Tigers are carnivores and a carnivore’s basic diet consists of raw meat. Their dentition (teeth) and digestive system are developed to process animal proteins and not plant matter.
Diet & Schedule
The animal proteins we feed to the carnivores are red meat – equine (horsemeat) and beef – and poultry (human quality chicken and turkey). Chicken necks are a portion of their diets as they work like toothbrushes to clean and keep tartar off the animals’ teeth. Chicken necks provide quality protein, are high in calcium and unlike other poultry bones, the vertebrae are small, smooth, and rounded, do not splinter and will pass through the digestive system without causing injury.
Diets are prepared and fed at a rate of ~2 to 4 pounds of meat per 100 pounds of animal body weight. The amount of food fed is dependent on their species, weight, age, activity level, hormone cycles and other needs. Animal diets are monitored daily and adjusted based on the animals needs and requirements (including scat patterns or health concerns).
Supplements including bone meal (calcium/phosphorous), multi-vitamins and probiotics are added to each meal. Glucosamine with chondroitin is provided to the animals prone to joint issues related to size, disability, and/or age.
Larger cats – tigers, pumas, etc. are fasted one day a week during the warmer months, and depending on weight, health, age, and condition, this may also be the practice in the winter. Larger cats, except for lucky/skilled lions, do not eat daily in the wild, and their gut system is designed to be emptied regularly.
It takes our dedicated, hard-working staff ~ 4 hours each day to prepare the food for the animals. Feeding all of the hungry tummies takes close to an hour – we take our time to ensure safe practices – and food is lapped up promptly upon service.
Visitors to the Wildlife Center enjoy watching feeding time scheduled daily an hour before closing time.
Come See Our Tigers
As a rescue center our tiger population ebbs and flows with older animals, all with unique personalities and stories. We invite you to walk within 10 feet of majestic Siberian Tigers, Bengal Tigers and – if he is feeling it – Nalin, the white tiger.
Big Cat Feeding Adventures are available until just before full zoo feeding time and bring you even closer to the tigers. Private tours are the best option of all to experience these fantastic animals.
In the Wild
The powerful predator generally hunts alone, able to bring down prey such as deer and antelope. Tigers wait until dark to hunt. The tiger sprints to an unsuspecting animal, usually pulling it off its feet with its teeth and claws. If the prey animal is large, the tiger bites its throat to kill it; smaller prey is usually killed when the tiger breaks its neck. Tigers have been known to eat up to 60 pounds of meat in one night, but more often they consume about 12 pounds during a meal. It may take days for a tiger to finish eating its kill. The cat eats until it’s full, and then covers the carcass with leaves and dirt. The tiger comes back to feed some more.
Siberian Tigers are solitary with a diet of large ungulates (wild pig, elk, musk deer, roe deer, brown bear), but also small animals (rodents, fishes, turtles, crayfish, insects). The northern most population, faced with harsh environmental conditions including severe winters and low prey population densities. They are very reclusive compared to their tropical counter parts and avoid contact with humans. They avoid hunting in areas with deep snow cover, partly because few prey frequent these areas, but also because the unstable snow crust makes walking difficult and noisy. They usually spend 2-3 days with a large kill before abandoning the carcass, but small prey is consumed quickly.