in 2006 in Kazakhstan, but the silence since then suggests that this was erroneous and the tiger is indeed extinct.
Caspian Tigers were big cats, between the size of a Bengal and Siberian tiger. Some historical measurements place the tiger at a length of 106–116 inches for a male, with a weight of between 370–530 lbs. Females in the same data were 94–102 inches in length with a weight of between 187–298 lbs. It is unclear if these measurements were ‘between the pegs’ or including the tail length.
There have been some examples of Caspian Tigers reaching up to 360 cm long including the tail!
These tigers were not kept widely in zoos or any captive programmes, so no efforts of conservation really took any hold, if even attempted. But there are ongoing discussions around whether to reintroduce Siberian Tigers into the old habitats of the Caspian, given their close genetic similarities.
- Male: 370–530 lbs (170–240 kg)
- Female: 187–298 lbs (85–135 kg)
- Male: 106–116 in (270–295 cm)
- Female: 94–102 in (240–260 cm)
- Region: The Caucasus, areas around the Caspian Sea, Central Asia, Turkey, China, Russia.
Javan Tiger – (Panthera tigris sondaica)
The Javan Tiger was a population of the subspecies Panthera tigris sondaica. Like its cousins the Sumatra and Bali Tigers, it was native to the Sunda Islands. As the name would suggest, the Javan Tiger was native to the island of Java. It once occupied much of the island, but toward the latter half of the 20th Century its habitat had been reduced to a small mountainous region in the south of the island.
The last confirmed sighting or kill of a Javan tiger was in 1984, and while there were signs of tiger predation later than this, nothing was confirmed. Field studies were carried out into the early 1990’s to try and find signs of tiger activity but nothing was ever found. The Javan Tiger was therefore classed as extinct.
The Javan Tiger was said to be larger than the Bali Tiger, similar in size to the Sumatran, but smaller than the mainland panthera tigris tigris populations. Despite it’s smaller stature, records of footprints suggest it had thicker, bigger paws than even the Bengal. What it lacked in size, it made up for in density and strength. It had a long, narrow nose and long stripes, much thinner than the Sumatran tiger.
In terms of size, the Javan tiger was said to be around 98 inches in length and weighed between 220 and 311 lbs. Females were smaller and weighed between 165 and 254 lbs. However, data on this population is scarce and sources are vague in distinguishing between the different populations for size and weight criteria. Assuming Bergmann’s Rule we can determine at least, that the Javan would be significantly smaller the tigers living in more northerly latitudes.
- Male: Range 220-311 lbs (100-141 kg)
- Female: Range 165-254 lbs (75-115 kg)
- Male: Average 98 in (248 cm)
- Female: Average 84 in (213 cm)
- Region: Island of Java
Bali Tiger – (Previously – Panthera tigris balica)
The Bali Tiger, (previously known as Panthera tigris balica and reclassified as panthera tigris sondaica) was the smallest of the Sunda Island Tigers, and therefore the smallest of all the tigers. It was native to the island of Bali until the middle of the 20th century, when it became extinct.
The habitat of the species was reduced to the margins with human expansion, and it was subsequently hunted to extinction widely in the 1930’s, possibly surviving remotely until the 1950’s.
The Bali Tiger could be told apart from the other Panthera Tigris Sondaica populations from its size, its brighter coat and its distinctively narrower skull.
Only a few of these tigers were ever preserved in collections, making data on the size limited to minimal examples. From the data available, we know from skin samples that males measured between 87 to 91 inches long and weighed between 200 to 220 lbs. Females measured at 75 to 83 inches long between the pegs and weighed 143 to 176 lbs. The size difference here between the Bali and the Bengal for example, is abundantly clear.
- Male: 200-220 lbs (90-100 kg)
- Female: 143-176 lbs (65-80 kg)
- Male: 87-91 in (220-230 cm)
- Female: 75-83 in (190-210 cm)
- Region: Island of Bali
You can see from the data that the range of tiger sizes can vary quite dramatically. From female Sumatra tigers measuring as small as 165 lbs and 2.15 meters long, to the Bengal male which can reach 570 lbs and well over 3 meters in length in their average range. Bergmann’s rule of birds and mammalian species plays a part in this, as well as habitat pressure and availability of prey.
Standardized Measuring – ‘Between The Pegs’
Historically, there was no standardized procedure of measuring tigers, or other hunted animals. Some would include the tail, some would measure body from shoulders to where the tail meets the body. Eventually a measure called ‘between the pegs’ was introduced. This was introduced to determine a size between two ‘pegs’, one at the nose, and one placed at the end of the body – the tail bone. Measurements between the pegs do not usually include the length of a stretched out tail.
What Is The Biggest Tiger Ever?
The biggest extant tiger to have been found was an adult Bengal tiger weighing 857 lbs, well above average for the species. However, there is an extinct subspecies that may have been even bigger than this!
The Ngandong tiger (Panthera tigris soloensis), lived in the Sundaland region, during the Pleistocene epoch which ended around 11600 years ago. This was before sea levels rose dramatically, causing the land here to flood, creating a series of island including the Sunda Islands. From fossilized remains of the Ngandong tiger that have been found so far, it is thought these beasts could reach as much as 880 lbs or 400 kg in weight. Larger than even the most massive Bengal tigers alive today!
What Is The Biggest Tiger Today?
The biggest tiger today, is the Bengal Tiger, which can reach up to 3 meters long and 420 lbs in weight on average. The largest ones can be even bigger, with the heaviest ever recorded reaching 857 lbs!
The Siberian Tiger historically, was bigger but recent data suggest this is no longer the case.
How Much Do Baby Tigers Weigh?
New born baby tigers weight between 1.5 and 3.5 pounds (0.68 to 1.58 kg). Bengals and Siberians tend to be a little bigger, and Sumatran to the smaller end. They grow a massive amount in their first 60 days, and can reach up to just short of 10 pounds in that short time.
Did You Know?
- Tigers are the national animal of India
- There are more tigers in captivity than in the wild
- Tigers can purr like a cat, but they cannot roar like a lion
- Tigers have striped fur to help them blend in with their environment
- Tigers are the largest member of the cat family
- Tigers can swim! They are good swimmers and often enjoy swimming in rivers or lakes.
- Tigers typically live for around 8-12 years in the wild, but can live longer in captivity.
- A group of tigers is called a ‘streak’ or an ‘ambush’.