The liger is a cross (a hybrid) between a male lion and a female
tiger. It is therefore a member of genus Panthera. As is the case with
all hybrid species, there is no scientific name assigned to this animal. A liger
looks like a giant lion with diffused stripes. Ligers, unlike lions, like
Unfortunately, the crossed genes of this species causes it to have health
problems, including a high probability of blindness.
A cross between a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon.
According to "The Tiger, Symbol of Freedom" (Nicholas Courtney, editor), rare
reports have been made of tigresses mating with lions in the wild.
Comment "they are so big and beautiful its to bad that they
weren't made in the natural world"
Have your say
Ligers grow much larger than tigers or lions. Some have been estimated to
weigh over 500 kg (1100 lb), over twice the size of a male lion. It is
believed that this is because female lions transmit a growth-inhibiting gene to
their descendants to balance the growth-promoting gene transmitted by male
lions. (This gene is due to competitive mating strategies in lions.) A male lion
needs to be large to successfully defend the pride from other roaming male lions
and pass on his genes; also, in prides with multiple male adult lions, a male's
cubs need to be bigger than the competing males for the best chance of survival.
Thus, his genes favor larger offspring. A lioness, however, will have up to 5
cubs, and a cub is typically one of many being cared for in a pride with many
other lions. As such, it has a relatively high survival rate, and need not be
huge as it will not need to look after itself very quickly. Smaller cubs are
more easily cared for and fed and are less strain on the pride; hence, the
inhibiting gene developed.
Male tigers do not compete for status, and mate in the way that lions do; a
tigress only mates with one tiger when in season, so a tiger does not have the
same genetic predisposition to produce large competing offspring. Also, a
tigress typically has fewer cubs, and those have a much lower survival rate due
to the tiger's solitary nature, so being large and growing quickly are an
advantage; there is no need for a growth inhibitor. Being the offspring of a
male lion and female tiger, the liger inherits the growth-promoting gene
unfettered by a growth-inhibiting gene and typically grows larger than either
animal; this is called growth dysplasia. Some male ligers grow sparse manes.
Because of the impossibility of a gene being inherited from only females,
there is a competing hypothesis. This untested hypothesis holds that the lion's
sperm is damaged somehow during fertilization and that a growth-inhibiting gene
is typically destroyed. Female tigons and female ligers both possess a tiger X
chromosome and a lion X chromosome, yet only the female ligers will grow large,
which suggests that either something happens to alter the genes or the cause of
the growth dysplasia lies at least partially outside of genetics.
Another possible hypothesis is that the growth dysplasia results from the
interaction between lion genes and tiger womb environment. The tiger produces a
hormone that sets the fetal liger on a pattern of growth that does not end
throughout its life. The hormonal hypothesis is that the cause of the male
liger's growth is its sterility — essentially, the male liger remains in the
pre-pubertal growth phase. This is not upheld by behavioural evidence - despite
being sterile, many male ligers become sexually mature and mate with females. In
addition, female ligers also attain great size, weighing approximately 700 lb
(320 kg) and reaching 10 feet (3.05 m) tall on average, but are not fertile.
Vocalisation and behaviour
Ligers may exhibit emotional or behavioural conflicts due to their mixed
They inherit different or mixed vocabularies (tigers "chuff", lions roar). G
Peters included several hybrids (liger, tigon, leopon, liguar) in his
"Comparative Investigation of Vocalisation in Several Felids" published in
German in Spixiana-Supplement, 1978; (1): 1-206.
They may inherit conflicting behavioural traits from the parent species.
Ligers may exhibit conflicts between the social habits of the lion and the
solitary habits of the tiger. Their lion heritage wants them to form social
groups, but their tiger heritage urges them to be intolerant of company.
Opponents of deliberate hybridization say this causes confusion and depression
for the animals, especially after sexual maturity. How much of their behaviour
is due to conflicting instincts and how much is due to abnormal hormones or the
stress of captive conditions is not fully known.
Ligers have a tiger-like striping pattern on a lion-like tawny background. In
addition they may inherit rosettes from the lion parent (lion cubs are rosetted
and some adults retain faint markings). These markings may be black, dark brown
or sandy. The background colour may be correspondingly tawny, sandy or golden.
In common with tigers, their under parts are paler. The actual pattern and
colour depends on which subspecies the parents were and on the way in which the
genes interact in the offspring.
White tigers have been crossed with lions to produce "white" (actually pale
golden) ligers. In theory white tigers could be crossed with white lions to
produce white, very pale or even stripeless ligers. A black liger would require
both a melanistic tiger and a melanistic lion as parents. Very few melanistic
tigers have ever been recorded, most being due to excessive markings
(pseudo-melanism or abundism) rather than true melanism. No reports of black
lions have ever been substantiated. The blue or Maltese tiger is now unlikely to
exist, making gray or blue ligers an impossibility. It is not impossible for a
liger to be white, but it is very rare.
Ligers in popular culture
- Multiple mecha from the Zoids franchise (including manga, anime and
model kits) are classified as the Liger-type. The most well known examples are
the Blade Liger and Liger Zero.
- In Go Nagai's manga/anime TV series Getter Robo G one of the title
robot's three combination forms is Getter Liger.
- In Transformers Cybertron, the character Leobreaker transforms into a
lion. However, in the show's Japanese version, his alternate moder is called a
liger, as evidenced by Japanese name, Liger Jack.
- Jushin Liger - a professional wrestler
- In the anime and manga Duel Masters, there is a card called
"Deathliger, Lion of Chaos."
- The anime Dancougar includes a mecha called Land Liger the design of
which is based on the animal.
- In the Marvel UK comic book series Warheads, the leader of the
mystical mercenaries called the Warheads is named Col. Tigon Liger.
- In Irvine Welsh's book Marabou Stork Nightmares, Roy sees a liger
during one of his trips to the zoo.
- In the NES game Rygar, the final boss is a creature named Ligar
[sic], who resembles an anthropomorphic lion.
- The title character of the movie Napoleon Dynamite declares ligers to
be "pretty much" his favorite animal, and states that they are "bred for their
skills in magic".  The liger he draws in the movie does not look like a real
liger, rather resembling a manticore. A ramshackle roadside zoo near Preston,
Idaho, where the film is set, once housed a menagerie of lion-tiger hybrids as
well as lions, tigers and wolves.
Ligers tend to be found in the Sibley Zoo in Mankato, Minnesota along with
its relative the Tigon
|they are so big and
beautiful its to bad that they weren't made in the natural world
|I think that ligers are cool but I'm
also against them being made. I mean, like why create them if they
can hardly survive. That's just cruel.
|i love ligers
|in a way i think it is cruel but i
also think they are very beautiful creatures
|They are very
beautiful. The one I saw was playful!
|ligers are awesome that is why i am
writing a report about them:)
|Well then, if we
shouldn't create what we want then I guess we should kill all of our
domesticated livestock; dogs, horses, cats, etc. They are ALL
selectively human bred just to be used by us. We've been playing God
since humans came into existence. And what of mules and hinnies?
Just because they aren't beautiful means we should ignore them?
These hybrids are beautiful animals but I do think they should
remain as a mistake breeding between a lion and a tiger, not as a
|Ligers shouldn't have been bred we
are playing god. We shouldn't create or kill animals to extinction.
Ligers besides don't work they are too big to be camouflaged are
slow runners and can't cover great distances we cannot put one in
the wild because it could not hunt for itself. We shouldn't create
because things always go wrong
|It's not "cool" if
the poor thing has a horrible life. You people are ridiculously
immature. What's cool about a sick, unhappy animal? If I went around
blinding tigers and making them so obese that they died a slow,
painful death because their organs couldn't support them anymore,
would you think they were cool too?
|Tigers... Ligons..... Cool!
|ligers are awesome but yet i do agree with some people it is wrong in a way because animals needed to be bred
with their own kind but they are cool : )
|Ligers are cool! They are fascinating creatures!
|ligers are the most
awesome animals ever!
|ligers are cool
|i like them because they are
pretty but i do admit it is cruel
|i think that its not right to
breed animals that aren't supposed to be together
|i think that ligers and tigons
are interesting however it is very cruel to produce them seeing as they usually
cannot reproduce and get depression-now that's just sad!
|what that guy talkin' 'bout ligers r the bomb and
u should keep makein' then
|How dare u combine 2 wonderful
animals you are wrong a tiger is a tiger and a lion is a lion it should stay
|i think a liger is impressive but they're created
for entertainment and their life is confusing and depressing for them
|my teacher finds them very
interesting actually, so do i, i wish i had one as a pet. lol XD
|my teacher doesn't believe in
Ligers. she says cross breeding is WRONG! LOL!
|i don't no that liger are true
|Why breed ligers and tions if
it causes death, blindness and health problems?
|the liger is HUGE!!!
|I love ligers I'm doing a research on them to.
|i love ligers. i did research on them for
|they're too big to live in captivity, why
|they should have a football team named the
|i think a liger and a tigon are the same
because the female liger and tigon look the same so they should be called a
liger and he two males tigon and if a liger and tigon crossed their cubs would
be called ligion.
|I recon that Linor from the Thunder Cats
was a Liger because he had a main but still was very strippy. I love Ligers
|i love ligers they are the best
|they are the coolest animals ever.!
|How dare u combine 2 wonderful animals like
these that is wrong.
don't know maybe ligon
hey if the liger mates with a tigon what would the cubs be