Not As Different As People Think (Nonfiction)


Not as Different as People Think

(By Inspirational Butterfly, Owner of Inspirational Writing) 

    The Siberian (or Amur) tiger and the timber (or gray) wolf: two completely different animals, right? Not quite. Although they have many differences, these creatures actually share many similarities. Curious? Read on to learn more about these two amazing, unique, and majestic animals-Panthera tigris altica (Siberian tiger) and Canis Lupus (wolf).

    Due to the cold climate of its habitat, the Siberian tiger has a very thick coat. The tiger is famous for its flame-colored fur, jet black stripes, and piercing emerald eyes. It is a massive creature with broad shoulders, large paws, and sharp teeth and claws. Being the largest living cat on the Earth, the Siberian tiger is 10.75 feet (3.3 meters) tall on its hind legs, and when on all four paws, its head comes up to the shoulders of a 6-foot tall man. Each tiger weighs about 660 pounds (300 kilograms). Although its habitat isn’t usually as cold as Siberia, the timber wolf also has a thick coat. It does not need to seek shelter in winter, for it does not feel the cold through its unique pelt. The fur has two layers—one, the bottom layer, is thin and waterproof, and the top layer, which it sheds in the spring, is thick and warm. The fur can be any color from solid white to black, although their coat is usually the color they’re named after: gray. A well-muscled animal, the wolf can fight well. With sharp teeth, powerful hind legs for leaping, and swift feet, the wolf is a very skillful hunter, much like the Siberian tiger (National Geographic, web, “Siberian Tiger”, National Geographic, web, “Wolf”).

            The Siberian tiger eats large animals such as deer, antelope, and water buffalo. When hunting, it first uses its powerful scent glands to detect its prey. Then, the tiger will creep up to the animal until it is about 10 to 15 feet away from the unsuspecting creature. Ever so patient, the tiger may then wait up to half an hour before breaking cover and leaping, killing its prey instantly with a crushing pounce, sharp claws in the neck, and a killing bite to the backbone of the animal. The gray, or timber, wolf is not very picky about prey and will eat anything from mice to caribou. When after larger animals, wolves usually organize a ‘hunting party’, in which a group of wolves form a pack going out together to hunt as a team. A hunting party usually contains about four to five wolves. Members of the party will surround the target animal, remaining undetected. When all are in position, they will attack the animal by jumping on its back and grabbing its legs on signal. The leader of the hunting party will give this signal, usually a bark, growl, or occasionally a howl. They will then bring the carcass back to their pack and share it with the other wolves (National Geographic, web, “Siberian Tiger”, National Geographic, web, “Wolf”).

            Siberian tigers get their name from where they live in the cold, northern forests of Siberia. Far away from humans, the tiger’s habitat has one of the most complete ecosystems on Earth. The Siberian tiger and the timber wolf share a dislike of humans, Thus, the wolf also loves in thick forests away from most men, but while the tiger is a solitary animal, the wolf usually lives in packs. Studies have shown that, in packs, wolves have different ‘ranks’. As humans, we call the wolf ranks Alpha, Beta (or Bravo), Gamma (or Charlie), etc. The leaders of the pack would be the dominant male wolf and his mate. They are called the Alpha male and the Alpha female. Wolves of lower tanks must show respect to the higher ranks, or they may be punished. Timber wolves are very adaptable and live all over the world, therefore making them the most common breed of wolf. They are more commonly referred to as the gray wolf (National Geographic, web, “Siberian Tiger”, National Geographic, web, “Wolf”).

             One fun fact about tigers is that the Siberians love to swim and are good at it, too. Not many other cats like water, except the panther, of course. A lesser-known fact is if a male tiger is hungry and/or ill-tempered, he may kill, and possibly eat, his own children. Male wolves do a similar thing; it is very common for a male wolf to do something called ‘housing’, killing his mate and pups that inhabit his den. Something more pleasant is that the wolf can eat more than 50 pounds of food a day-and often does. (National Geographic, book, “TIGER! Lord of the Indian jungle”).

            The Siberian (or Amur) tiger and the timber (or gray) wolf: two completely different animals, right? Wrong! Yes, these animals have plenty of differences, but when studied closely, they are also very much alike. Most importantly, they are both part of one amazing, beautiful, wild, wild world!