Saber tooth tiger facts take you back to thousands of years ago. Saber tooth tiger (Smilodon) is an extinct animal that belonged to the genus Machairodonts. The animal was native to North and South America. The study of history holds out that saber tooth animal existed some ten thousand years ago in the Pleistocene era.
Saber tooth Tiger Facts
Physical Characteristics and Behavior
- Like modern day big cats saber-tooth tiger had a strong built but much stockier than modern day cats. It had short legs, short ears, and short feet. It had a short tail too. The cat had sharp claws powerful enough to rip off the flesh of prey.
- Saber tooth cats were able to reach a height of 3 feet, and weighed around 440 pounds. They used to have a length of 4.5 feet.
- The cat’s teeth could be as long as 7 inches. They had to hunt quite vigilantly as these teeth were fragile and could break easily.
- Smilodons could also open their mouth wide open like a snake—perhaps because they had to keep their canines away while eating.
- The color of the cat is still unknown and the fossil record turns out to be inadequate to reach any conclusion.
- It is a sit-and-wait predator and it only pounces when its prey is near enough.
- The structure of the bones tells us that saber tooth cat could roar in the same way as present day cats do. They also used to fight over mates.
- The upper canines of the saber tooth tiger were 30 cm (12 inches). One of the heaviest cat species lived in those times was Smilodon Populator that weighed even 500 kilograms (1,100 lb).The saber tooth cat was neither a subspecies of tiger nor lion.
- They used to have strong legs, mighty jaws and robust neck which gave it a unique look. These Smilodons had been known for their two bigger teeth that could be seen in the saber tooth tiger picture. This kind of cat had shoulders greater than its hips. The two long canines did not come into play while hunting down the prey since they would more likely to break as a result. These two canines are flimsy.
Feeding Diet and Ecology
The study of saber tooth tiger facts about its diet and hunting show that these animals normally preyed on deer, buffalo, antelopes, camels, ground sloths, bison, and tapirs. They had also been known to hunt mammoths and mastodons. Smilodons had also killed quite a few humans even though there is little or no evidence to support whatsoever.
The saber tooth cat used to have a fairly widespread distribution throughout North America. But it occupied much of its range in the southern part such as the present California, Texas, and Florida.
Scientists have also discovered some fossils from the New Mexico.
Saber tooth tigers used to live in those areas where they could easily find their prey which mainly consisted of herbivores (plant eating animals). So the habitat of these tigers included open grasslands, shrubby areas and pine forests where they could easily find their prey.
Fossils record suggests that they also lived in icy lands as they lived during the period which was the end of the Dinosaurs and during the Ice Age.
Saber tooth Tiger Extinction
Saber tooth tiger had become extinct around 10,000 B.C. Apart from other possible causes for their extinction; prehistoric humans would have been supposedly responsible for the absolute extermination of smilodon.
Some biologists maintain that the arrival of ice age which changed the vegetation pattern for these animals caused extinction. Biologists found some fossils that pronounce that saber tooth tigers were not tigers at all; rather they had been related to the family of tigers.
- Smilodon gracilis (2,500,000 – 500,000 years ago), Weight 55 – 100 kg (120 – 220 lb)
- Smilodon fatalis (1,600,000 – 10,000 years ago), Weight 160 – 280 kg (350 – 620 lb)
- Smilodon populator (1,000,000 – 10,000 years ago), Weight 360 – 470 kg (790 – 1,000 lb); Length 2.6 metres (100 inches); Shoulder Height 1.40 metres (55 inches)