Royal Bengal tiger
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When does a tiger pook?

While one does hear of residents of the animal kingdom mimicking other species, one doesn’t often hear the same of the tiger. Interestingly, tigers have been observed to ‘pook’ – meaning make a sound very similar to the alarm call of a Sambhar deer, the tiger’s pet prey. Tribals in the Nilgiri have for a long time maintained that tigers mimic their prey as a hunting strategy. Even hunters in Siberia tell tales of Amur tigers imitating the call of Asian black bears, a regular prey for tigers.

According to the research work of George Schaller, tigers pook when peeing, when trying to distract a male tiger away from a kill, on seeing a man on a tree or even when shot at. But never have they pooked during a hunt. Schaller’s summation was that tigers looked to announce their presence and prevent sudden encounters. Which is quite the opposite of hunting.

Featured above:

Royal Bengal tiger | Binomial name: Panthera tigris tigris

This is from my first tiger sighting ever. This massive male was hiding in the thicket, but then later emerged and gave me the show of a lifetime for the next 30 minutes. Like all times, it’s a sighting that’s firmly entrenched in my memory. I didn’t get to hear the tiger pook, but I did get a shot of it pooping. I’ll save that for a later post, maybe.

Conservation Status: Endangered (IUCN 3.1)

Kingdom: Animalia | Class: Mammalia | Order: Carnivora | Family: Felidae

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Rahul Jauhari

Rahul Jauhari

A well-known name in the advertising and marketing industry, Rahul is also the founder of Live Equal Foundation, a nonprofit force dedicated to removing inequity from the world. He is an avid birder, wildlife warrior and feels at home in the forest.

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