Baby Liger, A Lion-Tiger Hybrid, Unveiled at South Carolina Wildlife Reserve

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baby liger picture
Liger cub with his 900-pound brother and trainer. Splash News

The Myrtle Beach Safari wildlife reserve in South Carolina recently announced the birth of a baby liger, the cross between a male lion and a tigress. The adorable 4-week-old Aries is pictured here peeking out from behind his 8-year-old big brother, Hercules. Aries may look small now, but he is expected to gain almost one pound a day, which will most likely put him at 365 pounds by his first birthday, Dr. Bhagavan Antle, director of The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), told the (U.K.) Daily Mail.

Aries's older brother weighs in at a whopping 900 pounds, and stands almost 6 feet tall. Talk about a big kitty!

The coupling of a lion and a tiger is uncommon, especially in the wild. Lions are found mostly in Africa, while tigers live in Asia, and both species are extremely territorial. However, Aries and Hercules are a byproduct of T.I.G.E.R.S., which was established to provide funding to international wildlife conservation programs, along with education and field research, according to its website.

While ligers are bigger than both lions and tigers, they also have lighter stripes than tigers and a characteristic heart-shaped head without much of a mane like a lion would have. Hercules's head -- and soon Aries, who they expect to be as large if not larger than his older brother -- is 2 feet and 3 inches across, and his 2-inch claws are the same size as a velociraptor dinosaur, according to the Daily Mail.

Ligers are distinct from tigons, the hybrid of a tiger father and lioness mother. There are even litigons, the hybrid of a male lion and a female tigon.


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