In general, tigers tend to avoid each other rather than fight. When tigers do fight, they seldom fight to the death, but injuries may occur that later cause death. Both male and female tigers will fight other tigers if necessary to defend, expand, or acquire a territory. Male tigers may fight another male if both are attracted to the same breeding female. Male tigers may occasionally attack and kill young tiger cubs. Conversely, female tigers will attack male tigers and other predators to protect their young.
Tigers are essentially solitary animals, except for courting pairs and females with young. Tigers with adjoining ranges may have friendly relationships, but even individuals with overlapping ranges usually keep 2 to 5 km (1-3 mi. ) apart. Though they hunt alone, tigers sometimes share their kills with other tigers. Female tigers regularly share kills with their young dependent cubs. Sibling tigers, when learning how to hunt independently in their mother's range, occasionally share kills. Male and female tigers may share a kill during courtship.
Groups of two or more tigers, of various ages and sexes, may share a kill if food is plentiful. These aggregations are most often observed at man made feeding stations where prey is regularly provided (to attract tigers). When young tiger cubs share a kill with each other and/or their mother, they often feed simultaneously. When adult tigers share a kill, usually only one tiger feeds at a time.
Tigers are essentially nocturnal. Most tigers are active and moving primarily at night (sunset to sunrise). Night activities include hunting (a tiger's prey is also active at night), patrolling and marking home ranges, courting mates, and tending to young. These same activities may also occur during the day, but less frequently. If hunting is unsuccessful during the night, a hungry tiger will hunt during the day. Mother tigers will also hunt during the day to provide enough food for their cubs.
Tigers are least active from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Activity steadily decreases after sunrise, reaching its lowest point at mid-day. Movement gradually increases again until the hour before sunset, when the majority of tigers are active. Mid-morning to mid-afternoon is the hottest part of the day. To stay cool, tigers often rest in dense vegetation, or lie along, and in, streams and rivers. Most daily movements take place on land, but tigers are also good swimmers. Tigers can easily cross rivers 6 to 8 km (4-5 mi. ) wide, and have been known to swim distances of up to 29 km (18 mi. ).
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