Tag Archives: Hercules (Liger)

Hercules, the largest non-obese liger who lives at the Myrtle Beach Safari wildlife preserve in South Carolina, is the World’s largest living cat, according to the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records. He weighs 922 pounds (418.2 kg), is 131 inches (332.74 cm) long, and measures 49 inches (124.46 cm) tall at the shoulder.

He was born among a litter of four in November 2001 at the preserve and named after the mythological character. Hercules, who consumes 20 to 25 pounds of meat daily and has favorite logs he uses to sharpen his claws, also has traveled coast to coast to promote wildlife conservation.

Hercules, the liger

Top 5 largest prehistoric cats

Like all prehistoric counterparts of today’s animals, the prehistoric cats were usually larger, heavier and more robust than today’s felines. Here are the top five largest prehistoric cats.

For a comparison, male African Lions sometimes exceed 250 kg (550 lb) in weight. Reported body measurements in males are head-body lengths ranging from 170 to 250 cm (5 ft 7 inches to 8 ft 2 inches), tail lengths of 90–105 cm (2 ft 11 in–3 ft 5 in). Male Siberian (Amur) tigers have a head and body length of between 190–230 cm (75–91 in) and weigh between 180 to 306 kg (397 to 675 lb).

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Hybrid Big Cats

Four of the five species of the big cats (the Panthera genus – lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard), the exception being the snow leopard can hybridize with each other to produce numerous hybrids. In fact, breeding of two different pantheras to produce hybrid big cats has been banned in many zoos and animal sanctuaries due to no conservation value of the hybrid, and the risk it poses on the mother that gives birth to it.

For instance, the liger’s increased growth rate and enormous size can cause the tigress giving birth to have a difficult delivery, endangering both the mother and her liger cubs, which may be born prematurely or require a Caesarian. Common problems in cubs that survive are neurological disorders, obesity, genetic defects, and a shortened lifespan; though a few have reportedly made it to their twenties, many don’t survive past the age of seven.

Moreover, male ligers have lowered testosterone levels and sperm counts, rendering them infertile while females, though capable of reproducing with either a lion or a tiger, often give birth to sickly cubs that don’t survive.

However, hybrids do occur by accident in captivity.

Most hybrids would not survive in the wild due to the males being infertile, but a few (such as the Leopon – leopard father, lion mother) are fertile and have a chance of survival in the wild.

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World’s Largest Living Cat: Hercules, the liger (video)

Ligers are the largest cats on Earth. A liger can be more than 900 pounds (~408 kg) in weight and 12 feet (~3.65 m) long, weighing almost 100 times more than house cats and almost twice as much as either Panthera tigris (tiger) or Panthera leo (lion).

The liger, the largest of all known extant felines, is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a female tiger.

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