You’ve Always Wanted To Ask It, But You Were Always Afraid To Ask: Are Ligers Real? Find Out Now!

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Back in 2004, everyone got to see the movie Napoleon Dynamite. If you’re not really that familiar with the movie, then you’re missing quite a lot in life. Napoleon is that awkward teen who has that curly and ruffled hair, a distinct accent and a pair of large lenses. This indie movie turned out to be a success, which is why it was then turned into a TV series in 2012. It’s hideously funny and the animation was just right. The main character, Napoleon always talks about his favorite animal, the Liger, which he loosely explained as a half lion and a half tiger. From there on people started to ask questions like “Are ligers real? and “Do they really exist at all? So let’s get the facts straight and see what Ligers are.

Ligers are the result of putting a Mama Tiger and and Papa Lion in one room.

Ligers are the result of putting a Mama Tiger and and Papa Lion in one room

Yup, you read that right. We all know that tigers are mostly from Asia, and lions are from Africa (or did you know at all!), and if you do know your geography then you know that there’s no chance that these two can mate in the wild. But of course, thanks to zoos all over the world, we don’t really need to fly off to Africa or Asia just to lay our eyes on these two beautiful beasts. The problem however is that due to the confined spaces, sometimes, the female animals in heat would mate with species that aren’t really their kind and poof you get hybrid species.

Ligers were bred by accident.

Ligers were bred by accident

By accident indeed! While these two animals are found in two separate continents in the world, there is this one place in the world where these two species overlap – the Gir National Forest. However dry and arid the area is, there’s no telling if this was where it all began. Then breeders began to couple the male lion and the female lion to create these creatures.

They are more like their Dads than their Moms.

They are more like their Dads than their Moms

Ligers got their facial features from their Moms. They have spotted faces with the distinct shape of a tiger’s head. Their body structure resembles more of their Dad’s, large, domineering body wrapped in a thick golden fur. Apart from that it is seen that their genetic coding also says that they are more like their fathers than their mothers.

They’re more prone to diseases because of their faulty genetics.

They’re more prone to diseases because of their faulty genetics

Genetics can be very difficult to put up with. It dictates the body’s structure, function and even physiology. One genetic mutation could cause diseases and even deaths even before one is born. Given that fact, it’s very understandable why ligers are very high risk species. Thanks to the differing DNAs of their parents, genetic abnormalities develop and therefore create more and more physiological problems for these animals.

Baby ligers are delivered only through Caesarian deliveries!

Baby ligers are delivered only through Caesarian deliveries

Baby ligers are so huge they can’t possibly be delivered through normal delivery procedure. They could tear their mother’s birth canal. So, instead of the normal delivery, the C-section is done to safely pull out the baby from the mother’s womb and to make sure that the Momma Tiger won’t die from giving birth.

Ligers are thought to be the biggest cats in the world.

Ligers are thought to be the biggest cats in the world

Record shows that they can grow up to 10 feet or more. Lions can grow up to 4 to 6 feet, while tigers can be 7 to 9 feet long, which can be the reason why these animals can grow so big. Their size is no match to any basketball player out there. Yao Ming stands at 7’6’’ while Hasheem Thabeet is 7’3’’. That’s a 3 feet deficit! Can you even imagine how big ligers can be? No wonder they’re the biggest cats in the world!

They can grow pretty heavy as well.

They can grow pretty heavy as well

These animals don’t just grow big, but they also weigh immensely heavy. Hercules, the liger from Miami weighed 410 kg, Nook from Wisconsin weighed 550 kg and Patrick from LA was 420 kg. That’s roughly equivalent to the weight of 7 people.

They can run as fast as a Ford Focus.

They can run as fast as a Ford Focus.

The recorded speed of a Liger is at 50 mph; they can be as fast as a Ford Focus Electric, Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf.  They’re just a bit slower than the Cheetah, which can run up to 70 mph. Now that is pretty impressive for an animal so large and so heavy!

They can roar like a lion or grow like a tiger depending on the situation.

They can roar like a lion or grow like a tiger depending on the situation

Given that they have such different parents, it really no surprise that they would inherit a specific trait or two. That long list of characteristics and traits also include the sound that they can make. They say that ligers most of the time would sound like a lion, but there are some instances when you can hear them growl like tigers instead.

They live very short lives. Guess the 9 lives theory doesn’t apply to them.

They live very short lives. Guess the 9 lives theory doesn’t apply to them

Because of their faulty genetics, genes are not expressed properly and it could get pretty messy with their DNAs as well.  That could affect them in so many ways. We mentioned earlier that they are more prone to diseases, which make their lives even shorter than they are intended to be. So if you do fancy seeing a liger with your own eyes, you better make sure that you see it pronto because it wouldn’t really last that long.

Animal hybrids are very common. Remember the mules? They’re produced by a donkey and a horse. If you also have come across a Savannah Cat, then you ought to know that they’re from mating a domestic cat with an African cat.  They’re created sometimes for a specific purpose, and sometimes, they’re just an anomaly of nature that turns into something that’s worth everyone’s attention. There are many more animal hybrids out there. Do you know one? Let us know!