This White Lion and White Tiger Gave Birth to Extremely Rare Liger Cubs
Animals lovers who only thought that hybrids existed in books and movies: we’ve got news for you. White ligers exist and there are some living right here in the U.S.
Beautiful white tigers and lions are a rare anomaly, whether bred on purpose or through Mother Nature. Both animals have a similar gene that causes the white pigmentation in their coats. Many of those animals live in captivity and are bred through zoo programs.
At the T.I.G.E.R.S. Preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, four little legends were born. This entire story sounds like a mythical tale, starting with Ivory, a male white lion, and Saraswati, a female white Bengal tiger.
Themselves rarities of nature, the two became parents to four male white liger cubs, the first of their kind. Out of roughly 1,000 ligers in the world, they are the only ones that are white. Named Yeti, Odlin, Apollo, and Sampson, the hybrid brothers were born in November of 2013. At six weeks old, they already weighed 15 pounds!
According to the sanctuary’s doctors, they are expected to grow to be around ten feet tall and weigh 750 pounds. That wouldn’t be an unrealistic feat, as the cubs already have one family member in the Guinness Book of World Records. Uncle Hercules, also a liger, holds the record as the world’s largest living cat.
He is an astonishing 922 pounds and is 11 feet long. Don’t let his size fool you. His regular jogging speed is around 50 mph. Ligers in general are typically twice the size of their parents. They are so unique that they’ve been huge attractions at T.I.G.E.R.S. Preserve for years.
In an interview with Daily Mail, the director of the animal sanctuary, Dr. Antle, said this about the liger cubs:
“I am convinced Yeti will make the Guinness Book of Records. He’s so big already – he has such a big, fat head and paws. All the cubs grow so quickly, but Yeti is already so much bigger. I skip a day seeing them and it looks like they’ve doubled in size. It’s like someone’s blowing them up with a tire pump.”
It’s important to mention that ligers do not exist in the wild, and are the direct result of intentional cross-breeding programs. Also in that hybrid group is the tigon, a cross between a lioness and a male tiger. Yep, there’s a difference based on the parentage.
As adorable as these creatures are, there’s a huge chance they will be sterile because of their genetics. The chances of this happening again naturally are fairly slim. Ligers have complicated DNA that counters the evolution of their ancestors, leaving them vulnerable to infertility and other health issues, including shorter life spans.
Take a look at this video to see the cubby cuteness and to lay your eyes on Uncle Hercules. That should give you an idea of how big these four bros could grow. Would you want to cuddle with them?
Have you ever seen one of these ligers in real life? What are your thoughts on these cubs and their parents?