Mythical Black Lions to Mystical, Marvelous Lion Hybrids: Ligers, Tigons, Jaglions

March 5th, 2013 Permalink

From mythical black lions, lions made black by mud, to marvelous white lions and mystical lion hybrids, here’s a look at what is myth and what real . . . even if some of these lion hybrids seem like they might not be real like ligers, tigons, jaglion, leopons, and lil-ligers. [49 Photos]

Majestic Black Lion

Mythical majestic black lion is a stunner, but it is manipulating our minds via the power of Photoshop as the designer showed the original lion image from which it was created. Yet there are some real lions and hybrid combinations that seem like they might not be real such as Ligers, Tigons, Jaglion, Leopons, Lil-ligers. . . . even though these lions do exist. Photo #1 by © PAulie-SVK (Paulie Design)

Birth of an urban legend, Black lion is really a white lion

Birth of an urban legend, simply because the guy who started always wanted to see a black lion he told us. It was such a viral sensation that Snopes stepped in to call a foul on the play and the rumor was false. For people who didn’t know where the image started, this black lion is really a digitally manipulated version of this white lion. Photo #2 by © PAulie-SVK (Paulie Design)

Amazing black lion in Africa black lioness black mud lion

Yes, another black lion except this one is REAL — and really coated in black mud. “Amazing black lion in Africa.” The photographer explained, “They were feeding in a dry dam and got them selves covered in black mud. It was a sighting of a life time. When we returned from our sun downers and saw these lions we did not really know what they were , I think it was just the surprise of seeing a lion completely covered in mud. It just shows that lions will do anything for some food. The one thing that stood out was their golden eyes.” Photo #3 by © Grant Marcus

Not panther but REAL black lion by being really coated in black mud in Africa black lion

Photographer Grant Marcus captured this black lion photo while in Madikwe, Africa. As he wrote, “Seeing lions covered in mud like they were are quite a rare sight.” Photo #4 by © Grant Marcus

Black lion -- Photo Africa black lion mud lion

The photographer’s website, Photo Africa, is currently not working, but this is his black lion, or a lion coated in so much mud that it appears black. Photo #5 by © Gerry Van Der Walt

Ligers are social animals and get along with both lions and tigers

This is a liger: Liger Liger reports, “Ligers are extremely social animals. They are happy and content living with both lions and tigers. They also display genuine affection for their human handler’s and trainers. Contrary to popular belief, ligers are not a ‘man-made’ creation. They are the result of a male lion and a female tiger that have been raised together and decide they like each other enough to breed.” Like lions and tigers in captivity, ligers “live into their late teens and early twenties.” Another myth is that ligers are unhealthy, but “ligers have Hybrid Vigor. They are bigger, stronger and tend to be healthier than both parents.” Photo #6 by Jassen (jmwests)

Hercules, largest big cat on earth at over 1,100 lbs standing on hind legs for meat treat

“Hercules the liger is the biggest (non-obese) cat on earth at over 1,100 lbs.” Liger-Liger says of Hercules, “I am the heaviest of the liger brothers. I love to travel. I spend my winters in Miami, hanging out with my brother Vulcan. My spring and summer is spent in South Carolina, with a big group of friends! I educate people on the Wild Encounter Tour. In the fall I drive to New England. Fall is my favorite season. I star in a show in Carver, MA, called the Tale of the Tiger at the King Richard’s Faire. My best friend is a golden tabby tiger names Brahmin, but I hang out with many other cats as well. I was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest big cat.” Hercules and his brother Sinbad weigh over 410 kg (904 lb). Photo #7 by Justin Morgan & #8 by jassen

Tiger, Liger, Lion, liger cub, liger giant

Top: Tiger, Liger, Lion. Bottom: liger cub, liger giant. Wikipedia states, “Ligers have a tiger-like striping pattern that is very faint and a lion-like tawny background. In addition they may inherit rosettes from the lion parent (lion cubs are rosetted and some adults retain faint markings). These markings may be black, dark brown or sandy. The background color may be correspondingly tawny, sandy or golden. In common with tigers, their underparts are pale. The actual pattern and color depends on which subspecies the parents were and on how the genes interact in the offspring. White tigers have been crossed with lions to produce ‘white’ (actually pale golden) ligers. In theory, white tigers could be crossed with white lions to produce white, very pale or even stripeless ligers. There are no black ligers. Very few melanistic tigers have ever been recorded, most being due to excessive markings (pseudo-melanism or abundism) rather than true melanism; no reports of black lions have ever been substantiated.” Photo #12 & #13 & #14 by © LigerLiger

Tiglon = a daddy tiger and a mommy lion, lion hybrids

Tigons (or tiglons) = a daddy tiger and a mommy lion. Tiglon “has parents with the same genus but of different species. The tiglon is not currently as common as the converse hybrid, the liger. Tiglons can exhibit observable characteristics of both parents: [6] they can have both spots from the mother (lions carry genes for spots—lion cubs are spotted and some adults retain faint markings) and stripes from the father. Any mane that a male tiglon may have will appear shorter and less noticeable than a lion’s mane and is closer in type to the ruff of a male tiger. It is a common misconception that tiglons are smaller than lions or tigers. They do not exceed the size of their parent species because they inherit growth-inhibitory genes from the lioness mother, but they do not exhibit any kind of dwarfism or miniaturization; they often weigh around 180 kilograms (400 lb).” Photo #15 by Bentley Smith


Tiglons, according to Wikipedia: “At the Alipore Zoo in India, a female tiglon named Rudhrani, born in 1971, was successfully mated to an Asiatic Lion named Debabrata. The rare, second generation hybrid was called a litigon. Rudhrani produced seven litigons in her lifetime. Some of these reached impressive sizes—a litigon named Cubanacan (died 1991) weighed at least 363 kilograms (800 lb), stood 1.32 meters (4.3 ft) at the shoulder, and was 3.5 metres (11 ft) in total length. Reports also exist of the similar titigon, resulting from the cross between a female tiglon and a male tiger. Titigons resemble golden tigers but with less contrast in their markings. A female tiglon born in 1978, named Noelle, shared an enclosure in the Shambala Preserve with a male Siberian Tiger called Anton, due to the keepers’ belief that she was sterile. In 1983 Noelle produced a titigon named Nathaniel. As Nathaniel was three-quarters tiger, he had darker stripes than Noelle and vocalized more like a tiger, rather than with the mix of sounds used by his mother. Being only about quarter-lion, Nathaniel did not grow a mane. Nathaniel died of cancer at the age of eight or nine years. Noelle also developed cancer and died soon after.” Photo #16 by Jerry Tillery

Leopon hybrid from male leopard with female lion

Leopon. Leopons are hybrids “resulting from the crossing of a male leopard with a lioness. The head of the animal is similar to that of a lion while the rest of the body carries similarities to leopards. These hybrids are produced in captivity and are unlikely to occur in the wild.” Photo #17 by Messy Beast & #18 by Macro Evolution & #19 by Koshien Hanshin Park & #20 by Koshien Hanshin Park

Black jaglion and golden jaglion, Jaglions

This is a jaglion. As the hybrid name infers, a jaglion is a a jaguar/lion cross. “The black jaglion is a female called Jahzara. She was born at the Bear Creek Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada. Her father was a Jaguar named Diablo, and her mother a Lioness named Lola. Jahzara’s black coloration is due to a dominant black gene that was passed to her from her father (Diablo is a Black Jaguar). The mutation is known as melanistic.” Bear Creek Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the only (known) living Jaglions: “You can see Jazhara and Tsunami as cubs and together when older. The light-colored one is Tsunami. Conversely, a Liguar is “when the fertile offspring of a male lion and female jaguar mates with a leopard, the resulting offspring is referred to as a leoliguar.” Photo #21 by ©BearCreekSanctuary & #22 by © Frost & #23 & #24 by © Bear Creek Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary

Liliger is the offspring of a liger mother and a lion father

Baby liliger: Russian zoo released photos of first “liliger” named Kiara. Wikipedia wrote, “The liliger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a ligress (Panthera leo × Panthera tigris). The first hybrid was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo. The first hybrid, a female liliger named Kiara, was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia, in September 2012. Kiara was born to 8-year-old female liger Zita and male African lion Samson. Male tiglons and ligers are sterile, but female hybrids can produce cubs.” Photo #25 by Voices from Russia

Liliger is the offspring of a liger mother and a lion father

Liliger, “a rare hybrid of a lion and a liger, itself the offspring of a lion and a tiger, has been born at the Novosibirsk zoo. “Meet baby cub, Kiara, thought to be the world’s first liliger. The cute kitty, whose mom, Zita, is a liger (lion crossed with a tiger) and dad, Sam, is an African lion, was born at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia. To add to the confusion, Kiara is reportedly being raised by the zoo’s ordinary domestic cat since her liger mother wasn’t able to provide enough milk to feed the hungry, growing baby cub. ‘This cub has just started growing and developing, her character has not even formed yet. But I’m confident she will be a calm, confident, strong animal,’ Roza Solovyova, the head of the zoo’s cat section, told Reuters.” Photo #26 by Free Republic & #27 by The Frisky & #28 by The Times UK & #29 by Voices from Russia

Lion cubs have no fear of their roaring father

Lion cubs have no fear of their roaring father. Adult lions are said to weigh between 150–250 kg (330–550 lb) for males and 120–182 kg (264–400 lb) for females. Photo #30 by Valerie (ucumari)

Lions mating in captivity

Mating ritual of lions in captivity. Of the photo on the right, the photographer titled it “I feel a headache coming on!” Photo #31 by Ltshears & #32 by Valerie (ucumari)

Lion pair

Lion pair. “Lions have been known to breed with tigers (most often the Siberian and Bengal subspecies) to create hybrids called ligers and tiglons (or tigons). They also have been crossed with leopards to produce leopons, and jaguars to produce jaglions. The marozi is reputedly a spotted lion or a naturally occurring leopon, while the Congolese spotted lion is a complex lion-jaguar-leopard hybrid called a lijagulep. Such hybrids were once commonly bred in zoos, but this is now discouraged due to the emphasis on conserving species and subspecies. Hybrids are still bred in private menageries and in zoos in China.” Photo #33 by Robek

Indian Lion from Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, India

Not a black lion, but definitely darker than most. This is an Indian Lion as was seen in the Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, India. It is also known as an Asiatic lion. Photo #34 by Rameshng

Not a black lion, but a black and white photo of a lioness with the eyes still in color

Not a black lion, but a lion in black and white with the eyes still in color. The photographer wrote, “In the morning there were lots of excitement in the camp. A pride of nine lions entered the camp at night and decided not to leave. They were most concentrated around unit 3. Person residing in 3 (mine was 11) was taken out from there by a game vehicle. On my request I was taken to the back deck of that unit, so that I could take some pictures. The lions (6 adults and 3 cubs) were 10-15 ft away and there was practically nothing between us (myself and two camp personnel) and the lions. Seeing me getting low to take a shot this fella got interested and walked right towards me. The camp people felt uncomfortable and we quickly moved to safety.” Photo #35 by Aftab Uzzaman

Gorgeous white lion

Gorgeous white lion. Wikipedia states, “The white lion is not a distinct subspecies, but a special morph with a genetic condition, leucism, that causes paler colouration akin to that of the white tiger; the condition is similar to melanism, which causes black panthers. They are not albinos, having normal pigmentation in the eyes and skin. White Transvaal lion (Panthera leo krugeri) individuals occasionally have been encountered in and around Kruger National Park and the adjacent Timbavati Private Game Reserve in eastern South Africa, but are more commonly found in captivity, where breeders deliberately select them. The unusual cream colour of their coats is due to a recessive gene. Reportedly, they have been bred in camps in South Africa for use as trophies to be killed during canned hunts.” Photo #36 by Patrick Bouquet

White Lioness, lion hybrid

White Lioness. Photo #37 by Art G.

A mischievous little white lion cub, tired and dirty after playing in the mud

A mischievous little White Lion Cub with a dab of dried mud on its nose. Photo #38 by Martin Heigan & #39 by Martin Heigan

Zumba, the white lion, and Timba his girlfriend lioness cuddling like a loving couple

“Zumba, the white lion, and Timba, his lioness ‘grilfriend,’ cuddling, both young lions were resting together, like a loving couple. And that was only 5 days after they were introduced to each other, that was so lovely to watch! :D” Photo #40 by Tambako the Jaguar

Baby white lion cubs at Shamwari Reserve, Africa, a life in the wild

Baby white lion cubs at Shamwari Reserve, Africa, a life in the wild. Wikipedia states that white lions “vary from blonde through near-white. This coloration, however, does not appear to disadvantage their survival.” Photo #41 by Lwp Kommunikáció

White lion Zumba and and lioness Timba playing

White lion Zumba and and lioness Timba playing. The photographer explained, “That was so cute to see them like that: Zumba and his “girlfriend” Timba. She was annoying him a bit with (love-?)bites but that wasn’t meant to be mean!” Photo #42 by Tambako the Jaguar

Young white lions saying Purrrr... I think I like you

Young white lions saying “Purrrr… I think I like you.” Photo #43 by Valerie (ucumari)

Letsatsi, the White lion, lion hybrid (Son of Temba)

Letsatsi, the White lion. (Son of Temba). Letsatsi means ‘day’ or ‘sun.’ Photo #44 by Arno Meintjes

Female (left) and male (right) ligers at Everland amusement park, South Korea

Female (left) and male (right) ligers at Everland amusement park, South Korea. According to Wikipedia, “Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild.” Photo #45 by Hkandy

Liger in the big cat show

Big Cat Show. Meet the ligers explains there are four ligers in the show: Hercules is the biggest. Zeus is the “most easy going and well mannered of the group.” Sinbad is the “tallest of all my brothers, and the most spoiled.” Vulcan is the “most mischievous of the 4-liger brothers.” Photo #47 by Chris (TechSavi)

Liger drinking milk from a bottle

Liger drinking milk from a bottle. Photo #48 by Jassen

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