Ligers For Sale
Ligers in particular have piqued the interest of exotic animal lovers who are fond of big cats, with their large size, striking features and unusual breed making them rare and valuable. Below we will explore the history of ligers, as we try and assess the responsibility that comes with keeping these extant felines as pets.
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History of Ligers
A liger is a hybrid cross that occurs between a male lion and a tigress, and differs from a tigon which is a lioness and male tiger cross. It has the head and tail of a lion (minus the mane) and the body of a tiger, and has faint tiger striped patterns on its body and rosettes on its head.
The history of ligers stretches back almost 200 years to the late 18th century, with several engravings and paintings depicting their existence. The Gir Forest in India is the only place in the world where the territories of lions and tigers overlap, and there are reports that a liger was born in this region in 1799- a single painting is the only proof of this.
Officially, the 1st liger ever recorded was in Asia (in the India-Pakistan region) in 1824. During this period in history India was ruled by the British, and ligers were often presented as gifts to the royal family. In 1837 two liger cubs were bestowed upon King William IV and his heir Queen Victoria. 60 years later (in 1897) a number of liger cubs were born in Hamburg at the Hagenback's Tierpark. In 1935, 4 liger cubs from 2 litters were bred in Bloemfontein, South Africa at the zoological gardens. 3 of these ligers survived to adulthood, and in 1953 (at the age of 18) the sole male liger weighed in at 750 lbs and was nearly half a meter taller than all the full grown lions when measured at the shoulder.
In 2007, a tigress in China named Huan Huan became famous after giving birth to a record 12 ligers over a period of nearly 5 years. These liger cubs included a set of twins and a set of quadruplets, and out of the 12 cubs 10 survived infancy.
Housing Ligers in Captivity
Ligers only exist in captivity, and there has never been evidence that suggests that their habitat ever existed in the wild. They are active animals that have a gentle and docile demeanor, but this may be due to the fact that they are born in captivity and are therefore tamed. There are about 100 ligers in the world, and 30 of these live in the USA. Though it is not illegal in some states to breed these hybrids, zoo policy expressly forbids this practice-even though a liger may sometimes be conceived by accident.
Baby ligers are often kept as pets, but their owners often transfer them to sanctuaries when they grow too big. A non-obese male liger can reach to between 3 and 3.5 m in length and 900 lbs in weight(larger than the Siberian male tiger), and the female liger can reach to 3.05 m in length and 705 lbs in weight. These animals often live to between 15 and 20 years, though the USA's first female liger- Shasta, lived to 24 years of age.
What do Ligers eat?
A liger can comfortably eat 100 lbs of food in one sitting; however this is unhealthy as they are susceptible to obesity. A healthy liger diet would include milk, 18-25 lbs of raw meat and 1 gallon of water daily. Raw meat can include venison, beef, elk, horse, mutton, rabbit, chicken, goat and pigs. A liger will eat the whole animal including the organs, muscles and bones. You should never feed a liger fried food, chocolate or chicken bones.
To begin with, all liger cubs are given vaccines before adoption. Because of the small number of ligers in the world, it has become difficult to fully examine the gene deficiency of this species. Even though they inherit the strongest features of the lion and the tiger, they have a number of defective genes that make them susceptible to certain diseases.
The cub mortality rate of ligers is equal to that of tigers and lions, but as a liger grows up it becomes prone to blindness, pyometra, neurological problems, a weakened heart and other health issues- these issues are under debate.
The leading cause of death in ligers includes kidney failure, weak immune system, renal failure, arthritis and bone cancer. It is therefore critical to have a vet check on your liger, and a once a year vet visit is recommended barring health complications. As a liger grows the frequency of vet visits may grow to include dental work, xrays for spinal problems and ultra sounds for cancer.
Just like all cats, ligers require daily exercise in order to prevent obesity- which is a common trait in this species. It is recommended to have at least 15 acres of land to let them walk and run; unfortunately these animals are lazy during the day and prefer to exercise at night (between 7pm and 3 am). Additionally, ligers take after their tiger fathers and enjoy swimming. If you are keeping a liger as a pet or in an enclosure, it is essential for you to have a pond or water hole for them to swim in.
In conclusion, it is not easy rearing a liger and it should never be done for sport or entertainment. These hybrids require huge amounts of food, expert vet care, experienced handlers and a lot of patience. Because they grow fast and they grow big, it is advised for you to only keep them as pets for a short amount of time (6 months) before you move them to specialist housing.
The allure of ligers is apparent, they are rare and they are stunning. Ensure that you have the resources to take care of a liger so that they do not suffer from disease, malnutrition or obesity.