- Member of the cat family.
- Lives on the flesh of other animals. Sometimes kills men.
- His stripes are protective coloration.
- What useful part does the tiger play in the world, if any?
The tiger is really a large cat. Look at the domestic cat lying in the sun, creeping behind the bush in the attempt to catch a sparrow. Every part of the cat, every movement, is just that of the tiger on a small scale. Look at the teeth of the cat or the tiger; they are long and sharp-pointed. They are made for tearing flesh, and not like the flat-topped teeth of the cow or the horse, which Nature made to help them to eat grass and grain. The tiger is an animal which lives on the flesh of the other jungle beasts, deer or pigs, or on the cattle of the village people. The panther is also a member of this flesh-eating hunting family.
Next consider the black stripes of the tiger on its yellow skin. These are exactly like the shadows of reeds or branches on the yellow, dry grass of the jungle. Among the jungle grasses, the tiger is very difficult to see. Nature has made his colour to match or harmonize with his surroundings. This is what we call “protective coloration”, and is seen also in the colours of snakes. The tiger can creep up very close to the sambur or chital which he hunts, or to the grazing buffalo. Then a quick spring and a wrench of his powerful jaws, and the unfortunate animal is killed and carried off are Sometimes a tiger becomes old and slow, and cannot hunt deer any longer. Or he may be wounded by the bullet of a viallger with his muzzle-loading gun, or hurt in some accident. Then he turns to look for an easier game, and kills men. A man-eating tiger often kills scores of men and women in the district before he is killed. Sportsmen sit up over a buffalo, which is tied in the jungle to attract the tiger, or else get a number of beaters to drive him out. Then a shot, and the dangerous animal has ceased to trouble.
Seen in his cage in the zoo, the tiger appears lazy and slow. But there are many of them still in East Pakistan, India and Burma, striking terror into the hearts of the village people. It is said that every living creature serves some useful purpose. What useful purpose is served by the tiger is doubtful to see.