Tag Archives: Tigon

A tigon is a hybrid cross between a male tiger (Panthera tigris) and a female lion (Panthera leo). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species. The tigon is not currently as common as the converse hybrid, the liger. There is also less interest in tigons because they do not reach the same impressive size as the liger. The size and appearance depends on which subspecies are bred together. The smaller size of the tigress compared to the lion means that some or all of the cubs may be stillborn or the cubs may be born prematurely (there isn’t enough space in the womb for them to develop any further) and may not survive. Premature birth can lead to health problems in those that survive. Tigons are very rare; only a few exist in the world, and even those are only held by private owners. This is because it is much more difficult to get the male tiger to mate with the female lion. Tigons look similar to ligers. They have varying stripes and spots. Tigons are also orangish in color. Male offspring may have a mane, but will be very modest. They are able to produce both lion and tiger sounds when they roar. One difference between tigons and ligers is their size. Tigons are not nearly as large as ligers. In fact, tigons are often times smaller than both of their parents. The lifespan of tigons, as well as other hybrid animals, is shorter than a normal species. The animals seem prone to cancers and other illnesses.

Tigon

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 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.
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