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Although they’re both big cats, lions and tigers are very different animals, not only in coloration and appearance but also in life cycle, hunting tactics, and size.

Learning more about the differences between lions and tigers can be both fascinating and enlightening.

Tiger vs Lion Comparison Guide

All About Tigers

Tigers are immediately recognizable thanks to their orange coats and dark black stripes.

At one point, tigers ranged from Turkey to Japan, but today, they’re mostly found across India, throughout the Indochinese Peninsula, across the far east of Russia, and on the Sunda Islands, particularly Sumatra.

Tigers prefer forests and areas that plentiful amounts of game such as boar, deer, antelope, and water buffalo.

Tigers are also excellent swimmers and are often spotted around streams, rivers, and lakes.

Tigers usually live for between eight and 10 years in the wild. The oldest tiger recorded was a captive tiger that lived to 26.

There are several tiger sub-species, including the Sumatran tiger, the Bengali tiger, the Siberian or Amur tiger, and the extinct Caspian tiger.

adult tiger laying in water

How big is a tiger?

Male and female tigers differ greatly in size, and male tigers are generally much larger than females.

Male tigers are usually between 98 and 154 inches or 250 to 390 centimeters long. This equals a length of between about 8 and 13 feet.

The length of the tiger includes its tail, which is usually between 2 and 3.5 feet long.

Male tigers generally weigh between 200 and 660 pounds.

This makes the tigers of mainland Asia some of the largest cats amongst both living and extinct big cat species.

Female tigers are usually between 79 to 108 inches long, which is equal to between 200 and 275 centimeters or about 6.5 and 9 feet, including the tail.

They generally weigh between 143 to 368 pounds.

Both male and female tigers stand between 2 and 4 feet tall at the shoulder. Tigers from the Sunda Islands, which include Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi, tend to be a bit smaller than tigers found in mainland Asia.

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This is most likely due to less abundant prey and warmer temperatures.

It is hypothesized that animals living in warmer climates tend to be smaller than animals living in cold climates.

Adult tiger laying on grass

How strong is a tiger’s bite?

Tigers have the longest teeth of any big cat species, and their bite is about 1,050 pounds per square inch.

Tiger vs lion – size comparison chart

How fast can a tiger run?

Tigers can run in short bursts at speeds between 30 and 40 miles per hour. They usually only run just before they’re about to make a kill, in order to surprise and overtake their prey.

Tiger vs Lion Comparison Guide

All About Lions

Lions have been around since prehistoric times and once roamed much of the planet, but the lions we know today are found only in Africa and India.

Most lions have tawny-colored fur, but their coloring can range from golden to brown to almost white.

Male lions usually sport a thick, fluffy mane that often has much darker fur throughout it.

Some male lions in certain regions have either no mane or a very short mane, and occasionally, female lions with a mane have been seen.

Lions prefer open areas such as savannahs and grasslands. Lions live in large groups, called prides, of about 15 members.

The pride generally consists of one to four male lions, several female lions, and their cubs.

Male lions will sometimes band together to form a group called a coalition until they can form their own pride. Male lions generally take on the job of defending the pride from other lions or predators, and female lions do the majority of the hunting.

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Occasionally, nomad lions, roaming either singly or in pairs, can be seen.

In the wild, lions can live for between eight and 15 years.

lion standing on path

How big is a lion?

Exactly how big a lion is depends on what sub-species it is and what region it’s from, and, like tigers, there are large size differences between male and female lions.

In general, male lions measure between 72 and 82 inches or 184 to 208 centimeters, plus another 32.5 to 36.8 inches or 82.5 to 93.5 centimeters for the length of their tail.

Altogether, this is a total length of between about 8.5 to 10 feet. Female lions have a head and body length of between 63 and 72 inches or 160 to 184 inches with a tail that’s between 28.3 and 35.2 inches or 72 to 89.5 centimeters, for a total length of between 7.5 to 9 feet.

How much a lion weighs depends greatly on what region they’re from. Lions from Southern Africa weigh the most, with males weighing between 411.3 and 496 pounds and females weighing between 261 and 316.4 pounds.

Male lions found in India generally weigh between 350 and 420 pounds, while females weigh between 240 and 260 pounds.

Male lions in East Africa generally weigh around 390 pounds, and females from that area weigh about 260 pounds.

In general, adult lions measure between 3 and 4 feet tall at the shoulder.

2 lions roaring

How strong is a lion’s bite?

Although they are incredibly skilled hunters, a lion’s bite isn’t that powerful. It’s only about 650 pounds per square inch.

For comparison, an English mastiff has a bite force of about 550 pounds per square inch.

lions teeth

How fast can a lion run?

When they’re hunting, lions can run very quickly for short periods of time, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

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