Hybrid animals! You must have come across a few of them in fantasy tales and folklore and even mythology. They are fascinating and impressive and they transcend the boundaries of human imagination. At one point in time, these hybrid animals were restricted in the pages of books or may be in the words woven by the storytellers.
Today, things are different. We have managed to create hybrids – a variety of them. Some of them appear to be straight out of fantasy but again, others look just normal creatures. You might not even understand that they are hybrids until someone tells you so.
So today, we are on a mission to bring to you some of the incredible hybrids that exist in our animal kingdom. We will like to say that while we will be able to give the images and/or videos of some of these hybrid animals, we cannot provide the images for all because of copyright issues. We will however give you links where you can see the images of those animals.
Ready? Let’s begin then…
Zorse – One of the Hybrid Animals from Zebroid Family
A zorse, as we said, is a hybrid between a male zebra and a female horse. A zorse is a type of a zebroid. Wondering what a zebroid is?It is basically any animal created by crossing a zebra with another equine. So, a zebroid needs to have a zebra ancestry.
A zorse is also known by the following names:
- Zebra mule.
A zorse looks more like a horse than a zebra but it will have legs that are boldly striped and some stripes can be seen on the body and the neck as well.
Zorses are sterile or infertile!
Liger – Crossbreed Between a Male Lion and Female Tiger
When it comes to felines, the most popular of the hybrid animals is the liger. A liger, which is an offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. Interestingly, a liger is the largest cat among all extant felines (living cats). Put in simple words, ligers are the largest known cats.
They often grow bigger than male lions and male lions! That’s weird, right? But that’s how it is and the genetic makeup plays an important role in this.
The other big cat hybrids that can sometimes challenge the size of ligers are the litigons. The litigons are a result of cross-breeding between a male lion and a female tigon.
What on earth is a tigon? It is an offspring of a male tiger and a female lion!
The largest known ligers gain a weight of 400 kilograms or 900 pounds while the grow up to 10.8 feet or 3.3 meters! According to Encyclopedia Britannica, some ligers were reported to have a weight of 1,000 kilograms or 1 metric ton!
Tigon – Hybrid Offspring of a Male Tiger and Female Lion
This is yet another one in our list of amazing hybrid animals that comes from the feline family. Tigons are also known as tiglons and they are usually of the same size of their parents and never smaller than tigers or lions.
It is a widespread misconception that tigons are smaller than their parent species. It is true that they carry growth-inhibitory genes from both parents but they do not display any kind of miniaturization or dwarfism.
Tiglons or tigons may have manes but the manes are less noticeable and shorter than the manes of a male lion. Tigons usually weigh up to 180 kilograms or 400 pounds.
[Note: It was once thought that the ligers and the tigons are sterile or infertile but that is not the case. For example, in India’s Alipore Zoo, a tigoness was mated with an Asiatic lion. The mating resulted in a second generation hybrid known as litigon. One particular litigon born from the tigoness attained a weight of an impressive 363 kilograms or 800 lbs and a length of 11 feet or 3.5 meters.]
Leopon – Hybrid Offspring of a Male Leopard and a Female Lion
Again, this one is a very rare hybrid animal which is created by cross breeding a male leopard and a female lion. The resulting offspring looks more like a creature from mythology.
A leopon will usually have a head similar to that of a lion while the rest of the body will be similar to that of a leopard. The first documented leopon came from India’s Kolhapur in 1959.
Instead of black spots, leopons have brown spots and they like to climb trees and even enjoy water. Some leopons have sparse manes up to 20 centimeters long.
[Note: None of the feline hybrids are found in the wild. They are bred in captivity.]
Savannah Cat – One of the Hybrid Animals from Feline Family
This is one cat that you will probably want to get as pet. A hybrid created by a cross between a domestic cat and a serval (a native African wild cat). Savannah cats are extremely loyal and they follow their owners around in the house.
Not just that! They can even be trained as dogs! They have extremely good jumping capabilities and they can learn to open doors and cupboards with ease!
The International Cat Association has actually accepted Savannah Cat as a separate breed but of course, there are certain limitations and stringent requirements. For instance, the association recognizes Savannah cats with only spotted patters.
Cama – It’s Camel Plus Llama
Take a male dromedary camel and cross it with a female llama and voila! You will now have a cama. The first look at a cama will give you the notion of a smaller and fluffier camel.
The first cama was created in Dubai without artificial insemination on 14th January, 1998. The aim of such crossbreeding was threefold.
To get an animal that could produce more wool than llama but having the strength and size of a camel and finally to have a cooperative treatment.
Cama can be produced only by inseminating a female llama with a male camel’s sperm. It does not work the other way. Simply put, it is not possible to inseminate a female camel with the sperm of a male llama.
Wolfdog – You Already Know, Don’t You?
When a domestic dog is mated with an wolf (can be Gray Wolf, Eastern Timber Wolf, Ethiopian Wolf or Red Wolf), you get a wolfdog.
Funny thing, while wolfdogs are often bred in captivity, they have been around for millennia. These hybrids are often found in the wild where such cross-breeding occurs without any human help.
It is really not possible to find out when this admixture happened for the first time but experts do say that a drop in wolf population because of human activities (such as habitat loss or persecution by humans) forced the wolves to mate with dogs.
Wolfdogs are undoubtedly one of the most fascinating hybrid animals and they do sport a pretty exotic look.
Dzo – Can You Guess What It Is?
Dzo is also spelled as Zo, Dzho and Zho. It is a hybrid animal created by crossbreeding a domestic cattle with a yak. Technically speaking, dzo is a male hybrid. In case of a female hybrid, the name changes to dzomo or zhom.
Mongolians call dzo as khainag. In English, it is known as yattle (yak and cattle) or yakow (yak and cow).
Dzo is sterile but dzomo is fertile. Another interesting thing is that dzo and dzomo are stronger and larger than cattle or yak of that region. They also tend to produce more meat and milk.
Geep – One of the Rarest Among Hybrid Animals
This hybrid animal is cute and very rare. Geep is a hybrid between a goat and a sheep and is even known as shoat. These two creatures are very different from each other genetically (sheep have 54 chromosomes while goats have 60 chromosomes).
Because of this genetic difference, hybrids are usually stillborn. Rarely however, hybrids can be seen. Those hybrid animals are known by the name geep. They are quite adorable.
Grolar Bear – That’s Grizzly Plus Polar
The grolar bear is a rare hybrid. They have been found in both captivity and in the wild. There are several other names used for the grolar bear. Those names include:
- Polar Grizz
- Pizzly Bear
There are total 8 confirmed cases of Grolar Bear so far. The physical characteristics of a grolar bear is between that of a grizzly bear and a polar bear. These hybrid bears have body bigger than grizzly bear but smaller than polar bear.
They exhibit long neck like polar bears but like the grizzly bears, they have smaller shoulder humps. Grolar bears have feet soles that are partially covered with hair. In case of a polar bear, the soles are completely covered with hair which act as insulators. In case grizzly bears, the soles do not have any hair.
Wholphin – What Do You Think It Is?
The wholphin is one of the rarest of all hybrid animals. They are born in captivity but there are instances where they have also been reported in the wild.
A wholphin is cross between a male false killer whale and female common bottlenose dolphin. The first ever wholphin was born in 1981 and died after 200 days. It was born in Tokyo SeaWorld.
Zonkey – Yet Another Zebroid
Zebroid, as we said earlier, has Zebra ancestry. So, zonkey has zebra ancestry for sure. The other animal involved in the hybrid is donkey.
Zonkey is known by various other names which include zedonk, zebadonk, zebrass, zebrula, zebrinny, zebronkey and zebonky.
Genetically, zebras and donkeys are different and generally they are unable to interbreed. However, crossbreeds do occur and they are very rare.
From torso to up, the zonkeys do look very similar to donkeys but their legs scream of zebra ancestry for sure!
Beefalo – Say Hello to the Beefy Hybrid
A beefalo is a hybrid created by cross-breeding of domestic cattle and American bison. The general rule here is that a beefalo will be 3/8th bison and 5/8th bovine.
The primary reason behind the intentional crossbreeding between these two animal species was to help the beef industry! Yes, they are bred for their meet.
Interestingly, long before intentional breeding started, accidental crossbreeds were observed as early as 1749. The crosses were noticed in North America’s southern states during the British Colonial era. Intentional cross-breeding program started in mid-19th century.
Hinny – The Reciprocal of Mule
You already know about mules. They are hybrids created by crossing a male donkey and a female horse. The hinny is just the reciprocal. The parents in these case are a male horse and a female donkey.
A male hinny is called a ‘horse hinny’ and a female hinny is called a ‘mare hinny.’
Crossbreeding hinnies are difficult. This is because of the fact that horses have 64 chromosomes while donkeys have 62 chromosomes. Hinnies in general have 63 chromosomes. The uneven number of chromosomes are left with incomplete reproductive system and hence, most of them are sterile.
Jaglion – Yet Another of Hybrid Animals From Feline Family
A jaglion is also known as a jaguon. It is a cross between a female lion (lioness) and male jaguar. Physical characteristics of a jaglion include the background color of a lion and rosettes just like a jaguar. The hydrid cat has a very powerful build like that of a jaguar.
In the year 2006, two jaglions were born in Canada’s Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. One of them was a female named Jahzara and the other one was a male named Tsunami. The two jaglions were born because of an unintended mating that involved the lioness named Lola and a black jaguar named Diablo.
What happens when a female jaguar mates with a male lion? The resulting offspring is known as liguar!
What happens when a fertile liguar mates with a leopard? The resulting offspring is known as leoliguar!
Narluga – Strange!
This one is quite strange among all the hybrid animals we talked about so far! Narluga is a hybrid between a beluga whale and a narwhal.
The narluga sports the head shape of a beluga whale but it doesn’t have the nose of the narwhal. Narlugas are rare but there are increased reports of their sightings in North Atlantic.
As a matter of fact, an Inuit hunter hunted down three narlugas for food. You can read the story here.
Żubroń – Analogous to Beefalo
Crossbreed a wisent or an European bison with a domestic cattle and you will get the Żubroń. The first one was created in 1917. It turns out that Żubroń is less susceptible to diseases and are more durable. These hybrids are way more tolerant to harsh weather.
The first generation males are infertile but the first generation females are fertile. A first generation female Żubroń can be easily crossbred with any one of the parent species. The second generation Żubroń males produced from these backcrosses are fertile!
Coywolf – You Already Guessed, Didn’t You?
One of the commonest of hybrid animals is the coywolf. Because of extreme similarities between coyotes and wolves (gray wolves or eastern wolves), they can crossbreed without complications.
Coywolf is also known as woyote. These hybrids are larger than coyotes but smaller than wolves and they exhibit behavior that is somewhere between the coyotes and the wolves.
Mulard – Bred for Meat
Mulard is also spelled as moulard. It is a hybrid duck with the parents being a male muscovy and a female pekin. Mulards are sterile and they are bred only for meat.
If the gender of the parents interchange, i.e., the father is a pekin and the mother is a muscovy, the resultant offspring are known as hinnies.
Mulards are known for high meat production while hinnies are smaller in size and are not desired that much.
Caraval – Guess, Guess!
Okay, let us help you. The caraval is a hybrid offspring created by mating of a female serval and a male caracal. The caravals are known to have spotted pattern just like the servals but the background color is darker.
If a female caracal mates with a male serval, the resulting offspring goes by the name servical.
This brings us to the end of our list of hybrid animals. Needless to say, the list is not complete. There are many other hybrids that we can talk about and we will try to put other lists in front of you. However, we cannot promise any time frame for those lists.