The Sumatran Tiger will generally hunt at dusk and may travel up to 20 kilometres in a night in search of food. Unlike other members of the cat family, the tiger cannot outrun its prey relying on its camouflage to ambush. This hunting method is slow and patient, stalking through often dense cover until close enough to spring. They will regularly run hoofed prey into water to slow them down to catch. Tigers in general tend to attack from the side or rear at close range and when the prey weighs more than half that of the tiger, a throat bite is used and death is caused by suffocation.
The Sumatran Tiger lives in lowland forest, peat swamps, freshwater swamp forest and sub-mountain and mountain forest where there is minimal human disturbance. The remaining tigers are distributed in fragmented pockets throughout the island and most can be found in five national parks and two game reserves on the island of Sumatra.
Female Sumatran Tigers live alone or with their cubs in territories neighbouring with other females. The males are completely solitary and have territories that may overlap several female territories. The males take no part in the rearing of their cubs.
The Sumatran Tiger reaches maturity at approximately four years of age and mating can occur at anytime throughout the year; however it is typically during winter to spring. After a gestation period of about 98-102 days the female may give birth to as many as four cubs. The cubs are born with their eyes closed and do not open them until they are about 10-12days old. For the first eight weeks the cubs will drink their mother’s milk, after which they begin to wean. However, they will still suckle on and off for the next six months. Cubs will leave the den for the first time after approximately two months. Within 18 months the cubs will be able to hunt themselves and are fully independent by the age of two years. At this time the cubs will have to find and defend their own territory.
Sumatran Tigers are active during both day and night but do most of their hunting at night. Males and females can be very territorial and mark their ranges by spraying scent on trees or bushes. The extent of a tiger's range varies according to habitat and availability of prey. Its sight and hearing are very acute, accounting for the tiger being such an efficient predator.