At just three years old, Hercules already weighs half a ton.
He is the unintentional result of two enormous big cats living close together at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, in Miami , Florida , and already dwarfs both his parents.
"Ligers are not something we planned on having,"
said institute owner Dr Bhagavan Antle.
"We have lions and tigers living together in large enclosures and at first we had no idea how well one of the lion boys was getting along with a tiger girl, then lo and behold we had a Liger."
Hercules likes to swim, a feat unheard of among water-fearing lions.
On a typical day he will devour 20 lb of meat, usually beef or chicken, and is capable of eating 100 lb at a single setting.
In the wild it is virtually impossible for lions and tigers to mate
Not only are they enemies likely to kill one another.
But incredible though he is, Hercules is not unique.
Ligers have been bred in captivity, deliberately and accidentally,
since shortly before World War II
Today there are believed to be a handful of ligers around the world and a similar number of tigons, the product of a tiger father and lion mother. Tigons are smaller than ligers and take on more physical characteristics of the tiger.