It is a lion; it is a tiger, it is a ……liger? Many people are really surprised to find out that ligers are real! This hybrid animal is a cross between a male tiger and a female lion or a male lion (panthera leo) and a female tiger (panthera tigris).
It is no mythical creature, and you can see one on your next visit to the safari park. Before you arrive, you might be interested in learning more about these fascinating animals.
Ligers are hybrids
A hybrid is an animal with parents of varied species but the same genus. In this case, lions are the hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. Ligers can be larger than either of their parents, making them even more impressive to see in person.
Ligers do not live in the wild
While there are animal hybrids that occur naturally, ligers only exist in captivity, like parks, zoos, or animal sanctuaries because, in the wild, these species do not share the same habitat. Lions and tigers do not really have an opportunity to mate outside of captivity. All know ligers stem from accidental mating or human intervention.
Ligers are big
The liger is the largest known cat in the world. Hybrids are larger than either parent species, which is true of most ligers.
This big cat hybrid can reach over 1,000 pounds and are heavily muscular. They can get up to 10 – 12 feet standing on their hind legs and 4 1/2 feet at the shoulders, making them larger than male lions and tigers in length.
Ligers are fast
Ligers are large cats with dense muscles, but that does not mean they are slow! They can quickly launch themselves from resting to a run. Ligers can run about fifty miles per hour. They cannot sustain that speed for long, but it is an impressive feat nonetheless!
Ligers can have stripes
Hybrids are unpredictable in some ways, including in the size and coloration of the offspring. Ligers are no different, sometimes having tiger stripes along with lion manes. These stripes can be faint or quite pronounced.
Liger share more traits with a lion than a tiger
A liger cub carries different traits from both parents, but it favors traits from the lion parent.
Ligers can roar
In most cases, ligers take after their lion parent more than their tiger parent. The liger roar typically sounds more like a lion. But remember, hybrids are unpredictable, so ligers sound more tiger-like.
Fewer than 1oo in Existence
The exact number is unknown, but there is around thirty in the United States.
Ligers grow fast
After birth, a liger puts on weight quickly. Over its first year of life, ligers often gain around three hundred pounds! They put on weight at a similar pace until around three years old. They also gain height just as quickly, reaching their full-grown adult size in about three years.
Ligers love water
One of the most fascinating characteristics of the lion-tiger hybrid is that they love water. Tigers often enter the water to cool down or catch prey, but lions do not like water. It usually takes time for ligers to embrace the water-loving lifestyle.
Ligers are Napoleon Dynamite’s favorite animal.
Curiosity about this animal spiked after Napoleon drew them in the 2004 movie.
Liger and Ligress
A male liger is a liger, and a female liger is a ligress.
Ligers are social
They are more social than big cats. Despite their enormous size, ligers are gentle and docile. So when you come to visit the park, stop by to see our liger and say hello!