This tiger was owned by a large cat breeder and handler who provides tigers, lions, and some other beasts for the entertainment industry. Notice the white spots on the tiger’s ears. I spent a fair amount of time with this tiger, in its enclosure, photographing it as various other things were going on. As I was the stranger in the room, and since I kept moving, the tiger kept a close eye on me, but not with its actual eyes. I took about a hundred photographs of this animal, and in every single one there are two white spots … those spots on the ears … looking at me.
It is said that the purpose of the white spots on the tiger’s ears are to help the cubs follow the mom in the jungle. This tiger is a male, so we have a small problem with that hypothesis. I believe that the spots may be a way for a tiger to indicate that it knows where you (you being another tiger, most likely) are. It is a simple and honest signal of cognizance, a very important trait in a large territorial predator.