why do tigers pace back and forth
Tigers, like all captive animals, can tend to pace back and forth as a way of coping with the stress of captivity. Due to stress, captive wild cats breed poorly, which is why it is hard to maintain population levels in zoos and also why zoos are bad because the cats are sometimes imported from the wild. The Born Free site says cats breed well in captivity. This is incorrect in my opinion. You'll see human prisoners in confinement in their cell for 23 hours in a day pacing in the same way. It is obviously therapeutic. I wonder if they copied it from captive animals in cages or whether it just happened naturally. Sometimes you'll see stand up comedians on stage walking back and forth.
It seems to help delivery. Why does pacing ease stress? I am not sure. It probably distracts the mind as the mind has to work to a certain extent when pacing. Pacing may be a form of displacement behaviour much like nail biting in
humans and nose licking in cats. It displaces anxiety and uncertainty. When I visited A1 Savannahs, the breeder who bred "Magic" the world's tallest domestic cat (a female F1 Savannah now living in Calif. ), a male serval was pacing. He was in a 30 foot by 15 foot enclosure with his female serval companion. Their job was to create serval cubs for sale. Morpheus was stressed, obviously.
For our guests at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as our viewers, itвs not uncommon to see the tigers roaming the perimeter of their yards, or even strolling back and forth across a smaller area.
This activity can be attributed to a number of factors, many of which are a clear reflection of life for their wild cousins. In the wild, tigers patrol the perimeter of their territory on a regular basis and can sometimes walk more than 10 miles in one night while hunting. Consequently, we consider it a natural, species-appropriate exercise when they cruise their territorial boundaries, whether itвs to check out the smells left behind by another cat the day before, to remark the borders with their own signature scent, or to just make sure that everything is well within their domain!
The perimeter fencing around Tiger Trail keeps the local mule deer from ever getting into close proximity with the tiger yards. At the former tiger habitat, we d frequently have deer around the perimeter of the exhibit and on the trail by the catch pen, and all the cats would do was sit and stare for hours! Our tigers have it pretty good within their yards; they have all their needs met and basically get everything served to them on a platter, so they have no real motivation to expand their territory. And while tigers are capable of climbing, they re pretty inefficient at it, especially once they re full grown.
Typically, when we see the cats walking back and forth across a smaller area, itвs because something has them particularly inspired. Often, this can be the anticipation of an upcoming training session, especially if one of their keepers is in close proximity. Sometimes, however, their excitement has more to do with the other tigers. For example, when one of our females is in estrus, weвll often see an increase in activity from them, as well as our adult male, Teddy. Also, as the cats are still acclimating to all of their new human guests, weвll sometimes see them become a bit more enthusiastic when they catch sight of a particular passer-by (usually one of the smaller ones! ).
Our guests often, albeit unknowingly, provide a great source of environmental enrichment for the tigers. If helping to enrich the tigers sounds like fun, be sure to visit us on Tuesday, July 29, when weвll be celebrating Global Tiger Day! Weвll have keeper talks, training demonstrations, and enrichment-building workshops, where you can create real tiger toys and then see them put to use! It will be a day not to be missed for all of our tiger fans. Be sure to come out and show your stripes! Lori Gallo is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read her previous post,.
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