Tigers appear on many flags, coats of arms, and as mascots for sporting teams. The Bengal tiger is the national animal of both India and Bangladesh Tigers have muscular bodies with particularly powerful forelimbs and large heads. The pelage coloration varies between shades of orange or brown with white ventral areas and distinctive black stripes. Their faces have long whiskers, which are especially long in males.
The pupils are circular with yellowirises. The small, rounded ears have black markings on the back, surrounding a white spot.  These spots, called ocelli, play an important role in intraspecific communication. [ The pattern of stripes is unique to each animal, and these unique markings can be used by researchers to identify individuals (both in the wild and captivity), in much the same way as fingerprints are used to identify humans.
The function of stripes is likely camouflage, serving to help tigers conceal themselves amongst the dappled shadows and long grass of their environments as they stalk their prey. Tigers are the most variable in size of all big cats, even more so than leopards and much more so than lions. A well-known allele produces the white tiger, technically known as chinchilla albinistic, an animal which is rare in the wild, but widely bred in zoos due to its popularity.