Meet The Liger: Half Lion, Half Tiger And The World’s Largest Cat

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Meet the liger, a man-made hybrid cross between a male lion and tigress, something that would never occur in nature. With that said, you will only find ligers in captivity.

Ligers look like a striped lion. They tend to inherit the tawny brown fur from their lion fathers and the dark stripes from their tigress mothers.

As a result of the hybrid, ligers are the largest felines on earth. They are the biggest and heaviest cats on the planet.  In fact, the largest feline in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records is a liger named Hercules, who weighs 922 pounds and measures 11 feet in length and 4 feet at the shoulder. He resides at Myrtle Beach Safari, a wildlife attraction in South Carolina.


In recent weeks, the Netflix documentary ‘Tiger King‘ has shed light on the liger species. The documentary follows a man named ‘Joe Exotic’ who once owned the largest ‘animal sanctuary’ (if that is what one would call it), in the world. The film highlights the illegal sale and trade of large cats across America and is filled with drama, murder and mayhem. Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for the ‘murder for hire’ plot against ‘crazy’ Carole Baskin – owner of Big Cat Rescue.

In addition to the documentary  highlighting Joe Exotic, they also feature Doc Antle, Owner of Hercules and Myrtle Beach Safari – which is currently under investigation by the FBI and PETA.

Hercules with Doc Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari

Unfortunately, ligers face a host of challenges. Like many other unnatural hybrids, ligers often die in the womb or prematurely. If they do make it to adulthood, they are genetically or physically sterile and unable to reproduce.

For these reasons as well as the lack of conservation value and the threat to the mother tigress during birth, ligers are banned in most zoos and animal sanctuaries; and those that choose to breed the animals are frowned upon by big cat conservationists around the globe.

Here is a documentary on Joe Exotic done before the Netflix documentary. We would highly recommend watching the Netflix documentary in addition to the one below.