Most tigers live in forests or grasslands, for which their camouflage is ideally suited, and where it is easy to hunt prey that are faster or more agile. Among the big cats, only the tiger and jaguar are strong swimmers; tigers are often found bathing in ponds, lakes, and rivers and are known to kill while swimming. Tigers hunt alone and eat primarily medium to large sized herbivores such as sambar deer, but they also have the capability to eat much smaller prey such as birds, and other such things, wild pigs, young gaur, water buffalo and domestic cattle. They also kill such formidable predators as sloth bear, dogs, leopards, crocodiles and pythons as prey, and occasionally prey on creatures as small as langurs, peacocks and hares. Old and injured tigers have been known to attack humans or domestic cattle and are then termed as man-eaters or cattle-lifters which often leads to them being captured, shot or poisoned.
Adult elephants are too dangerous to tigers to serve as common prey, but conflicts between elephants and tigers do sometimes take place.
Tigers often ambush their prey as other cats do, overpowering their prey from any angle, using their body size and strength to knock prey off balance. Even with great masses, Tigers can reach speeds of about 60 km/h .Once prone, the tiger bites the back of the neck, often breaking the prey’s spinal cord, piercing the windpipe, or severing the jugular vein or carotid artery. Tigers prefer to bite the throats of large prey. After biting, the tiger then uses its muscled forelimbs to hold onto the prey, bringing it to the ground. The tiger remains latched onto the neck until its prey dies.
The Sundarbans mangrove swamps of Bengal have had a higher incidence of man-eaters, where some healthy tigers have been known to hunt humans as prey.
In the wild, tigers can leap as high as 5 m . and as far as 9-10 m , making them one of the highest-jumping mammals (just slightly behind cougars in jumping ability).
They have been reported to carry domestic livestock weighing 50 kg . while easily jumping over fences 2 m . high. Their heavily muscled forelimbs are used to hold tightly onto the prey and to avoid being dislodged, especially by large prey such as gaurs. Gaurs and water buffalo weighing over a ton have been killed by tigers weighing about a sixth as much. A single blow from a tiger’s paw can kill a full-grown wolf or human, or can heavily injure a 150 kg . Sambar deer.