liger hercules bigcat

Hercules the liger - putting the 'very very big cat' back in 'big cat'

By 29 Jan 2010

Is it a lion? Is it a tiger? Actually, it's both - and Hercules the liger is the biggest of his kind in the world.

Hercules the Liger
Hercules the liger ....... Why the big claws?

At a massive 12 feet long, and weighing over 900 pounds, Hercules has a whole page devoted to him in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The lion/tiger crossbreed has inherited traits from both his parents - and the appetite of both combined, consuming 25 pounds of meat and gallon of water each day.

'Hercules is a prime example of hybrid vigour, which he gets from his lion father and his tigress mother,' said Dr Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle, the founder of the wittily named The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S) in South Carolina, who has brought up eight-year old Hercules since birth.

Ligers (which are always the result of male lions and female tigers crossbreeding) are larger than either lions or tigers - unlike tiglons (male tiger/female lion crossbreeds), which are the same size as their parents - due to sex-linked genes that are only expressed in the hybrids.

There have been other, obsese ligers who weigh more than the fit and healthy Hercules - but Guinness World Records lists him as the largest living cat on Earth.

Hercules is thought to have been the result of an accident on the part of his parents, who lived in close proximity at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, in Miami, Florida, rather than a grand cross-species romance.