Some people may not realize that ligers, a tiger and lion mix, are more than just a figment of imagination. They are, in fact, very real creatures. And incredibly adorable ones at that!
Ligers are a hybrid mix between lions and tigers and are some of the most rare animals on the planet. There are only roughly 1,000 of them living in the world today, most living in captivity for protection. The number just grew not by one but by four!
Yeti, Odlin, Sampson, and Apolo are the newest addition to the liger population. These four brothers are even more rare than typical ligers. They are believed to be the first all white ligers ever born.
The cubs were born to Ivory, a white lion, and Saraswati, a white tiger. The parents are almost as rare as their children considering there are only 1,200 white tigers and 300 white lions in the whole world.
The rare family is being housed in the T.I.G.E.R. Sanctuary located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The sanctuary has been known for successfully breeding ligers before as well. They currently hold the Guinness World Record for the largest cat in the world. Hercules is a 922 pound liger. Even though he’s a very large, seemingly intimidating cat, he is still a big softy who loves to play with those around him.
Hercules is actually an uncle to the four new brothers Yeti, Odlin, Sampson, and Apolo. He enjoys playing with the tiny cubs but it won’t be long until they are just as big as their giant uncle. The small ligers have been growing at a rate of about one pound per day.
Dr. Antle, the founder of T.I.G.E.R. Sanctuary is truly in awe over the cubs’ growth rate. He said, “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.”
Similar to humans, the cubs received traits from both of their parents. The liger cubs are sociable like lions and love to swim like tigers. Each liger cub has their own personality traits as well. Apolo, the runt of the family, has more of a house-cat personality, always wanting to cuddle up the the human handlers. Yeti is the attention hog of the family and he is also the biggest of the brothers. Dr. Antle thinks Yeti could even grow up to be bigger than his uncle, Hercules!
Dr. Antle estimates the cubs will be at least 10 feet tall and weigh around 750 pounds each as early as two years old! Seeing them as small as they are now, you might not believe they could get that big so fast. The cubs are one-of-a-kind in every sense and we can’t wait to watch them as they grow!
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Article via Animal Channel