The liger is a hybrid offspring of a lion and a tigeress. The liger is distinct and different from the similar hybrid tigon which is a male tiger and, and is the largest of all known felines.
They enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tigons.
Males reach a total length of 3 to 3.6 m (9.8 to 11.8 ft), which means that they rival even large male lions and tigers in length.
Other big cat hybrids can reach similar sizes; the litigon, a rare hybrid of a male lion and a female tigon, is roughly the same size as the liger, with a male named Cubanacan (at the Alipore Zoo in India) reaching 363 kg (800 lb).
It is wrongly believed that ligers continue to grow throughout their lives due to hormonal issues. It may be that they simply grow far more during their growing years and take longer to reach their full adult size.
Further growth in shoulder height and body length is not seen in ligers over 6 years old, as in both lions and tigers. Male ligers also have the same levels of testosterone on average as an adult male lion, yet are azoospermic in accordance with Haldane’s rule.
In addition, female ligers may also attain great size, weighing approximately 320 kg (705 lb) and reaching 3.05 m (10 ft) long on average, and are often fertile.
Ligers are about the same size as the prehistoric Smilodon populator and American lion.