The ZOO Liberec in the Czech Republic has three white tiger kittens for the first time in ten years. The two males and one female were born in July to four-year-old tiger Surya Bara.
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White tigers are not Siberian tigers, but instead are an extremely rare form of Indian tiger.
The white tiger has a recessive gene mutation that causes it to be born semi-albino. The defect happens to one in ten thousand tiger births. As the defect is only a semi-albino gene, the eyes retain some blue color rather than turning completely red. Aside from the eyes, the nose, mouth, eyelids and pads are all a reddish pink.
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If these tigers were born in the wild without their natural orange and gold camouflage they'd be unlikely to survive.. Thus, they are almost never found outside of zoos where they can be protected and fed.
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The three babies will be named in an event held at the zoo on Sept. 8. The Daily Mail said, "From more than 2,200 suggestions, the zoo has narrowed it down to five names -- Liam, Samburu, Sigmar, Titan or Woody -- for one of the male cubs."
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Tigers can grow to be 12 feet long and 3 feet tall, with a fully grown male weighing up to 570 pounds.
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Unlike lions, tigers are lone hunters. In the wild, they would hunt at dusk and could walk as far as 20 miles in search of a meal. They can eat 33 to 40 pounds of meat in a sitting and need to catch prey at least once a week.
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According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, "Cubs weigh just over two pounds at birth and nurse until they are six months old. During the next 18 months, they gradually become independent, and at about two years of age strike out alone to find their own territory."
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The tiger is listed on the endangered species list with fewer than 5,000 remaining as of 2006. Of those, only a few hundred white tigers exist in zoos. The white tiger's continued existence in zoos is a result of the interbreeding of families and so many of the them are born with deformities ranging from physical problems to crossed eyes.
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