Go Wild: This Big Cat Just Loves Water

Posted May 29, 2007 by Carolyn E. Price

Cat owners can all attest to the fact that most cats do not like getting wet. Let me introduce you to Odin, the giant Bengal tiger who glides through the water just like a polar bear.
Photo by Westley Hargrave
Photo by Westley Hargrave
Odin appears to be the exception to the rule that cats hate water. This large male white Bengal tiger is six years old and he measures about 10 feet long from his nose to his tail and he is an excellent swimmer. Right now, he is in the prime of his life. Odin lives at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Zoo in Vallejo, near San Francisco.
White tigers are rare in the wild, although there are several dozen in zoos. When the whiteness in the Bengal tiger is caused by an unusual genetic combination.
Odin was born and raised by human hands at the zoo and after he was weaned, his British trainer Lee Munro found out that Odin had a remarkable skill: when a lump of meat was thrown into a pool of water, Odin would happily dive in after it.
Most big cats do not like water, however, tigers of all types have been seen diving into the water to hunt and sometimes even to bathe for pleasure.
Odin can now be observed in action - a large pool with glass walls has been constructed at the zoo to allow visitors to watch him gliding through the water with all the grace of a polar bear.
A century ago there were about 100,000 tigers in the wild. Currently, the estimates are that there are only around 2,500 adults, and the Bengal variety is almost extinct. So it would seem tragic but a fact that within most of our lifetimes, the zoo might just be the only place left on this earth that anyone will be able to see these magnificent animals.
The website includes a video on Odin and I include a link to it here for ease of use.