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The Difference Between a Liger and a Tigon

Ligers and tigons are hybrid offspring of a tiger and lion. They partially inherit the characteristics of their parents, but differ from each other.

5-Minute Crafts would like to tell you about how to differentiate these big cats.

  • A liger’s father is a lion, and a tigon’s father is a tiger.
    liger is a hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. And a tigon is an offspring of a lioness and a male tiger.
  • A liger is larger and heavier.
    A liger and a tigon have the features of both parents, but a liger is bigger than either of its parents (and is actually the biggest cat on the planet). Ligers can grow up to 10.8 feet in length and weigh more than 900 pounds. Tigons, on the other hand, tend to be the same size as their parents, or smaller. The average weight of a tigon is 400–450 pounds, and the body length is about 8 feet.
    So, a liger can be 2 times heavier than a tigon and noticeably longer.
  • Ligers are taller.
    The height of a liger standing on its hind legs reaches an average of 6 feet from the paws to the tips of the ears. Tigons are not that tall. Their height in the same position is approximately 4.5–5 feet.
  • Ligers and tigons have a different coat pattern.
    The coat of ligers is tawny-orange, with soft stripes on the back and spots on the belly.
    Tigons also have spots and stripes on the body, but their coat has a dark orange color and is white on the belly. Males have short manes.
  • Almost all male tigons have a mane, while ligers almost never have one.
    Male ligers almost never have a mane. Some specimens may have slightly elongated hair on the neck, that looks like of a lion’s mane, similar in color to the rest of the body. On the other hand, tigons almost always have a mane. However, it sometimes looks like a tiger’s mane and is not as thick as a lion’s mane.
  • The bite of a liger is much stronger.
    Ligers have a very large head (its width can be equal to the width of human shoulders), while the head of a tigon is almost half that. The large head also provides ligers with a great bite force.

Bonus: litigons, liligers, titigons, and tiligons

Many hybrids obtained by artificial crossing remain sterile throughout their lives. When crossing lions and tigers, male cubs also can’t have offspring. However, female ligers and tigons are able to give birth to cubs. By crossing them with male tigers or lions, scientists obtained new hybrids of the second generation.

  • Litigon is a rare hybrid of the second generation, obtained by crossing a female tigon and a male lion.
    The first known litigon was born at the Alipore Zoo in India in 1971. The mother was a female tigon named Rudhrani, who subsequently gave birth to 7 more healthy litigons.
  • Liliger is a hybrid of a male lion and a female liger.
    The first liliger cub was born at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Germany in 1943. Later, liligers were born at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Foundation in Oklahoma in 2013.
  • Titigon is a hybrid of a male tiger and a female tigon. The first titigon occurred at the Shambala Preserve in California in 1983.
  • Tiliger is the offspring of a male tiger and a female liger. Very few tiligers live in captivity, and most of them are in the USA.
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