It’s a lion, it’s a tiger, it’s a …..liger? Some people are really surprised to find out that ligers are real and you can actually see one on your next visit to the park. Before you arrive, you might be interested in learning more about these fascinating animals.
Ligers are hybrids
A hybrid is an animal that has parents of different species, but the same genus. In this case, ligers 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 don’t live in the wild
Ligers only exist in captivity, like our parks, zoos, and sanctuaries. This is because, in the wild, these species simply do not share the same habitat. This means they don’t really have an opportunity to mate outside of captivity.
Ligers are big
Many hybrids are larger than either of the parent species, and that is true of most ligers. Ligers can reach over 1,000 pounds and are heavily muscular. They can reach around 4 and a half feet at the shoulders.
Ligers are fast
Ligers are large cats with dense muscles, but that doesn’t mean they are slow! They can quickly launch themselves from resting to a run that’s been clocked at around 50 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.
Ligers can roar
In most cases, ligers take after their lion parent more than their tiger parent. An example of this is the liger’s roar, which typically sounds more like a lion. But remember, hybrids are unpredictable, so there are some ligers that sound more tiger-like.
Ligers grow fast
After birth, a liger puts on weight quickly. Over the course of their first year of life, they often gain around 300 pounds! They put on weight at a similar pace until after they are around 3 years old. They also gain height just as quickly, reaching their full-grown adult size in just about three years.
Lastly, ligers tend to enjoy the water and are more social than some big cats. So when you come to visit the park, stop by to see our liger and say hello!