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Liger: A hybrid of Lion & Tigress

The liger is a cat born from the breeding of a male lion and a female tiger. This
combination produces an offspring with more lionistic features than if the reverse
pairing had occurred. That would produce a more Tigeristic creature known as a
Tigon. Both are members of genus Panthera. There is no scientific name assigned to
this animal because of it’s human assisted ancestry.

A liger resembles a giant lion with muted stripes but like their tiger ancestors,
ligers like swimming. This goes against the nature of a lion but is what makes
creature special. It gets the best of both parents. They are the largest cats in
the world. A similar hybrid, the offspring of a male tiger and a female lion is
called a tigon.

Ligers have a tiger-like striping pattern on a lion-like tawny background. In

addition they may inherit rosettes from the lion parent. These markings may be
black, dark brown or sandy. The background color may be correspondingly tawny,
sandy or golden. In common with tigers, their underparts are pale. The actual
pattern and color depends on which subspecies the parents were and on the way in
which the genes interact in the offspring.


1. The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species now has a Liger named
Hercules. The breeding is said to be a complete accident. Hercules was in the Book
of World Records as the largest cat. Hercules seems completely healthy and is
expected to live a long life. The largest non-obese Liger, known as Hercules, is
said to weigh over 544kg, over twice the size of a male lion.

2. At Hainan Tropical Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden in suburb of Haikou

city, capital of China’s south most province of Hainan, a lion father and tiger
mother have quadruplet liger cubs. The four cubs were born on March 23, 2006.

3. A liger that was born last summer has now gone on public display in an open-
air enclosure at a Siberian zoo, RIA. The female called Zita is one of two cubs
born from a cross between a female Bengalese tiger and an African lion at
Novosibirsk Zoo last summer. Zita is now an adolescent carnivore weighting 50
kilos, who feeds on meat, milk, eggs and other food that grown-up big cats eat.


Imprinted genes may be a factor contributing to liger size. These are genes that
may or may not be expressed depending on the parent they are inherited from, and
that occasionally play a role in issues of hybrid growth. For example, in some
mice species crosses, genes that are expressed only when maternally-inherited
cause the young to grow larger than is typical for either parent species. This
growth is not seen in the paternal species, as such genes are normally
"counteracted" by genes inherited from the female of the appropriate species.

Another possible hypothesis is that the growth dysplasia results from the
interaction between lion genes and tiger womb environment. The tiger produces a
hormone that sets the fetal liger on a pattern of growth that does not end
throughout its life. The hormonal hypothesis is that the cause of the male liger's
growth is its sterility — essentially, the male liger remains in the pre-pubertal
growth phase. This is not upheld by behavioural evidence - despite being sterile,
many male ligers become sexually mature and mate with females. Male ligers also
have the same levels of testosterone ng/dl on average as an adult male lion. In
addition, female ligers also attain great size, weighing approximately 700 lb and
reaching 10 feet long on average, but are often fertile.

While male ligers are sterile, female ligers are fertile, and they can reproduce.
Because only female ligers and tigons are fertile, a liger cannot reproduce with a
tigon. If a liger were to reproduce with a tiger, it would be called a ti-liger,
and if it were to reproduce with a lion, it would be called a li-liger. Same way
if a tigon were to reproduce with a lion, it would be called a Li-tigon, and if it
were to reprodude with a tiger, ir would be a ti-tigon.