My thriller novel CLAWS is about cats – lions, tigers, and ligers. Anyone who is reading this blog probably has read my novel or at least knows about it, which means you may know something about ligers too. They are real animals. A liger is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. Breed a female lion with a male tiger and the offspring is called a tigger (a silly name).
Ligers (long i) are approximately forty to fifty percent larger than either a lion or tiger. They can weigh one thousand pounds. They have longer teeth, longer claws, and more power than either parent. My novel is filled with information about the speed and power and habits of various large, wild cats. If you have ever wondered how fast or far lions can run, or the power and speed of a tiger’s paw when striking, or the pounds per square inch of a lion’s bite, it is in the book. Somewhere.
I have seen ligers – a few males, a couple of females, and one baby liger. I scoured liger websites. I talked to people who fed and cared for the cats. And in the end, after all the research, I created fiction. As a writer, I may say ten things about ligers. If nine of them are factual, it makes the tenth more believable. What is fictional in CLAWS? As far as I know, there are no purebred ligers. There are no reports of a male and female liger reproducing. But could they exist? And if they did exist, what then?
Here’s another fact: ligers would be the most deadly big cat to roam the plains or jungles if in fact they did roam the plains or jungles. But ligers do not exist in the wild. Lions and tigers rarely share the same habitat, and if they did, they would fight. Having said this, if you visit Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, where in 1995 lions, tigers, and ligers actually did escape into the woods and fields, there are residents today who insist that some of the big cats still are out there. You may not believe the locals, but the story does make you to think twice before setting out to hike the area.