The rate of infant mortality is relatively high amongst tigers. Some babies die in bush fires, others in heavy rains, and yet others are killed by adult males that want to induce the mothers fertility so that he can mate with her instead. Fewer than half of the cubs that are born live past two years of age. This is a particularly sad statistic considering the fact that there are already so few of these magnificent creatures alive today.
A female tiger reaches sexual maturity at between three and four years old, and will likely have her first litter then. Males are about a year older than their female counterparts when they reach sexual maturity; that is, between four and five years old. Females usually wait about 2.5 years between pregnancies. However, if she loses a litter, she can produce another one within five months.
Naturally, tigers live longer when they are in captivity, since they are not under threat from poachers, starvation or fires. They receive protection and medical assistance as and when necessary. Therefore, tigers in captivity have been known to live for about 26 years. Those in the wild must fight a hard fight to survive. For this reason, their life is shorter, at an average of 10 years.