Two Tigers

Tigers on display

Tigers on display

The Zoology Museum is home to two tigers who receive very different reactions from the public. While Rani our star tiger specimen is described as regal and beautiful, our second tiger, who stands atop Rani’s case, has been called ‘tatty’ and ‘dirty.’ There are many reasons for this and our second tiger has an interesting past that accounts for his appearance.

Rani is our star specimen on display in the Zoology Museum. Seized under CITES regulation in 1996 by HM Customs and Excise at Aberdeen Airport, she was probably a zoo or circus animal before she died. She was mounted in North East Scotland and was being exported to the Middle East without the necessary permit.

Rani the tiger

Rani the tiger

Meaning ‘queen’ in Sanskrit, Rani got her name during a contest at Night at the Museums in 2013. She is displayed as such in the zoology museum and is a favourite of many visitors.


Our unnamed second tiger

Our unnamed second tiger

Our second tiger who stands on top of Rani’s case has no name but he has been in our care for many years. This tiger dates to far earlier than Rani, probably the early nineteenth century. We don’t know if he was a shooting trophy or a circus animal. This tiger used to be on open display in the museum and people would touch him a lot as they walked past, accounting for his current condition. While he was on open display this tiger has his claws and whiskers stolen and people tried to take his teeth. The ears are just stubs as people ripped off first the fur then parts of the ears themselves.

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With age, our older tiger’s skin has pulled away from his face resulting in snarling look

This tiger looks a little less regal than Rani as the taxidermy is not of the same quality, which speaks to his early age. He looks bug-eyed as he is filled with plaster and his age – as the skin dries it pulls away from the eye orbits and the lips pull away from the teeth giving him a particularly snarling and surprised look.

Although these two tigers look very different, they are both interesting and impressive specimens and have their own intriguing stories.

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About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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One Response to Two Tigers

  1. Sarah says:

    Really interesting read – I’ve always liked both the tigers, and it is nice to hear their backstories.

    The poor second tiger does need a name though, it’s sad to think he’s still nameless after doing his bit as a hands-on exhibit.

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