QuickCheck: Is it true that tigers have stripes under their fur?

They say a tiger cannot change its stripes. Perhaps it's because its stripes go all the way down past its fur.

FROM Malaysia's coat of arms to logos such as that of the police, national car, bank and even our national football team, tigers symbolise bravery, power and strength.

From their behaviour, abilities and appearance, everything about these fierce but endangered big cats is magnificent - especially their iconic striped fur.

Having said that, is it true that a tiger's stripes go beyond its fur, all the way to its skin?



Beneath their fur, tigers possess a feature that sets them apart from other big cats or any other animal on the planet.

If you were to shave a tiger (but for your own sake, please don't) you will see those same stripes on their skin.

This unique feature is due to their coloured hair follicles embedded in the skin being visible, similar to that of a man's beard stubble.

According to Paul 'Little Ray' Goulet, the founder of Little Ray’s Nature Centre, these stripes are as unique to a tiger as a fingerprint is to a human.

The owner of the largest exotic animal rescue in Canada said there are no two tigers that have the same identical stripe patterns.

But what are the stripes for?

Unlike fingerprints for humans, they are not meant to verify their identification. On the contrary, the stripes are meant to camouflage their identities (well, sort of).

Goulet explained that the stripes are disruptive colouration in nature that "helps break up the outline of a tiger".

When prowling within tall grasses, the stripes, similar to that of a zebra, make it hard for them to be seen.

But as opposed to a zebra whose main objective is to hide, this appearance helps a tiger to ambush their unsuspecting prey.

You might think the bright orange and black stripes would stick out like a sore thumb in a dark green jungle.

However, research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface has proven that the mammals that tigers hunt are only able to process blue and green, making them 'colour blind' to orange.

This means that a hunting tiger would blend into the environment seamlessly, with its potential victim unaware of its presence until it's too late.


1. https://ecentral.my/jata-negara-malaysia/

2. https://youtu.be/BlZpsWzJbN4?si=gHH_kn_fuRMBxEZg

3. https://www.treehugger.com/fascinating-facts-about-tigers-4863718

4. https://www.nathab.com/blog/why-do-tigers-have-stripes/

5. https://uniquetimes.org/the-enigmatic-tigers-unraveling-the-mysteries-of-striped-skin-and-unique-patterns/

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