Ligers are not a miracle of nature, but the result of a rather close, in the literal sense of the word, relationship between lions and tigresses. They are beautiful, but unhappy animals, because their "exotic" genetics is a time bomb.
Why are ligers called exotic cats?
The liger is a hybrid of a lion and a tigress. This animal is the largest cat in the world as it reaches a height of three meters. However, such "nuggets" do not appear in the wild often, because the habitats of lions and tigers are different. That is why such hybrids are exotic pure water! They appear relatively infrequently and for the reason that between these representatives of various species of the feline family, "love attraction", if at all, arises quite rarely in nature.
At the moment, there are no more than two dozen ligers in the world.
Ligers, for the most part, appear in those zoos, where often both tiger cubs and lion cubs are in the same enclosure. Little ligats are adorable and rare creatures that quickly turn into real favorites of the public!
And not a tiger, and not a lion
The appearance of the liger is not so unambiguous. This hybrid incorporates the features of both the mother and the father. The liger looks like a giant lion with blurred tiger stripes on the sides and back. Male ligers, with rare exceptions, have practically no mane, but unlike lions, they can and love to swim.
The length of the ligers reaches four to five meters or more. Moreover, their weight sometimes reaches three hundred kilograms, which is a third more than that of large lions. The largest living liger is Hercules. Its weight is four hundred kilograms! In the Guinness Book of Records there is an entry about a liger weighing almost eight hundred kilograms. He lived in the 70s of the last century in one of the parks in South Africa.
Ligresses can produce offspring, which is very unusual for hybrids. Male ligers are sterile. “Fathers” can be either a full-fledged lion, or a grown-up cub of a lion and a ligress. It should be noted that the lifespan of tiger-lion hybrids is not great either.
Ligers and society
A cross between tigresses and lions causes controversial and even negative reactions from the public and animal advocates. According to video footage, filmed by the American company Animal Media, the little cubs are genetically crippled wild cats. They are susceptible to oncological diseases, neurological disorders, arthritis.
The very first liger in Russia was the Novosibirsk hybrid of an African lion and a Bengal tigress named Zita-Gita. Her coat is lion-colored, and her face and tail are tiger's.
A little about tigons
Tigons (or tigons) are a cross between a tiger and a lioness. In nature, such "nuggets" simply do not exist. All this is the result of artificial mixing of wild cats. The appearance of the tigon, of course, makes it similar to the liger. This hybrid also combines the characteristics of both mother and father. For example, tigons have spots on their skin, like a mother lioness, and stripes on the sides and legs, like a tiger's father. It is worth noting that the potential scruff of a tigon will always be slightly shorter than a real lion's mane. In addition, such a hybrid is significantly inferior in size to both tigers and lions, and its weight does not exceed 150 kg.