Why Ligers Are Bigger Than Tigons

Filed under: Facts,Ligers - 19 Mar 2013  | Share on :

Ligers and tigons are two of the most impressive and most ferocious cat species in the world. Even though they are crossbred, these felines are impressive and stand out due to their amazing sizes. In fact, the liger is the biggest living cat in the world, simply dwarfing both tigers and lions in size and weight. However, why are ligers to much bigger than tigons?


Well, the large size of a liger and small size of a tigon are due to a genetic phenomenon called “genomic imprinting”, meaning the unequal expression of genes depending on parent of origin, that is whether certain growth genes are inherited from the male or the female. In simpler words, lions and tigers – in fact, all big felines – have imprinted genes which can be expressed maternally or paternally, with great restrictions to species and gender. This is also linked to the species’ lifestyle and breeding strategy – whether the female mates with only one male while in heat (non-competitive) or with more than one male (competitive). This results in “growth dysplasia”.

Lions live in prides led by several adult males. The lionesses mate with each of those males. Each male desires his offspring to be the ones to survive. However, the female’s genes want multiple offspring to survive. The lion’s genes promote the size of the offspring to make sure that his offspring out-compete any other offspring in the womb at the same time. Genes from the lioness inhibit growth to make sure that as many offspring as possible survive and that all the cubs have an equal chance.

By contrast, tigers are largely solitary and a female on heat normally only mates with a single male. There is no competition for space in the womb, so the male tiger’s genes do not need to promote larger offspring. Therefore, there is no need for the tigress to compensate, so the offspring’s growth goes uninhibited.


When a male lion mates with a female tigress, though, his genes promote large offspring growth because lions are adapted to a competitive breeding strategy. On the other hand, the tigress does not inhibit the growth because she is adapted to a non-competitive strategy. Therefore, the offspring of a male lion and female tigress – the liger – grows larger and stronger than either parent because the effects do not cancel each other out. While it is true that it takes several years for ligers to reach full adult size, the fact that ligers never stop growing is a complete and utter myth.

When a male tiger mates with a female lioness, his genes do not promote large offspring growth because tigers are adapted to a non-competitive breeding strategy. On the other hand, the lioness inhibits the growth because she is adapted to a competitive strategy. Due to this uneven match, the offspring of a male tiger and female lioness – the tigon – is often smaller and less robust than either parent.

Growth dysplasia has other effects, as well. It can affect the size of the placenta, causing miscarriage, or it can cause the embryo to be aborted at an early stage due to abnormal growth. Also, the cub may be stillborn or may only survive a few days after birth.


This is the scientific explanation why ligers are much bigger than tigons. Other hypothesis are also taken into consideration, but this is the most plausible one. Remember that this explanation is greatly simplified, as a number of other genes are contributed unequally by the male and female parents and also affect the general health and longevity of the offspring.

Ligers In USA

Filed under: Facts - 30 Jan 2013  | Share on :

USA has the largest numbers of ligers than any other country in the world and also the highest number of tigers in captivity compared to the tigers in any other country and even in the wild. In USA are over 15000 tigers, 10,000 lions and more 20,000 other big cat species, including ligers.


In other parts of the world, breeding ligers is illegal, but in USA someone can do anything in order to breed the ligers. Liger breeding is not legal in all the States of America, but it’s legal in the majority of the states.


These huge cats can be seen at Florida, Naples, Utah Zoo, The Hogale, Dakota and Miami zoo and animal sanctuaries also. Animal sanctuaries and several zoos have displayed these animals in various exhibitions, educational programs and shows.


People are usually delighted by such events, show them to their kids, ligers being also educational stuffs. Ligers are one of the main attractions among many zoos and animal sanctuaries. Nonetheless, these creatures help for their own finances, but also those of various zoo animals.


As the number of visitors increases because of ligers, this has a huge impact on the food available for these animals. Ligers are one of the most interesting animals today and many people come to zoos to see them. Kids especially are very curious to see them and learn new things. The question remains if it’s ethical or not.

Amazing Facts About Ligers

Filed under: Facts - 25 Oct 2012  | Share on :

Ligers are the biggest cats in the world. They are the result of cross breeding two different species: lions and tigers. Actually, a liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger. Currently, cross breeding does not occur into the wild, as these two species do not live in the same environment. It only takes place in zoos and in captivity.


Ligers are without a doubt fascinating animals. There are numerous interesting things you should know about ligers. Below are listed just some of them.

  • A liger is a carnivore animal, being the biggest meat consuming carnivore in the world.
  • Ligers are bigger than both their parents. Lions and tigers are less than half their size.
  • The word liger emerged from the combination of two English words, lion and tiger
  • The first liger cub in the world was born by accident back in 1799. Actually, most ligers that have been bread until now were the result of accident.
  • The first liger in the United States was born in 1948.
  • Nowadays, there are few ligers left in the world. Last statistics indicated a number of about 200 individuals representing this species.


  • A normal liger can weight no less than 900 pounds. These animals have a gigantic body structure. Lions are able to reach only a maximum weight of 500 pounds, while tigers are capable of reaching about 600 pounds.
  • The heaviest liger known to have ever lived weighted about 1600 pounds.
  • The mouth of a liger is about as big as the shoulders of a man.
  • Ligers are bigger in weight and length than both of their parents. 
  • Hercules is the biggest cat in the world. He weights about 900 pounds.

  • Nook is known to be one of biggest cats who has ever lived. The liger died in 2007.
  • Why are ligers able to grow so much bigger than lions and tigers is a question that has constantly preoccupied researchers. Ligers are known to grow much faster due to the lack of growth inhibiting hormones.
  • Commonly, a 60 days old liger weights about 16 pounds, while a tiger cub will weight only 9 pounds. 
  • Ligers grow at a rate of about 1 pound per day.


  • At a single sitting, a liger is capable of eating no less than 100 pounds of meat. However, a liger is commonly feed with only 25 to 30 pounds of meat per day. Larger quantities of food can determine these animals to be obese. 
  • Ligers are very fast animals, despite their size. A liger is believed to be capable of reaching a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour.
  • Until now, there has been no evidence that ligers exist into the wild. As lions and tigers are enemies in the wild, mating can be very difficult, although not impossible. 
  • The body structure of a liger resembles that of lions.
  • The tail of a liger resembles that of a tiger.


  • Ligers are highly socialized animals, such as lions.
  • Ligers love to swim, characteristic inherited from tigers.
  • Ligers are believed to have inherited what is best from both lions and tigers.
  • Due to their impressive size, ligers are thought to develop a series of health problems.
  • Some specialists consider that ligers have a very small span of life. Still, there is no solid evidence to prove that.
  • In many cases, liger cubs die soon after their birth. Still, there are numerous cubs born healthy. The maximum recorded age for a liger is 24 years. Shasta the liger lived for that long.


  • There are some speculations that ligers are more prone to blindness than lions and tigers. However, the hypothesis is not true.
  • A tigress usually requires a C-sections to be able to give birth to a liger because of the impressive size of the cub.
  • Most ligers are sterile. However, in 1943 a female liger was able to give birth to a beautiful cub. In 2012, the first liliger was born in a zoo in Russia. 

There is no doubt in the fact that ligers are impressive animals. They surely are the most interesting new species of animals which has appeared in the last three centuries.

Ligers Health Problems

Filed under: Facts - 18 Oct 2012  | Share on :

Ligers, such as many other hybrid animals, are cute, intelligent and quite unique. In the world, there are numerous hybrids between different species. Most commonly, hybrids can be found in captivity, but it is important to know that hybridization occurs into the wild, as well.

Hybridization can occur involuntarily, actually in some cases being very difficult to distinguish different species from each other. Ligers are hybrids born in captivity, to a lion father and a tigress mother. As lion and tiger populations do not live in the same environment into the wild, they can only breed in captivity.


So, the liger is a cross breed between a female tiger and a male lion. The first liger in history was born in 1824, in Asia. Only in 1935 another liger was born in South Africa. Nowadays, the best known liger in the world is Hercules. Hercules can be visited at Jungle Island, in Florida. This beautiful liger has actually become very famous. He was featured in many television shows, including Good Morning America, The Today Show and 60 minutes. Hercules is the largest cat in the world, weighting nine hundred pounds. He is healthy and beautiful, Hercules having no health problems.

This is actually considered to be a lucky situation, as ligers can be born with birth defects. Most do not survive the first year of life. Some liger cubs die within the first week.


Some specialists claim that birth defects may be caused by the fact that the baby liger is too big to be carried by a tigress. For most female tigers, carrying the big cub can turn out to be extremely difficult.

Actually, there are many speculations on the fact that ligers develop health problems. They are believed to be more vulnerable to a series of diseases than any other big cats and their entire life is linked to various health issues.


Here are some problems associated with ligers:

  • The tigress mom most commonly needs a C-Section due to the large size of her baby. Giving birth can be fatal for the tigress.
  • Many ligers do not survive more than a few days or weeks after birth.
  • Ligers have unstable temperaments, which cannot be predicted.
  • Ligers are known to have numerous health problems, caused by genetic abnormalities and neurological defects.
  • Ligers are more likely to develop conditions such as cancer and arthritis.
  • They have a lifespan shorter than the one of either of their parents.


While some claim that the entire life of a liger is associated with difficulties, others consider that such hypotheses are wrong.

  • For instance, even though mortality rates of liger cubs are high, so are the rates of tiger cubs. 
  • A tigress was able to give birth to 12 ligers in China, while only one of the cubs died. This means that tigresses are able to carry pregnancies with no risks. 
  • A study has shown that ligers are much healthier than lions. Ligers can live more than lions and tigers, the best example being a female liger who lived no less than 24 years in captivity.
  • The speculation that ligers have a weaker heart is just a myth. In fact, there are no health issues that can only be associated to ligers. It is impossible to say that ligers tend to live shorter than lions or tigers due to their severe health problems. And the best example is Hercules.


The topic on ligers health problems remains a controversial one, so opinions are shared. Despite the health issues that ligers may or may not be suffering from, this is an amazing species. Ligers are the biggest and most impressive cats in the world.

5 Amazing Hybrid Animals

Filed under: Facts - 08 Oct 2012  | Share on :

Ligers, tigons or grolar bears are just some of the most spectacular hybrid animals in the world. Actually, there are numerous such amazing species, impressing with both their characteristics and their looks. Below you can find a top of the most impressive hybrid animals that exist nowadays.

1. Ligers and tigons

Both ligers and tigons are spectacular animals. They surely are the most popular known among hybrid animals, so they deserve the first place on this top. Ligers are crossbreds between male lions and female tigers. Tigons, on the other hand, are crossbreds between male tigers and female lions. Ligers are the world’s largest cats.


2. Wolf dogs

Wolf dogs are almost as popular as ligers. They are crossbreed freely, being formed by matting dogs and wolves. Wolf dogs are usually stronger animals than dogs, being spectacularly beautiful. These dogs need serious training to become obedient. Wolves are not social animals, so wolf dogs can inherit their behavior. 


3. Grolars

A grolar, also known as pizzly, is a hybrid between a grizzly bear and a polar bear. The two species are considered to be genetically similar, but they do not get along very well into the wild. 2006 is the year when the first grolar bear was found into the wild, until than the species being only seen in zoos.


4. Leopons

A leopon is a hybrid animal formed by crossbreeding a male leopard and a female lion. The animal inherits characteristics from both parents, having the head of a lion and the rest of the body similar to the one of a leopard. Leopons are usually larger than leopards. They love water and they like to climb.


5. Wolphins

A wolphin is the rarest hybrid in the world. It is formed by the cross of a bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale. Only two animals representing the species are known to exist today. They can be found in captivity at the Sea Life Park, in Hawaii. The species characteristics can intermediate between the ones of its parents. 


Besides the top 5 hybrid animals aforementioned, li-ligers, ti-ligers, ti-tigons and li-tigons also have to be included into a top of the most spectacular hybrids in the world. These are hybrids among the hybrids. It means that such species are formed by crossbreeding tigons and lions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ligers

Filed under: Facts - 08 Aug 2012  | Share on :

Ligers are without a doubt amazing animals. Even though the species can easily impress with its beauty or physical characteristics, the truth is that there still are numerous facts people do not know about ligers. Here you can find the most frequently asked questions about ligers and the right answers to learn more about this fascinating species.

1. What is a liger?

A liger is an animal resulting from the cross breeding of two different species: lions and tigers. It is the result of breeding a male lion with a female tiger.

2. Where can ligers be found?

Ligers exist only in captivity, as into the wild lions and tigers do not leave in the same environment. The first liger was actually born in a zoo, by accidental breeding.

3. Is the liger the largest cat in the world?

Ligers can easily impress with their dimensions. In fact, the species has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, as the largest living cats in the world.

4. Are ligers and tigons the same species?

Even though ligers and tigons are commonly confused, you should know that the two actually are different species. They possess different characteristics, too. So, tigons will not be as impressive in size as ligers. Tigons are formed by crossing male tigers with female lions.


5. What are the physical characteristics of a liger?

Ligers usually have larger bodies, compared to both their parents. These animals can have markings in black, dark brown or sandy in color, while the background will most commonly be sandy, golden or tawny. Ligers can run with about 50 miles per hour. A baby liger weights approximately 50 lb, while an adult will weight around 800 lb.

6. Are ligers similar to lions?

Ligers will inherit both physical and behavioral characteristics of lions, but also of tigers. They will, for instance, enjoy swimming, a characteristics of tigers. Lions, on the other hand, cannot swim. Ligers are sociable animals, characteristic inherited from lions.


7. Are ligers sterile?

Most commonly ligers are sterile animals, so they can only be born by crossing lions and tigresses. However, in 1943 a female liger was successfully mated with a lion, at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. The liger cub born back then, a female, survived. Other cases of non-sterile ligers have also been reported.

8. How long ligers live?

Ligers are believed to live in average between 10 and 20 years. However, an exact life span of the species cannot be established. For example, a female liger born at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City died at the age of 24. A male liger from a Wisconsin zoo died at 21.

9. How many ligers exist in the world today?

Statistics show that there were about 100 individuals living in zoos, but nowadays there are much fewer left. The exact figure has not been established. The most famous liger in the world is without a doubt Hercules. Hercules can be visited at the Jungle Island, in Miami. The liger has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest living cat on Earth.


10. Are ligers aggressive?

Ligers are usually considered to be less aggressive compared to lions and tigers. However, attracts have been reported throughout the years, even though these animals are believed to be sociable and friendly.

There are numerous other fascinating facts about ligers you should know. The nature of these animals is really unique, ligers inheriting the best characteristics of both lions and tigers.

Learn The Truth About Ligers And Tigons

Filed under: Facts - 26 Jul 2012  | Share on :

Ligers and tigons have been an interesting topic lately, due to the fact that these hybrid species have managed to become the largest felines in the world. In order to have a better grasp on the notions related to ligers and tigons, here is a series of short videos to answer all the most relevant questions to surface.

Question 1 – What is a liger or a tigon?

Question 2 – Do lions and tigers have trouble giving birth to hybrid cubs?

Question 3 – Do ligers or tigons have special nutritional needs?

Question 4 – Isn’t it difficult to breed for a liger or a tigon?

Question 5 – Isn’t it true ligers and tigons are born with incomplete DNA because they’re hybrids?

These videos are suitable for properly understanding the subject and for easily finding answers to some of the questions you have had on ligers and tigons. The information offered is great for simple explanations, which means that you as well can use it further on, in order to bring people up to speed on ligers and tigons.

Ligers In News Reports

Filed under: Facts - 23 Jul 2012  | Share on :

Ligers have become increasingly fascinating in the past few years, especially as new animals from this species have been born. The Daily ran a report on The Rare Species Fund in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they found one of the largest felines of the world, a liger called Hercules. The report focuses on a presentation of the species, including amazing footage with cubs and with the full grown Hercules. You can see the whole report in the following video:

Initially, the news that shocked the world was that involving Hercules and the proof that a hybrid animal is the largest feline in the world. That is the moment in which ligers became so interesting for many people and the documentaries and news started to be more and more frequent on them and on other related subjects. However, Hercules was not the only liger to make the headlines, as two cub ligers, born in China, managed to gain even more attention after they were adopted by a female dog and raised and fed by it alongside with its puppies. You can see the news footage here:

These are probably the most famous news reports on ligers that you have to see, if you want to find out more about the aspects which started the frenzy on these amazing animals. The popularity of ligers grew significantly once with the apparition of Hercules and of other representatives of the hybrid species, while the zoos and the nature parks in which they are kept have increased their number of visitors significantly.

Ligers Get the Best of Both Parents

Filed under: Facts - 17 Jul 2012  | Share on :

While there is only a handful of ligers in the world, the people’s interest for them is becoming higher by the day. This fascinating hybrid species is both intriguing and fascinating, since ligers have some pretty unique features and characteristics. They are a hybrid cross between male lions and tigresses and are now the largest felines ever known. With such amazing species as parents, the result of their crossbreed could not be less phenomenal.


The most interesting thing about ligers is that they have inherited the best of both parents. They resemble both the lions and the tigers, but they only got the good parts from these species.


1. Ligers enjoy swimming, just like tigers. Lions are not fond of the water and can barely swim.

2. Ligers are very sociable, just like lions. Tigers do not socialize and tend to be more solitary. However, as there are not many ligers in the world, they live a solitary life in captivity, usually in zoos or sanctuaries. They are always surrounded by people (either caregivers or zoo visitors), so they are not utterly alone.

3. Ligers have an amazing speed, of about 50 mph (80 km/h) and even 60 mph in some cases. This capability of speeding themselves comes from their mothers. Lions are also fast, but not as fast as tigers. Therefore, they have become the second-fastest feline runners in the world, topped only by the cheetah. This may be hard to believe, considering their impressive size and large bodies. However, it is their large bodies and heavy weight that helps them reach such a speed.


4. Ligers can grab the prey down, precisely because of their speed and strength. They can also hunt big preys, which is a characteristic of both lions and tigers.

5. Ligers can be ambush hunters, just like their parents. This means that they use their natural cover to stalk their victims up close until making the move and attacking.

6. Ligers tend to inherit the lions’ physical appearance. They look like giant lions with muted stripes or spots running through it. The spots come from the lion and the stripes come from the tigress.

7. Ligers roar like lions and chuff like tigers. The grunt at the end is clearly a lion “trademark”. It is very interesting how they make both lion and tiger sounds.


Even though they have inherited so many great features from their parents, ligers grow much larger than either parent. In average, they can reach over 1000 pounds (450 kilos) in weight and more than 12 ft (6.7 meters) in length, which makes them about 40% larger than their parents. This is normal for all crossbreeds, since hybridization often leads to gigantism.

Clearly, ligers get the best of both parents. They are quite lucky, since this is rarely the case with hybrid species. They also look amazing and have an impressive figure, which makes them extremely appealing for numerous people. After all, not everyday they get the chance to see such freaks of nature. Or, better said, freaks of scientists who one day thought: “how about we make a hybrid?”. Luckily, their experiment did not result in a horrible mutation, but in a beautiful animal which is a real treat for the eye.

Point Facts On The Amazing Ligers

Filed under: Facts - 03 Jul 2012  | Share on :

We all know that ligers are amazing animals and that they are the result of the cross breeding between a lion and a tiger. There are many more other interesting facts about these felines that are known to smaller groups of people. Many have focused on learning where they can actually see these animals in zoos and in natural preserves, while others have considered the fact that their apparition is a matter of controversy, due to the fact that the breeding may not have been accidental. Regardless, before forming an opinion it is best to have all the facts in mind and to know why you have opted for a certain side of the story.

The first breeding was not accidental at all. It was actually orchestrated by Mr. Thomas Atkins. Due to his arrangement of the lions and of the tigers, the breeding was bound to happen. It started in 1824, with the first litter born in Windsor, which was formed out of one female and two males. The second litter came the following year at Clapham Common. In 1827, the third litter surfaced in Edinburgh, followed by the forth one the next year in Windsor. The fifth and the sixth litters came in 1831 at Kensington and in 1833 at the Zoological Garden of Liverpool. Although the species was developed so many years ago, many people have taken notice of these animals in the film Napoleon Dynamite.

Another interesting fact about the species of felines is that it is the largest one in the world, weighting around 900 lbs, but with a maximum reached point of 1600 lbs and 12 feet in height. The major mass of these animals is created by the fact that they have strong lion genes, but also by the fact that they require a 100 pounds of meat meal for each sitting. Although they are very massive, they can run at an average speed of up to 50 miles per hour. From the category of lion and tiger combinations, which have created ligers, you should also know that these have inherited both “speech” forms from their parents, meaning that they can roar, but they can also puff. Among some of the preferences of these animals, you can count swimming and… chocolate! There are many more interesting facts about the ligers, which will surely make you want to see them in zoos.

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