We’ve all heard about tigers and we’ve all heard about lions. But there is an animal, that most people haven’t heard of. A huge cat that many people wouldn’t even think of existing. And that’s liger. What is liger, you might ask? Great question. And this The Truth About Ligers article is about to answer it.
What Are They?
Ligers are lion and tiger hybrid species. In order to produce a liger, a male lion has to impregnate a female tiger – different species, same genus. Also, apparently, lion/tiger cross breeding has different results the other way around – female lions who become impregnated by male tigers produce tigons, cats that are significantly smaller than ligers.
Ligers are quite larger than their lion and tiger parents. Average liger tends to weigh 320 to 550 kilograms or 705 to 1,200 pounds. They also are 3 to 3.6 meters or 9.8 to 12 feet in length. As a matter of fact, this makes ligers the largest cats on planet Earth.
Ligers have an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years.
Ligers are very large and muscular. Grown male ligers also have mains, just like lions, but slightly shorter. They have dark tawny fur, with feint stripes, inherited from their tiger mothers and huge paws.
Ligers like to swim – just like tigers, whereas lions are notoriously known to hate it. However, they’re also very sociable – just like lions, whereas tigers are solitary animals. Can’t have an article called The Truth About Ligers and not mention how they act, right?
How fast can ligers be? Considering their size, they can be incredibly fast for short distances – they can reach speeds of 80 kilometers or 50 miles per hour.
Well, here’s a thing, lions and tigers don’t normally interract in the wild because they live in different territories, but, thanks to humans, tigers and lions who live in artificial enclosures, sometimes breed with each other or are deliberately bredby humans. So, ligers, and tigons, don’t live in the wild and only in artificial environments. They live in zoos and private homes of certain people.
Ligers have actually been known to be bred by humans in 19th century India. A color plate, dating back to 1798 depicted a liger, an engraving of a liger and it’s parents has also been found which dates back to 1825.
Also, although nowadays lions and tigers don’t breed in the wild, it is thought that Asiatic lions used to inhabit a significantly larger area in Asia and often communicated with tigers and interbred.
Here’s several quick fun facts about ligers:
- Ligers are largest cats in the world.
- Ligers often have gigantism, whereas tigons often have dwarfism.
- For the most part, ligers are more similar to lions than tigers.
- Liger’s roar sounds almost completely identical to a lion’s roar.
- Because ligers are significantly larger than lions or tigers, their cubs are also larger than cubs of named species. And because of that, tiger mothers often need a C-section surgery to give birth to the unnaturally large offspring.
- Despite the popular myth, ligers are fertile.
- We’ve already mentioned tigons, that are cat hybrids along with ligers, but there are also other cat hybrids like: leopons (lions and leopards) and jaguleps (jaguars and leopards).
- It is thought that, currently, there are less than 100 ligers in the world.
- Although it might be very interesting and fascinating, but wild cat hybrids, or animal hybrids in general, tend to have a significantly higher rates of genetic disorders, so there is an ethical question being posed whenever anyones thinks about cross-breeding lions with tigers and other animals.
Ligers are amazing, huge and fascinating lions and tiger hybrid species that are the largest cats in the world and also possess different traits of their parents. I hope you’ve learned something new and feel free to share this The Truth About Ligers article.