Wild Fact #885 – This Animal is "Dynamite" – Liger
As I promised, my second week of holidays will provide you with another crazy Wild Facts theme. I hinted at it last week indicating that each fact would be a combination of two animals. I didn’t lie either since we will be exploring some of the crazy and popular hybrid animals. Please don’t expect to see a Wild Fact on the “Cabbit” this week since this cross between a cat and a rabbit does not exist! I remember having this argument while I was in University so I wanted to emphasize that it is genetically impossible for a cat and rabbit to succesfully breed.
The liger on the other hand does exist and has been made quite popular from the Napoleon Dynamite movie. A liger is the offspring resulting from the breeding of a male lion and female tiger. These types of hybrids usually experience giantism where the liger will be much larger than either parent. In fact, a liger is considered to be the largest cat measuring between 2.8-3.6 m (9-12′) long and weigh between 400-600 kg (882-1322 lbs). I guess at this point, I should mention that ligers don’t occur in the wild. I don’t want you being afraid of the 1300 pound predator chasing you on your next holiday. They are only found in captivity since the distribution of tigers and lions don’t overlap in nature. It is tough to mate with a partner that you never see, right?
The characteristics of these animals vary since the liger gets traits from both a tiger and a lion . Their colour can be black, brown, tan or orange. It is possible for them to have a mane but doesn’t always occur. Most ligers are great swimmers which is a quality of the tiger and they tend to be very social which obviously comes from the lion side of the family. I wonder if the liger would be the outcast at an all tiger/lion school? I guess it wouldn’t matter since they are much larger and could just bully his way into popularity.
Since the liger is created from breeding two different species of animals, there are some drawbacks for the offspring. The male ligers are typcially sterile and have low amounts of testosterone. The female ligers are fertile but obviously cannot mate with their male counterparts so they have to settle for a male lion or tiger. I guess this lack of reproduction potential is an indication of why you don’t mess around with nature.
It may not be right to play Mother Nature but it sure does make for an interesting Wild Fact. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another unusual cross-breed.