Das Tigerspiel im Schnee

Three young Amur tigers (aka Siberian tigers) and their mom in the Bronx Zoo, encountering their first deep snow in this week’s blizzard.  This subspecies is adapted to snow—it’s now restricted to eastern Siberia—so they have the genes to tolerate it, but seemingly not the genes to recognize it!


  1. Posted December 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I so want a Kevlar suit so I can join in the game of tag….



    • Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t that take the fun out of it… for the kitteh?

      Heh, reminds me of the way my dad would play with the dog (a german sheppard) which, by the end of it, my dad would be grinning from ear to ear with his arms covered in blood (his own). The dog liked to play rough, and my dad didn’t mind 😉

      • Posted December 29, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Baihu’s favorite toys are my hands. They’re perpetually scratched up, as are my shoulders — his favorite perch.

        It’s just…well, Baihu’s teeth and claws are maybe a quarter inch long. He can — and frequently does — draw blood.

        I’m sure it’d be a blast playing patty-cake with a tiger…for about ten seconds, until your hand got ripped to the bone and the sinews severed….

        But with a steel-reinforced Kevlar bodysuit? Game on!


    • Posted December 29, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t do you any good, kevlar is useless against blades, and claws are blades.

      • Posted December 30, 2010 at 4:41 am | Permalink

        Shows you what I know.

        Surely there’s gotta be something that’d let you play patty-cake with a tiger with impunity, no?


        • Sal Bro
          Posted December 30, 2010 at 9:29 am | Permalink


        • Posted January 1, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          Chainmail might be a better bet, though I’m sure you’d still come out covered in bruises.

  2. Digitus Impudicus
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    They seems to be having a great time. My house-cat plays the exact same way: Pounce, gentle claws, gentle bite, lick, relax, repeat.

  3. Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Fing Ich die Praxis an, Deutsch für die Schlagzeile zu verwenden?

    The cats are beautiful, and so obviously playing too, and enjoying the snow. I have seen Bengal tigers in the wild, never Siberian ones. Tigers in India were found in the “hills” (in the mountains where I grew up), where it snowed. Would they not have been adapted to snow?

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I got tired of English titles; foreign ones add some faux class to the post!

      Tigers in the wild! In what part of India did you grow up? I suspect the tigers might have gone down when it snowed.

      • Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Ah, perhaps they did. I grew up in Mussoorie, in what is now called Uttar Anchal, but then was Uttar Pradesh. Mussoorie is a hill station about 6-7000 feet above sea level, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

      • stvs
        Posted December 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink


    • Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Why is it that everyone’s lives seem so much more interesting than mine? I got to get out more… that reminds me, I have to return a library book.

  4. Gayle K. Stone
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Unt drei schneebrunzers, nicht var.

  5. Simon
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful to see them looking so healthy & vibrant.
    But a question, do Amur tigers change their colouration in the winter to better merge in with the background?
    Couldn’t help but notice they stick out somewhat.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Good question! No, they don’t: they’re orange and stripey all year ’round. You’d think that genes that make them turn white in winter, like those of the arctic hare or arctic fox, would camouflage them from prey, but perhaps those genes just don’t exist.

      • Posted December 29, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Did you read PZ’s review yesterday of Nick Lane and William Martin’s work on the energy available in cells to explore genomic space? If so…would you care to make a wild guess as to how many generations it’d take for tigers to express such a trait (assuming, of course, we weren’t driving them extinct)?



  6. H.H.
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I liked when the one tiger jumped on the other and shoved its face into the snow around the :45 second mark. I used to do that to my little sister too. Heh.

  7. Posted December 30, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I wonder what that bird call in the background is. Maybe some sort of pheasant…?

    Background vocalizations are one of the pleasures of being at a zoo all day. Siamangs…gibbons…lions…bald eagles…zebras…hippos…’phants…cranes…

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  1. […] du biologiste Jerry Coyne (du blogue Why Evolution Is True, où j’ai piqué – sans vergogne aucune – cette vidéo): cette variété de tigre a […]

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