While some hunting occurs in the daytime, tigers are mostly nocturnal, exhibiting activity that coincides with their prey.
While some hunting activity occurs in the daytime, tigers are mostly nocturnal, exhibiting a pattern of activity that coincides roughly with that of their principal prey.
A tiger’s time is largely consumed by the need to find food, and tigers typically travel widely to find enough to eat. Not surprisingly, there are few reliable estimates of the distances traveled in the course of a night’s hunting.
In the Russian Far East, by following fresh tiger tracks in the snow, researchers estimated that tigers commonly traveled 15-20 kilometers per day.
In Chitwan National Park, radio-tagged tigresses covered about 7-10 kilometers per night, traveling at roughly 0.7 kilometers per hour. Males traveled farther than females, and one adult male in Chitwan regularly used the park road to traverse the length of his territory, often walking 30 kilometers in a night.
In Nagarahole National Park, where prey is super-abundant, radio-tagged tigers cover only about 3 kilometers per night, and move at a mean rate of 0.21 kilometers per hour. This is a remarkably short distance and, in addition to not traveling very far, Nagarhole tigers also spend only a few hours, (25-35% of the night,) on the move. In Chitwan, tigresses were active and moved intermittently throughout the night, suggesting that tigers in Nagarahole rely more on ambush than active searching to locate prey, a likely consequence of an abundance of ungulate prey in Nagarahole.