Tigers: The largest cats in the world

The Tiger

Tigers: The largest cats in the world

Tigers are the largest felines in the world and as such, many cultures consider the Tiger to be a symbol of strength, courage and dignity. The Tiger is one of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, and those born in the "Year of the Tiger" are thought to be brave, competitive and self-confident.

The Siberian Tiger is rated as the largest cat in the world though some believe that the Liger is (more on that later). The Latin name of this largest cat breed in the world is Pathera. The average weight of a male Siberian Tiger is about 900 pounds (408 kg). Siberian Tigers are found in Northeastern China, Korea, Russia, India and Pakistan. Siberian Tigers are not human hunters like other typical Tigers; they only attack people when an attempt is made to invade their territory. They are rather peaceful animals despite being wild. On average this species is up to 2.5m including the head and body with a 90 cm tail length.

The Siberian Tiger is particularly strong and powerful, but they have become endangered due to habitat destruction and hunters. Siberian Tigers are often hunted for their body parts, which are used in Chinese traditional medicine, as well as for trophies.

So, is the Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) the biggest of all the big cats? Well actually no! The Siberian Tiger is the biggest wild big cat. There is actually a big cat even larger than this but it only lives in captivity.

The largest cat in the world, the Liger, is a mixture of a Tiger such as a Siberian Tiger and a Lion.

The Liger is a hybrid developed by breeding a male Lion and a female Tiger. They are mostly found in Zoos. The hybrid is the largest big cat in the world weighing about 795lb - almost double the weight of either a Lion or Tiger. Ligers may reach an outstanding length of 11 to 12ft and a height of about 6ft. Ligers have the blended appearance of a Tiger and a Lion with stripes on the tawny-colored coat and mane in males. The US has about 40 Ligers, which is the largest population in the world, followed by China. Most countries and naturalists oppose the crossbreeding of Lions and Tigers.

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'This Tiger is the cat's meow'

The Times

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'Perfectly pitched adaptation'

Daily Telegraph

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'A delight from start to finish'

Time Out