Hercules, the Liger

Hercules, the liger

Hercules, the liger

We were sent this story by one of our readers (thanks Steve!) about Hercules, a liger.  A liger is the offspring of a lion father and tiger mother.  By the way, there are tigons, too, which have lion mothers and tiger fathers.  Ligers and tigons have been bred in captivity, deliberately  and accidentally.  They are not known to exist in the wild due to their lack of overlapping natural range of habitat.

Hercules was born and lives at the Institute of Endangered and Rare Species, in  Miami, Florida — this is part of the T.I.G.E.R.S. (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species) and R.S.F. (Rare Species Fund), which we first mentioned when we told you about best friends, Roscoe (dog) and Suryia (orangutan). Hercules was the result of an accidental pairing between two cats that live at the institute.  “Ligers are not something we planned on having,” said institute owner Dr. Bhagavan Antle.  “We have lions and tigers living together in large enclosures and at first we had no idea how well one of the lion boys was getting along with a tiger girl, then lo and behold we had a liger.”

Yes, he really is THAT big!

Yes, he really is THAT big!

Hercules is 900 pounds and is ten feet tall when standing on his back legs; ligers tend towards gigantism (none of these photos have been altered).  He currently holds the title of the largest cat by the Guinness Book of World Records.

He eats on a typical day 200 pounds of meat, usually beef or chicken, and is capable of eating 100 pounds in as a meal.

Hercules can run at 50mph. He likes swimming, something that lions absolutely despise but tigers do regularly.  Conversely, he is very social like a lion (while tigers have a social system, they are much more solitary creatures than lions).

As hybrid offspring, ligers have  a variety of health issues.  They tend to have a shortened life span as well as birth defects and other mutations.  Due to their size, the tiger mother is not large enough to give birth to the liger cub and it needs to be delivered by Ceasarian section.  Liger males, by virtue of being hybrid offspring, are sterile making it impossible to produce a liger+liger litter.

Hercules seems completely healthy and is expected to live a long life.

The camera loves him!

The camera loves him!

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4 Responses to “Hercules, the Liger”

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  1. Dawn says:

    WOW he is realy cute. I cant believe how big he is. I think I would be afaid he would eat me for a snack.

  2. Hercules has four more brothers now. It has 3 twin brothers which are Sinbad, Vulcan and Zeus. While they have recently one more younger brother as well. Their father was Aurthur the lion and amazing lion that has a record of producing worlds’ famous profilic ligers.


  1. [...] Hercules, famous for being the Guiness Book of World Record holder of largest cat, is now also a big brother – and at 900 pounds and standing at almost 6 feet tall, he is a really BIG brother! [...]

  2. [...] Hercules, a liger living in the Institute of Endangered and Rare Species, in  Miami, Florida, is considered the world’s largest cat by the Guinness Book of World Records.  He weighs a little over 900 pounds and when he stands up on his back feet he is 10 feet tall. [...]

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