How High Can Tigers Jump? (Examples & Comparison)

Tigers are large and impressive animals. They are the largest living cat species. 

Tigers can weigh up to 660 pounds, which makes them even more impressive knowing they can jump very high.

Tigers jump 16-20 feet in the air! Some videos have caught large tigers leaping 20 feet vertically. The exact height depends on the species and how they jump.

How High Can Tigers Jump In Captivity?

Tigers are agile felines and jump high. On average, a tiger in captivity can leap 12 to 15 feet in the air, but they don’t usually jump this high.

While uncommon, a viral video showed a tiger leaping high to attack a human riding on an elephant.

Tigers jump higher in the wild since they are placed in situations where it’s necessary. These large animals are typically 2.6 – 3.6 feet tall when standing on their four legs. 

However, when a tiger stands up straight on two legs, they easily tower over humans. Although it varies depending on the species, the average tiger is 9 feet tall when standing on its hind legs.

The largest unconfirmed tiger was 846 pounds and 9 ounces. Russian naturalist Vyacheslav Sysoyev reported the Siberian tiger which was shot and killed in Sikhote Alin Gory Mountains. However, it’s rare to find tigers this large anymore, likely because of overhunting.

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There are about 8,000 tigers in captivity and 3,726 to 5,578 tigers in the wild. Tigers are endangered, but their population in the wild is increasing.

How High Can Different Tiger Subspecies Jump?

Each type of tiger has a different leaping ability. It depends on the muscles and strength of their legs as well as their hunting behaviors. There are only 9 types of tigers and three of them are extinct. 

Keep reading to discover how far each tiger subspecies leaps.

Bengal Tigers

Bengal tigers are native to India and are the most common tiger. They weigh 244 to 500 pounds. 

These heavy and strong tigers jump and leap when hunting for food. Scientists aren’t sure how high they can jump but have recorded heights up to 18 feet.

Siberian Tigers

Sadly, only 350 to 450 Siberian tigers remain in the wild. They have thick fur, especially near the neck, which helps them keep warm during winter. 

Siberian tigers can impressively jump up to 16 feet in the air.

Sumatran Tigers

Sumatran tigers, also known as Sunda tigers, are the smallest tiger subspecies. They are critically endangered with less than 400 tigers left in the wild. 

Despite being the smallest tiger subspecies, they jump 16 feet up and leap 27 feet horizontally.

What Makes A Tiger’s Jump So High?

Tigers have thick and muscular hind legs which they use to push themselves up and leap amazing heights. Tigers are very strong and their hind legs are longer than their front legs. 

Jumping is more than just flexibility, but also force and power, which come from the back legs.

Tigers don’t just have strong legs, they have a bite force of around 1,000 psi and a swipe force of up to 10,000 pounds. They kill their prey with just one bite to the neck!

Although female tigers are smaller than male tigers, they still pack an incredible 360 pounds of muscle. Interestingly, tigers only have about 7.7% of body fat. 

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Although tigers are known for their strength, they are also sharp and quick runners! Tigers aren’t as fast as cheetahs or lions, but don’t let this fool you, as they can still reach speeds of up to 35–40 mph.

Are Tigers Great Climbers?

Did you know tigers are great climbers? 

While they are great climbers, we rarely see adults climbing up trees. This is because as they grow older, their body weight increases, weighing them down while climbing up.

Tiger cubs, however, run up trees when they are a few months old, using their sharp claws to hold on. These cubs climb up trees to feel safe. Trees offer them a safe place to eat, sleep, and hide from predators and threats.

How Does A Tiger’s Jump Compare To Other Big Cats?

A tiger’s jump is impressive, but how does it compare to other big cats? 

Tigers aren’t the highest jumpers. That title goes to the caracal wild cat because of its size.

Caracal Wild Cats

While the caracal wild cat is only 18–42 pounds, it can jump up to 10 feet straight in the air to catch a bird. 

With its powerful speed and agility, it can take down animals two to three times larger than themselves. 

Although some tigers can jump up to 20 feet, they are a lot larger.

African Lions

African lions are also strong but surprisingly can jump longer heights both vertically and horizontally. On average, an African lion jumps 36 feet horizontally and 12 feet vertically. 

They are native to Africa and India, but can only be found in sub-saharan Africa.

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Photo: Eric Kilby / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Similar to tigers, leopards are powerful jumpers. 

They can leap 20 feet and jump up to 10 feet into the air. Snow leopards move swiftly in the snow. They travel up to 25 miles a day looking for food without growing tired. 

How do they do this? Well, snow leopards can leap up to 50 feet.


Photo: Ray in Manila / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cheetahs are best known for their running skills, but they are also great jumpers. 

On average, a cheetah can jump 20 feet high and 32.5 square feet horizontally with one jump. In short bursts, they can also run between 35 to 40 mph.


Last but not least, bobcats are medium-sized cats with strong legs. They are only slightly larger than domestic cats. 

These medium-sized cats climb very well and are known to jump over 6-foot fences without growing tired. Some people have reported seeing bobcats leap 10 feet in the air.

Final Thoughts

While tigers are not the highest-jumping big cats in the world, they are impressive. They use their strong and long hind legs to leap 16-20 feet in the air.

Not only can tigers jump high, but they are also fast runners and great climbers.

Nixza Gonzalez

Nixza is a highly experienced content writer with over five years of expertise in crafting expert blogs and digital content on the subject of animals. In addition to her writing skills, Nixza possesses a deep understanding of animal behavior and husbandry, honed through hands-on experience caring for her own pets and through her passion for gardening. When not working, Nixza can often be found spending quality time with her beloved animals, furthering her knowledge and deepening her connection to the natural world.

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