10 Bizarre Hybrid Animals
Below is collection of bizarre hybrid animals with interesting hybridized namesakes. The majority of these animals do not occur naturally in the wild and have been bred by humans which has stirred much controversy and criticism. For most of these animals, while successfully crossed, the offspring tend to be infertile, meaning their continuation as a hybrid is solely determined by human intervention.
1. Zebra + Any other Equine = Zebroid
A zebroid (also zedonk, zebra mule, and zebrule) is the offspring of any cross between a zebra and any other equine: essentially, a zebra hybrid. In most cases, the sire is a zebra stallion. Zebroid is the generic name for all zebra hybrids. The different hybrids are generally named using the portmanteau convention of sire’s name + dam’s name. There is generally no distinction made as to which zebra species is used. Examples include: zorse, zebrule, zonkey, zebonkey, zony. [Source]
2. Lion + Tiger = Liger
The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species. It is distinct from the similar hybrid tiglon. It is the largest of all known extant felines.
Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild. Historically, when the Asiatic Lion was prolific, the territories of lions and tigers did overlap and there are legends of ligers existing in the wild. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tiglons which tend to be about as large as a female tiger. [Source]
3. Bottlenose Dolphin + False Killer Whale = Wholphin
A Wholphin or Wolphin is a rare hybrid, born from a mating of a female Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with a male False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens). The name implies a hybrid of whale and dolphin, although taxonomically, both are within the “oceanic dolphin” family, which is within the “toothed whale” suborder. Although they have been reported to exist in the wild, there are currently only two in captivity, both at Sea Life Park in Hawaii. Wholphins, though not commonly sighted by fisherman, are known in popular seafaring lore as “The Great Gray Beast.”
Kekaimalu, the first wholphin in captivity, proved fertile when she gave birth at a very young age. The calf died after a few days. However, in 1991, Kekaimalu gave birth once again, to daughter Pohaikealoha. For 2 years she cared for the calf, but did not nurse it (it was hand-reared by trainers). Pohaikealoha died at age 9. [Source]
4. Grizzly Bear + Polar Bear = Grolar Bear
A grizzly–polar bear hybrid (also pizzly bear, prizzly bear, or grolar bear) is a rare ursid hybrid that has occurred both in captivity and in the wild. In 2006, the occurrence of this hybrid in nature was confirmed by testing the DNA for a strange-looking bear that had been shot near Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories on Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic.
Ursid hybrids, a term that designates any hybrid of two species within the family Ursidae, include several other types of polar bear hybrids. Polar bear hybrids with grizzly bears in the wild have been reported and shot in the past as well, but DNA techniques were not available to verify the bears’ ancestry. [Source]
5. Domestic Cattle + Americon Bison = Beefalo
Beefalo are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American bison, Bison bison (generally called buffalo in the US). The breed was created to combine the characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production. Beefalo are primarily cattle in genetics and appearance, with the breed association defining a full beefalo as one with ? (37.5%) bison genetics, while animals with higher percentages of bison genetics are called “bison hybrids”.
Creating the beefalo has proven to be a serious setback to wild American bison conservation. Most current buffalo herds are genetically polluted or partly crossbred with cattle, and hence are in fact “beefalo”. [Source]
6. Serval + Domestic Cat = Savannah
Savannah cat is the name given to the offspring of a domestic cat and a serval—a medium-sized, large-eared wild African cat. The unusual cross became popular among breeders at the end of the 20th century, and in 2001 the International Cat Association accepted it as a new registered breed. Savannahs are much more social than typical domestic cats, and they are often compared to dogs in their loyalty. They can be trained to walk on a leash and even taught to play fetch.
Bengal breeder Judee Frank crossbred a male serval, belonging to Suzi Woods, with a Siamese (domestic cat) to produce the first Savannah cat (named Savannah) on April 7, 1986. Frank’s Savannah attracted the interest of Patrick Kelley, who purchased one of Savannah’s kittens in 1989. Kelley was one of the first enthusiasts who worked towards establishing a new domestic breed based on a serval/domestic cat cross. He approached many serval breeders to help in the development of this new breed, and finally garnered the help of breeder Joyce Sroufe to work with him in taking the steps needed to have the new breed recognized. [Source]
7. Male Donkey + Female Horse = Mule
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two F1 hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny (the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey). All male mules and most female mules are infertile.
The size of a mule and work to which it is put depends largely on the breeding of the mule’s dam. Mules can be lightweight, medium weight, or even, when produced from draught horse mares, of moderately heavy weight.
An aficionado of the mule claims that they are “more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses, and they are considered less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys.” [Source]
8. Male Camel + Female Llama = Cama
A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal with the size and strength of the camel, but the more cooperative temperament and the higher wool production of the llama. [Source]
9. Yak + Domestic Cattle = Dzo
A Dzo is a hybrid of yak and domestic cattle. The word Dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, while a female is known as a dzomo or zhom. Alternative Romanizations of the Tibetan names include zho and zo. In Mongolian it is called khainag. There is also the English language portmanteau term of yakow; a combination of the words yak and cow, though this is rarely used.
Dzomo are fertile, while dzo are sterile. As they are a product of the hybrid genetic phenomenon of heterosis (hybrid vigor), they are larger and stronger than cattle or yak. In Mongolia and Tibet, khainags are thought to be more productive than cattle or yaks in terms of both milk and meat production. [Source]
10. Wolf + Dog = Wolfdog
A wolfdog (also called a wolf–dog hybrid or wolf hybrid) is a canid hybrid resulting from the mating of a wolf (various Canis lupus subspecies) and a dog (Canis lupus familiaris). The term “wolfdog” is preferred by most of the animals’ proponents and breeders because the domestic dog recently was taxonomically recategorized as a subspecies of wolf. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the United States Department of Agriculture refer to the animals as wolf–dog hybrids. Rescue organizations consider any dog with wolf heritage within the last five generations to be a wolfdog, including some established wolfdog breeds.
In 1998, the USDA estimated an approximate population of 300,000 wolfdogs in the United States (the highest of any country world-wide), with some other sources giving a population possibly as high as 500,000. In first generation hybrids, gray wolves are most often crossed with wolf-like dogs (such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes) for an appearance most appealing to owners desiring to own an exotic pet. Because wolfdogs are genetic mixtures of wolves and dogs, their physical and behavioral characteristics cannot be predicted with any certainty. [Source]
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