Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Liger vs. Tigon

Ligers (left) and tigons (right) are similar because they both are the result of a crossbreed between a lion and a tiger; however, they have some distinct differences. Ligers are more common because the breeding process for them is easier. A liger is born to a male lion and a female tiger, inheriting most characteristics from its lion father. However, like their tigon ancestor, the liger loves to swim when most lions do not. The liger is usually a golden color with muted stripes (from the tiger parent) and spots (from the lion parent). They inherit the best qualities from both parents, including their size, which makes the liger one of the biggest cats in the world (unlike its tigon counterpart). There is greater interest in the liger specifically because of its massive size.
The tigon is born to a male tiger and female lion, and it is significantly smaller then the liger and usually both parents. It has the same features — muted stripes and spots and a golden coat — of the liger; however, it is often born prematurely and has a shorter lifespan. Both the liger and tigon are members of the genus Panthera; they don’t have a scientific name because of their human assisted ancestry.