The cat family can breed in sometimes surprising combinations. Here are a few.
This animal would have a Tiger for a father, and a Leopard mother. Because of the large size difference between these two animals, this would be excessively hard on the Leopard mother. The only reported Tigards have been still born.
Reputable zoos try to avoid producing hybrids. Some private zoos and circuses still do have them.
Lions and Leopards
Lions and Leopards can also occur in the same areas. There are several factors that make a hybrid between the two less likely than with Leopards and Tiger. For one thing, the Lionesses are generally in a pride and are less likely to meet up with a randy male Leopard. Solitary male Lions are more common than solitary Lionesses, but the size difference makes mating less likely with the male a Lion and the female a Leopard. However, there are quite a few reports of natural hybrids between these two species.
Again, as with Leopard Tiger crosses there has to be doubt about the accuracy of the identification of these supposed hybrids.
Jaglions and Liguars
Although there have been reports of natural crosses between Lions and Tigers; Lions and Leopards; and Leopards and Tigers, a natural cross between Jaguars and the other three species of Big cat is virtually impossible because they come from different continents.
They will hybridise in captivity.
A Jaglion has a Jaguar Father and a Lioness mother.
A Liguar has a Lion as its mother and a Jaguar mother.
Jaguars and Leopards
These two species have been crossed in both combinations, producing Jagupards and Liguars.
Jaguars and Tigers
A Male Siberian Tiger has fathered a Tiguar to a female Jaguar, but the other way round has not been done to produce a Jagger, or should that be a Jigger, or maybe a Jiger?
Reasons for Producing Hybrids
Perhaps we should look at the reasons for doing these exotic crosses.
One reason is simply profit. Some private companies have found that these hybrids are very popular exhibits. If no cruelty is involved, this may be a valid reason although serious zoos are tending to concentrate on their responsibilities towards conservation.
There are several cases of crosses occurring without the owners planning it.
Some scientific information has been obtained by these crosses. In some cases we may need to rethink our ideas about relationships between the different species.
Puma Leopard Hybrids
The Puma is not classed as a Big Cat, although it is as big a Leopard. It came as a surprise to many scientists that the Puma can be crossed with a Leopard. Not all the attempted crosses survived, but some have done. This is a case where some scientists have started to rethink the relationship of the Puma to the Big Cats.
Puma Jaguar Hybrids
Leopards and Pumas come from different continents so they are unlikely to cross naturally. Jaguars and Puma ranges overlap quite a bit. Of course these two species occupy different ecological niches, but they must meet occasionally.
There have been many reports of natural hybrids between these two species, but there is doubt about the accuracy of the identification of the apparent hybrids.