Tyga's pet tiger has just been ripped from his clutches -- after authorities claimed the rapper was illegally in possession of the exotic animal ... and now Tyga could face criminal charges.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, California Wildlife officers received a report last week that a tiger was housed at Tyga's home in Ventura County.
We're told a warden responded to the home -- and Tyga told him he had removed the cat from the house (presumably due to complaints) and placed it at a private animal shelter.
It's unclear how long Tyga's had the cat -- but he began posting photos of the tiger on Instagram last month.
According to law enforcement, Wildlife officers picked up the 7-month-old cat at the shelter and transferred it to a state facility for safekeeping ... while they investigate.
We're told Tyga could face misdemeanor charges of possession of a prohibited species ... punishable by up to six months in jail.
Worth noting, we're told Tyga took good care of the tiger. Sources close to Tyga tell us, the rapper didn't realize it was illegal to own ... and as soon as he realized, he gave it to a sanctuary.