What Happens When Lions and Tigers Mate and What are the Hybrid Cross-Bred Offspring Called?

Lions and Tigers never mate in the wild.

liger cub

But they sometimes do in in big cat refuges in the United States, resulting in hybrid cross-breed babies. The offspring are called ligers and tigons, or sometimes, illogically, tiglons.

A liger is the result of a male lion mating with a tigress, while the tigon, or tiglon, is from a male tiger and a lioness.

Ligers enjoy swimming which is a characteristic of tigers and are very sociable like lions. But unlike lions, ligers are more likely to live past birth.

The history of ligers dates to at least the early 19th century in India.

Both hybrids are a tawny color with pale stripes, with the tigon’s stripes more prominent than the liger’s. As far as we know, these hybrids are incapable of producing young.

Maybe that’s just as well, the mind boggles at what might happen if they crossed a tigon with a liger.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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