Are Ligers Real Animals?

The liger is a big cat born from the breeding of a male lion and a female tiger. This combination produces an offspring with more lionistic features than if the reverse pairing had occurred. That would produce a more tigeristic creature known as a tigon. Both are members of genus Panthera.There is no scientific name assigned to this animal because it is a combination of two species. Some ligers grow impressive manes, while others do not. Ligers are prone to giantism and grow much larger than either parent. A liger looks like a giant lion with muted stripes but like their tiger ancestors, ligers like swimming.

Swimming goes against the nature of a lion but is what makes hybrid creature special. It gets the best of both parents. That is not always the case though with crossbreeds. Sometimes the results go the other way and the animal gets the worst of both parents.

A tigon or tigron is a hybrid cross between a male tiger and a female lion or lioness. The tigon is not currently as common as the liger, however, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tigons were more common than ligers. Tigons tend to be the same size or smaller than their parents and have less angular heads. They have a stronger striping pattern generally.

As the liger is the offspring of two different animal species, the lion and the tiger, the liger is thought to be sterile in the same way as a mule or zonkey. However, the male ligers and tigons are sterile while the female ligers and tigons are generally fertile. The males typically have low testosterone and not very motile sperm. Because only female ligers and tigons are fertile, ligers and tigons cannot reproduce with each other. They can breed to a male of either parent species (tiger or lion) producing 3/4 tigers and 3/4 lions (ti tigon, ti liger, etc).

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