The animals on the cover of Learning Java, Fourth Edition are a Bengal tigress and her cubs. The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris) lives in Southern Asia. It has been hunted practically to extinction, principally for its bone, which is reputed to have medicinal value. It now lives mostly in natural preserves and national parks, where it is strictly protected. It’s estimated that there are fewer than 3,000 Bengal tigers left in the wild.

The Bengal tiger is reddish orange with narrow black, gray, or brown stripes, generally in a vertical direction. Males can grow to nine feet long and weigh as much as 500 pounds; they are the largest existing members of the cat family. Preferred habitats include dense thickets, long grass, or tamarisk shrubs along river banks. Maximum longevity can be 26 years but is usually only about 15 years in the wild.

Tigers most commonly conceive after the monsoon rains; the majority of cubs are born between February and May after a gestation of three and a half months. Females bear single litters every two to three years. Cubs weigh under three pounds at birth and are striped. Litters consist of one to four cubs, with occasionally as many as six, but it’s unusual for more than two or three to survive. Cubs are weaned at four to six months but depend on their mother for food and protection for another two years. Female tigers are mature at three to four years, males at four to five years.

Their white ear spots may help mothers and cubs to keep track of each other in the dim forests at night.

The cover image is an original engraving from the book Forest and Jungle: An Illustrated History of the Animal Kingdom by P.T. Barnum (1899). The cover font is Adobe ITC Garamond. The text font is Adobe Minion Pro; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is Dalton Maag’s Ubuntu Mono.