Tigons - Page 1:
Description | 2:
The Breeding Of Tigons
What are tigons?:
Tigons are the opposite of ligers and have a tiger father and lioness mother. They may also be referred to as tiglons or tions.
The breeding of ligers (lion father/tigress mother) has always been easily accomplished, both by accident and design. Tigons, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to breed and very rare. Until recently, there were no recorded living tigons; the very few that do exist are probably in private ownership.
Please report any tigons to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Known living tigons:
There is one notable exception to the above private ownership comment. Over Christmas 2000 a pair of tigon twins joined the collection at Australia's National Zoo. The male (Aster) and female (Tangier) were bred accidentally at a circus, the offspring of a Bengal tiger and a lioness. After being hand-raised they eventually moved to a private facility where they were housed for another five years.
The quality of their housing was questioned and after communication with the state government an alternative home was eventually sought. There were also lions and tigers requiring new homes and the National Zoo had already agreed to take them. When it came to light that there were few options for the tigon pair the zoo extended their offer and agreed to house the tigons on humanitarian grounds. They also started work on building a third new open moated cat exhibit to provide the best possible facilities.
The pair are nearly 16-years-old and in good health. They consume around 4 kgs of meat per day, with one or two starve days a week. Both cats have benefited from a loss in excess weight since being transferred to the zoo. They are fed a mixture of beef, horse, kangaroo, chicken, goat and rabbit.
Infertility in hybrid cats is often claimed, but this is not always correct. It seems accurate to say the males are infertile; post mortems have confirmed this, but females may go on to produce offspring This page displays a photograph of a ti-liger (above) and a ti-tigon (below).
The first was the offspring of a tiger and a ligress, (more photos can be found under the liger article) while the second came about after a mating between a male tiger and a female tigon. They provide certain proof of the fact that hybrid females may be fertile.
On the other hand, tigons Aster and Tangier have been housed together for their entire life (as far as is known). Tangier comes into season regularly and Aster mates with her but despite their long term association the pair have never reproduced. There are no plans to attempt to breed tigons or ligers at this facility so the fertility issue is unlikely ever to be explored, however it is probable it is Aster who is infertile.
The chart shown below lists the common names given to hybrid tigers and lions. Claims have been made of at least one tig-liger (tigon father/liger mother), but this site has yet to get confirmation of this and remains highly skeptical due to the extreme rarity of tigons, and also the fact that fertility in male hybrid cats is unconfirmed.
It seems more likely that the combination would arise from mating a tiger with a ligress, producing a ti-liger. Confusion readily arises regarding the breeding of hybrid cats and this explanation would provide a possible answer.
Like all hybrid cats the offspring of a tiger and lioness share the characteristics of both their parents. They:
The life span of many hybrid big cats is short and they seem prone to cancers and other illnesses. Confusion between the social lion personality and the solitary tiger personality is noted by handlers.
Ti-ligers and ti-tigons are 75% tiger so tend to so tend to have more of the characteristics and appearance of the tiger.
Ligers are prone to gigantism; they are the largest cats in the world and can be double the size of an average adult male Amur (Siberian) tiger.
It is commonly thought tigons are prone towards dwarfism and are much smaller than either of their parents. This does not always apply and they often have the body size of a lioness or Bengal tiger. Aster weighs in at 160 kg; this is the very upper end of the weight range for an adult female Bengal tiger, but small for a male. Tangier is 145 kg, the mid-range for an adult female Bengal. These tigons certainly do not exhibit any form of miniaturisation.
It is usually accurate to say tigons don't exceed the size of their parents. They also seem not to display the same tendency towards 'hybrid vigour' as regards faster growth.
With Thanks To Chris Link