The Difference Between Bengal And Siberian Tigers

“Even after killing ninety nine tigers the Maharaja should beware of the hundredth.” —Kalki Krishnamurthy, in “The Tiger King”

In A Nutshell

Tigers are the largest members of the cat family, and the subject of numerous, worldwide conservation efforts. There are several different subspecies of tiger (three have already gone extinct in this century), with the Siberian (or “Amur”) and the Bengal being the most commonly seen and spoken about. While they might look very similar, differences include size, habitat, and even their color.

The Whole Bushel

One of the most obvious differences is where they are found. The Bengal tiger is also known as the Indian tiger, as it found in scattered (now rather isolated) pockets throughout India. There are also Bengal tigers found in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Bhutan, and along the eastern coast of China. The climate here is temperate to tropical and very wet, with the tigers thriving in mangrove forests, grasslands, and deciduous forests.

The Siberian tiger’s natural habitat is the much, much colder areas to the north. The handful that still exist in the wild can mostly be found in the chilly forests of Eastern Russia, with some in the northernmost parts of China and Korea. In stark contrast to the more temperate habitats of its cousins, the Siberian tiger thrives in coniferous and birch forests where the temperatures can reach as low as -45° Celsius (-50 F).

The differences in habitat mean that the Siberian tiger has developed a much thicker, heavier coat than the Bengal. They also tend to have thick fat stores along their sides and belly that help to keep them insulated against the below-freezing temperatures.

There are also differences in color that developed from their different habitats. The Siberian tiger is the lightest of all tiger subspecies, with their coats tending to be a much paler orange than their southern cousins. The stripes of a Siberian tiger are brown instead of black, but all tigers share the trait of having completely unique stripe patterns, much like our fingerprints. While tigers are very fast over short distances, they use camouflage to stalk their prey; the drastic difference in color is necessary to keep them hidden in their different environments.

Siberian tigers are the bigger of the two subspecies, with males weighing up to 300 kilograms (675 lbs) and standing up to 0.9 meters (3 ft) at the shoulder. Bengal tigers tend to reach their max size at around 240 kilograms (525 lbs), while being slightly shorter. The females of both species are considerably smaller than the males.

Habitat differences also lead to a different diet, though both tiger subspecies are easily capable of single-handedly taking down prey that is much, much bigger than they are. The Siberian tiger tends to hunt creatures like elk and deer, but has been known to kill and eat bears as well as smaller game. The Bengal will hunt water buffalo, wild pigs, and other large, hoofed animals, even rhinos and elephants. Bengals that have been tagged and released show a wide hunting ground, covering up to 50 square kilometers (20 sq mi) in a single night’s hunt. The Siberian can cover twice that.

The Bengal is the least endangered of the tiger species, but that’s not necessarily something to be proud of. They could once be found throughout their South Asia habitat, but as of 2013 it’s estimated that there are only about 1,850 individuals left in the wild. The Siberian tiger, too, is being pushed out of their native habitat. While the harsh conditions they live in make it less likely that they’re going to encroach on someone’s territory, logging and deforestation—along with poaching—have left less than 500 individuals in the wild.

Show Me The Proof

NatGeo: Siberian Tiger
Natgeo: Bengal Tiger
ARKive: Tiger videos, photos and facts

  • Ricky Sanowara

    Lion = king of the savannah
    Tiger = king of the jungle

    • Hadeskabir

      What about the Liger?

      • HockeyFan69

        King of Idaho.

        • Hadeskabir

          I don’t understand if that is a joke or reference to something.

          • Dumas911

            While he’s referencing Napoleon Dynamite, Ligars are real. It’s the offspring of a male lion and female tiger. There’s also Tiglions where the male is tiger and female lion. Look it up!

          • Nomsheep

            He was the one that brought up Ligers. It was the reference he didn’t understand.

          • Dumas911

            Oh my bad I didn’t realize he’s the one that said ligers, and was talking to the Idaho comment.

          • Fortubase

            There is only one knon liger in the world

          • sean

            that’s so not true. Ligers are bred in many captivities

        • MervynLeo

          I can’t see the point of cross-breeding Lions with Tigers.It’s selfish and treats animals like trophies or circus freaks, If people are going to keep these animals in private zoos, at least respect them in case one day they might be needed (ie extinction in the wild)

          And by the way, Ligers are infertile – like mules.

      • Srinjoy Roychoudhury

        King of the zoo.


      thank you

    • MervynLeo

      Domestic cat = king of the house

  • Hadeskabir

    Majestic creatures. I love them.

  • Ashiqur Rahman

    Bengal comes from the word Bangla from there BANGLADESH and not once is there mentioned about bangladesh. Its written Bengal tiger is scattered thoughout iNDIA. Didnt know that BD was part of India… As a Bangladeshi feel infuriated by the writters complacy…

    • inconspicuous detective

      calm down. you’re right but the tiger is also found in india as well as bangladesh.

    • Zagga

      India does have a state called ‘West Bengal’, so Bengal is partly in India.

    • Exiled Phoenix

      Bangladesh is not nuclear armed…. Get some nukes and you’ll be recognized. Otherwise you’re just a borderland.

      • Sopnill

        Just wait and watch !

    • Anmol Chopra

      There was no Bangladesh when the bengal tiger was named bengal tiger.. Bangldesh was just a small state of India called East Bengal.. West bengal is still in India.. East bengal is now Bangladesh.. Hence the name bengal tiger is not derived from bangladesh.. Infact the word Bangladesh is deriver from bengal

    • Whitney Cavanaugh

      They aren’t just called Bengal Tigers, a lot of people actually call them Indian Tigers, because they originated in India. Read up on your books a little more

    • Rahul Singh

      It’s a ridiculous statement to make bringing in countries into question and even more so when the 2016 tiger count tells us that there are 106 tigers left in Bangladesh while 2,226 in India. Also that the most comprehensive and dedicated conservation programmes including the famous ‘Project Tiger’ is run in India.

  • Pawesl

    Tigers are my favorite animal. It would be devastating if they became fully extinct.

  • inconspicuous detective

    it’s such a shame that we’ll likely witness the extinction of these creatures in our lifetime. that is, at least the siberian tiger.

    • Eyan Khan

      Let’s hope not!!there are still about 300 left in the wild, with a little conservation it can be brought up.

      • inconspicuous detective

        from what i understand, it’s inevitable mate.

      • Nomsheep

        Even if they manage to survive there will be a lot of interbreeding with such small a population which would cause the even more issues.

  • Atlas

    I want to hug one but I have a feeling it will maul my face off…….why can’t cute yet extremely dangerous animals just accept my love! 🙁

    • Exiled Phoenix

      Because your love angers and confuses them!

    • Nomsheep

      Hug a baby one then!

      • Atlas

        I saw a video of a baby White Bengal tiger trying to walk to his food bowl, let me just say it was one of the most adorable things ever.

  • swaishna Baburaja

    i love tigers… every one should like them

  • swaishna Baburaja

    Majestic creatures

  • Fortubase

    What does the tiglon equal

  • Sopnill

    The person
    who made this article he or she does not have proper knowledge about the
    “Bengal Tigers”. The origin and the prime leaving place of
    “Bengal Tigers” is “Sundarban” (Sundarban is a mangrove
    forest comprising with Bangladesh and West Bengal of India), however there are
    some places in India and some other places in the world where “Bengal
    Tigers” can be found but they are very few in number and all of them are
    migrated from the Sundarban. The largest amount of “Bengal Tigers”
    resides in “Sunderban” and the Sundeban’s Tigers are very gorgeous
    and dangerous in nature, they are man eater. However, the Sundarban covers
    approximately 10,000 square kilometers of which 60% is in Bangladesh and 40% is
    in India. Since the largest area of Sundarban is in Bangladesh so the largest
    amount of “Bengal Tigers” are resides in “Bangladeshi
    Sonderban” (there are many videos available on youtube upon ‘Tigers of the
    Bangladeshi Sundarban’ and most of them are created by the renowned
    ‘international wild life journalists’). Another thing is the term
    “Bengal” came from “Bangla” and the mother language of
    Bangladesh people is “Bangla” which is the National language of
    Bangladesh and it is only the Bangladeshi people who give their blood to save
    their mother language on 21 February 1952 and for this reason the 21 February becomes
    “International Mother Language Day” by the (UNESCO). However, once upon
    a time when the people of Eastern India
    are speaks in Bangla but now a days the people of Eastern India fill proud to
    talked in Hindi or English because Bangla is not there National language so it
    is only the Bangladeshi people who can claimed that the Bangla is our language,
    Bangla is our country (Bangla+desh=Bangladesh, the meaning of “desh”
    is “country”) and the “Bengal Tiger” is our Tiger not only
    that the Bangle Tiger is the National animal of Bangladesh and one of the
    official national symbols as well. So it is very unfortunate that the author
    did not mention the name of Bangladesh anywhere in his articles. I am inviting
    you came to Bangladesh and visit the Bangladeshi Sundarban, I can assure you
    that you will never forget the beauty of nature of Sunderban rest of your life.

    • Elizabeth C. Okagbare

      Thank you all for sharing. I appreciate the information and feel enlightened. God willing, I must witness the beauty of the Sunderban sometime in my life. Praise God, for creating such beauty as the Bengal Tiger and its habitat, in this world, we should all respect and appreciate it all.

    • Rahul Singh

      Probably because the author of the article on tigers is not struck with nationalist or liguistic bigotry to the level that he will either entertain such unnecessary and out of context information or make false claims to support them. The 2016 Tiger census figures tell us that there are 106 Royal Bengal Tigers in Bangladesh, 103 in Bhutan, 198 in Nepal and 2,226 in India to be found in there natural habitat. The number of Bengal tigers in Nepal are likely to be more than twice than the numbers recorded because out of the four it has no proper tracking system.

      Also most Bengal Tigers are not found in Bengal or Bangladesh just because humans named them “Bengal Tigers”. This particular species of tigers were found across the Indian Subcontinent. From places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan they becam extinct between the second half of 19th century and first half of 20th century. Though they survived in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. In India there are 50 tiger reserves or dedicated/protected natural tiger habitats.
      The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in partnership with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) undertook an independent management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) of the 44 tiger reserves in the country. The reserves were categorized into four major categories. Karnataka has the highest number of tigers in the age group of 1.5 years with more 408 big cats. Other states with significant populations included Uttarakhand (340), Madhya Pradesh (308), Tamil Nadu (229), Maharashtra (190), Assam (167), Kerala (136) and Uttar Pradesh (117).

      The famous “Project Tiger” is the most comprehensive, dedicated and succesful Tiger conservation programme in the world which though there is much left to desire yet can be credited with saving the Royal Bengal Tiger from total extinction by now.