We have gathered the best Saber tooth tiger facts to let you know all about this amazing animal. Saber tooth tiger (also called Smilodon) is an extinct animal that belongs to the genus Machairodonts. The cat was native to North America and South America.
The saber tooth tiger is thought to have existed about 10,000 years ago during the Pleistocene era. There is more to this amazing animal than you have seen in the Ice Age movie, continue reading to know more about it.
Saber tooth Tiger Facts
- Like modern day big cats saber-tooth tiger had a strong built but much stockier than modern cats. It had short legs, short ears, and short feet. It had a short tail too. It 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 had length measuring up to 4.5 feet.
- S. populator has the longest canine teeth measuring 28 cm (11 in). They stood 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder with the body length of about 175 cm (69 in).
- S. gracilis is the smallest of Smilodons weighing up to 55 to 100 kg (120 to 220 lb). The average weight of S. fatalis is 160 to 280 kg (350 to 620 lb). The largest Smilodon is S. populator which is 220 to 400 kg (490 to 880 lb) in weight.
- Its teeth could be as long as 7 inches. Smilodon had to hunt quite vigilantly because their teeth were fragile and could break easily.
- Smilodons could also open its mouth wide open like a snake—in fact the cat had to keep their canines away while eating.
- The color of the coat is still unknown and the fossil record is not adequate to reach any conclusion.
- Unlike modern cats, saber tooth tiger did not possess forward-facing eyes.
- They had strong legs, mighty jaws and robust neck which gave it a unique look. Saber tooth tigers are often admired for their teeth that could be seen in the saber tooth tiger picture. They had shoulders greater than its hips. The two long canines were not used while preying animals. These two canines are flimsy.
- Smilodon is a sit-and-wait predator and it only pounces when its prey is close enough.
- The structure of the bones tells us that saber tooth cat could roar in the same way as present day cats do. They used to fight over mates.
- The upper canines of the saber tooth tiger are 30 cm (12 inches). The saber tooth cat was neither a subspecies of tiger nor lion.
- Scientists do not know if saber-tooth cats were social or solitary.
- Saber tooth tigers died out 10,000 years ago.
- It was an ambush predator.
- Smilodons were remarkable jumpers.
Saber Tooth Tiger Diet and Ecology
- They normally fed on deer, buffalo, antelopes, camels, ground sloths, bison, and tapirs. Saber tooth cats also eat mammoths and mastodons. Smilodons had killed quite a few humans but this is not confirmed.
- Smilodons living in North America preyed on large herbivorous mammals such as camels and bisons. The modern-day American bisons and camels are much smaller than those living in those times. Saber-tooth cats were not only apex predators in North America they were equally successful in South America.
- Saber-toothed tigers competed with American lion and dire wolf. The prey territory was often overlapped among these animals.
- The tiger’s diet also consists of ungulates including litopterns and toxodonts.
- Smilodons possibly preferred eating only the flesh leaving behind the bones for scavengers.
Learn more: What did Saber Tooth Tigers Eat
- The saber tooth cat was widespread throughout North America occupying much of the southern part including present California, Texas, and Florida.
- Scientists have also discovered some fossils in the New Mexico.
Saber Tooth Tiger Habitat
- They had to live in areas where they could find their prey. They prey on herbivores (plant eating animals). Smilodons preferred to live in closed habitats so that it could ambush its prey while hiding in bushes.
- The habitat of saber tooth tigers were open grasslands, shrubby areas and pine forests where they could feed on large herbivores.
- 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.
Learn more: Saber Tooth Tiger Habitat
Saber tooth Tiger Extinction
- Saber tooth tiger had become extinct around 10,000 B.C. Apart from other causes for their extinction; prehistoric humans would have been supposedly responsible for the absolute extermination of Smilodon.
- Biologists believe that the arrival of ice age changed the vegetation pattern for these animals and could possibly cause extinction. Saber tooth tigers are not tigers at all; rather they are related to the family of tigers.
Read more: Why did the Saber Tooth Tiger Go Extinct
Species of Saber Tooth Tiger
- 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 meters (100 inches); Shoulder Height 1.40 meters (55 inches)