MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Morris the Cat wouldn’t have one paw, let alone one claw, up on Hercules, the world’s largest living feline.
This liger – a hybrid of a lion and tiger – tips the scales at 922 pounds, and is now entered into the 2014 edition of the “Guinness World Records” book, published Thursday (www.guinnessworldrecords.com).
Sara Wilcox, public relations and marketing executive for New York-based Guinness World Records North America, said Hercules lives at Myrtle Beach Safari, an area wildlife preserve. She cited two other vitals of the big cat: a total length of 131 inches and height of 49 inches at the shoulder.
The safari, also known as TIGERS – The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species – where tours are given by reservation, is owned by Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who also founded the Rare Species Fund ( www.rarespeciesfund.org) in 1982, to help endangered wildlife around the world such as elephants, rhinos, orangutans and other big cats.
Antle was not available for comment for this article, but Wilcox said he furnished Guinness, a company headquartered in London, a summary of various traits about Hercules.
He was born among a litter of four in November 2001 at the preserve and named after the mythological character. The cat, who consumes 20 to 25 pounds of meat daily and has favorite logs he uses to sharpen his claws, also has traveled coast to coast with Antle to promote wildlife conservation.
Guinness officials were told by Antle that Hercules melds two worlds by being brave like a tiger and social like a lion, hence the big cat’s affinity for interaction.
Antle also told Guinness that as a cub, Hercules had a big head into which he grew with age and that if the cat’s averse to doing something, he simply sits down.
Recounting how Hercules has reacted to the rarity of snowfall on the Grand Strand, Antle told Guinness that the cat rolled around in the accumulation, enough to make a giant liger snow angel.
Wilcox said Guinness happened upon Hercules through a consultant, and that the cat sets a precedent in the book’s records.
Guinness officials had known of “generic liger cat breeds” but that “not a specific cat” occupied a record as the largest living cat, until Hercules.
“We just knew that the largest living cat probably was the liger,” Wilcox said. “We have not measured a liger before. ... We are aware of other ligers.”
Wilcox said each edition of Guinness World Records contains as many as 4,000 records and that about 3,000 are set or broken, then updated for publishing, every year. Some records, such as the world’s largest man, keep their placeholder among the pages for a long time.
The 2014 edition of the book will include some technological bonus material over which readers can marvel at one-of-a-kind people, feats and elements, all compiled from a database of about 50,000 records tallied with time.
Certain pages in the new book will come with spots that people can scan with a portable communications device, so that anyone who checks out the world’s shortest woman, for instance, will have an enhanced experience to learn about her life through special effects.
“She will come to actual life size in front of you,” Wilcox said.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.