- This is an article about the species. For topics that share the name, see Liger (disambiguation)
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A liger is a hybrid species resulting from the mating of a male lion to a female tiger. The offspring is generally much larger than either of the parents, because of the growth inhibitor gene in these hybrids are due to absence or abundance of genes that limit or inhibit growth, which is a result of its parents not possessing the limiting growth gene. Ligers weigh from 900 to 1000 lbs, with some individuals known to weigh as much as 1500 lbs without being significantly overweight.
A related animal is the tigon, which is the hybrid offspring of a female lion and a male tiger.
Ligers generally possess a combination of traits from both parents, appearing as a clear mix between a lion and a tiger. Males often possess a mane, while both males and females bear brownish stripes from their tiger parent along their otherwise tawny body and face, cubs may have rosettes from their lion parent. They only exist in captivity because the territories of its two species don't overlap in the wild.
Like tigers, ligers enjoy swimming, and are very sociable like lions.
White tigers are sometimes crossed with white lions to produce pale golden and stripeless ligers.
It is sometimes stated by scientists that the liger resembles what the prehistoric large cats known as the Eurasian cave lion and American lion had looked like, in both stature and pelage. These species of large cat went extinct approximately 12,000 years ago and are credited to be direct ancestors to both modern lions and tigers.
The females are fertile and the males are sterile. When the females are mated with a lion, they can produce liligers, or when they are mated with a tiger, they can produce tiligers.
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