The Truth About Tigers

The Truth About Tigers

by Michelle Higdon

Jacen and his mom walked down the path at the zoo, drinking Slurpees. “Mom,” Jacen pointed to a cage ahead of them, “I wanna go see the tigers! They’re so cool, Mom.”

His mom grinned. “Okay. Why don’t you go ahead and take a look? There’s a zookeeper up there, too. Maybe she’ll tell you some interesting things about tigers.”

“Awesome!” Jacen took off running, holding his Slurpee in one hand.

When he reached the tiger habitat, he stopped and leaned on the railing. Two white Siberian tigers rested on the grass, their heads lying on their big paws. A lady zookeeper stood in front of the display that told all about the tigers. She was talking to a group of kids and Jacen listened, hoping to learn something new about tigers.

“Okay, kids, do you want to know some cool facts about tigers?” the zookeeper clapped her hands together as the group of kids cheered and shouted. “How many of you have a cat at home?” she asked.

Jacen moved closer and thought about his pet cat at home, Tigger. Tigger was a lot smaller than these tigers. As if she was reading his mind, the zookeeper went on with her talk and said, “Well, tigers are a lot bigger than your cat. Tigers are the biggest cats in the cat family. They can be as long as eleven feet and weigh up to 660 pounds. Imagine having one of them sit in your lap. That would weigh a lot.”

Kids laughed and Jacen grinned at the thought of a 600-pound Tigger lying in his lap. The zookeeper continued, “Baby tigers are called cubs, and they leave their moms to live on their own at about two years of age. So when you’re just learning to talk and walk, tigers are living on their own.”

Jacen’s mom strolled up beside him and whispered, “What if I had made you live on your own at two? Think you could have made it?” Jacen shook his head.

“Our last fact for today is this, kids: Tigers are great swimmers. Your pet cat may not like baths, but a tiger can actually enjoy being in the water and can swim nearly four miles before stopping. Isn’t that cool?” The zookeeper finished her talk in front of the tiger enclosure and led the group of kids off to the next exhibit.

Mom and Jacen stared at the tigers for a few more minutes before they, too, headed off to find the next awesome animal at the zoo.



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