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From the legendary king of the jungle, to the 900 pound liger, Hercules these are 14 of the BIGGEST Cats in the World!

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African Lion -- The lion’s face and mane is among the most widely recognized animal symbols in the world. Did you know the king of the jungle is content to have his queen do most of the work? Lionesses actually do most of the hunting for the pride. But while females are better at hunting, the male is better at defending his pride, so to speak. Males can weigh more than 550 pounds … placing them second only to tigers as the largest living cat. They can measure over 8 feet long, not including the tail. Did you know the color of a lion’s mane is said to be an indicator of its well-being? If a lion’s mane is dark and full, he’s thought to be healthy!

Bengal Tiger -- They’re generally considered the second-largest big cat next to the Siberian Tiger … but they have the longest canines of any extant large cat, measuring up to 10 centimeters long (about 4 inches). Including the tail, male Bengal tigers average over 3 meters (or 10 feet) long, and can weigh over 325 kilograms (over 700 pounds). Their habitat can vary, from grasslands to tropical rainforests … and are found from areas of India to Burma. While they have a reputation as a man-eater, the tigers would only attack a human if injured or weak … or if its normal prey was scarce. Their population has been estimated at less than 2500 individuals, making them the most numerous tiger subspecies in the wild … but their numbers show a downward trend. Poachers hunt the tigers for their skins and body parts, which are used in traditional medicines.

Earlier, we showed you Samson the 28 pound housecat from New York City. Now take a look at this critter … Like Samson, this cat belongs to the Maine Coon breed. And this is definitely one of the biggest domestic cats we’ve ever seen! We couldn’t find much information about the animal, or its owner … although from this picture it’s difficult to tell which is which! The cat’s unusual size makes us wonder if there isn’t some forced perspective going on here. What do you think?

The Siberian Tiger is also known as the Amur (ah-MOOR) Tiger. Did you know the tiger’s stripes don’t only appear on the fur? The same stripe patterns appear directly on their skin as well! They mostly roam about the forests of eastern Russia, with some located in North Korea and China. Male tigers can weigh over 700 pounds and measure around 11 feet long with the tail reaching 3 feet. There have been cases of Siberian tigers in the wild reaching nearly 850 pounds … but those accounts are unconfirmed. Depending on the source, their population is estimated at between 400 to 540 individuals living in the wild. While they’re still big cats, researchers have noted have that animals born after 1970 in the wild don’t weigh as much as their predecessors. Possible causes for that reduction in size might include illegal hunting that has killed off the tiger’s prey …Experts also say it's possible the specimens captured may have already been sick or injured.

James Ellerker - Pic
Hercules -- Now there’s a name that could be difficult to live up to … unless you’re this animal. He’s the hybrid offspring of a Bengal tigress and an African male lion … and is known as a Liger (lie-grr). These hybrids don’t exist in the wild, and can grow to twice as big as their parents. Hercules weighs in at 922 pounds … making him the world’s largest living non-obese cat, according to Guinness. You can see him featured in photos from James Ellerker … and although the animal appears enormous as he’s being fed, or is lying in the grass with his trainers, that’s the actual size of the beast -- no Photoshopping needed. He measures around 49 inches tall at the shoulder, and goes some 131 inches long. Hercules has become a celebrity, appearing on numerous TV shows … and traveling to promote wildlife conservation. This biggest of the big cats lives in South Carolina at the Myrtle Beach Safari Wildlife Preserve.

Honorable Mention - Jaipur
To be fair, we also found evidence of a Siberian tiger named Jaipur who is owned by an animal trainer in New Jersey. This critter is said to have a body weight between 935 to over 1,000 pounds, making him the largest captive tiger. In a side by side comparison with James Ellerker’s picture of Hercules, you can see Jaipur would seem to win the size battle. But we have no definite confirmation on Jaipur’s dimensions … so we’ll give him an honorable mention here!

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