While crossbreeds often seem like something that came straight out of a fantasy movie or a fairy tale book, they are quite real. Humans have been intervening with nature for quite some time, and some of the results are quite fascinating. Of course, the majority of the people reading this have probably heard about mules, which are animal hybrids between female horses and male donkeys, but what about the other, more interesting examples?
Animals such as zonkeys and ligers are not on everyone’s radar, and for several good reasons. The most important one is that these species are typically infertile, so no offspring can be produced. This makes them a one-time appearance for the most part, which is why they fail to make a bigger impact. However, in this article, we will name some of the more fascinating ones.
A liger is a crossbreed between a male lion and a female tiger. Some people claimed that they also appear in the wilderness, but this has not been proven. However, they are often bred in captivity. They grow extremely quickly and are most often considered the largest cats in the world. There are also tigons, crossbreds between male tigers and female lions. An interesting thing about both ligers and tigons is that they can be fertile.
Zebroids are the offspring of a cross between zebras and other equines. Anything goes, be it horses, donkeys or ponies. It is basically a zebra hybrid. They can be easily recognizable by their characteristic stripes that they inherit from the zebra side of the family. Many different crossbreeds fall under this category, such as the zorse, zonkey, zebrule and the zony. Can you guess which species was bred with a zebra for which of these zebroids?
Also known as a shoat, this hybrid is a crossbreed between a goat and a sheep. Their offspring are most commonly stillborn, so this is an extremely rare animal. The difference in the chromosome count between sheep and goats is the reason why these animals are often stillborn. But, there are always exceptions, and we can stumble upon a geep in the wilderness. There are also sheep-goat chimeras created in the laboratory, which are also often referred to as geep.
A wholphin is another extremely rare hybrid, made by the mating of a male False Killer Whale with a female Bottlenose Dolphin. These animals both fall under the dolphin family, although one is generally considered a whale. Confusing, we know, but it is widely recognized as a crossbreed animal. Some people reportedly saw these in the wild, but there are two being held in captivity in Hawaii.
6. Grolar Bears
Silly name, scary animal. The grolar bear is a hybrid between a grizzly bear and a polar bear. It is also known as the pizzly bear and the prizzly bear. This crossbreed can occur in the wilderness, and some were bred in captivity, of course. The existence of this hybrid in nature was confirmed by a DNA test in 2006. There are many different hybrids between various families of bears. These hybrids are commonly referred to as ursid hybrids.
These names keep getting sillier, but the animal hybrids continue to be as interesting as ever. Beefalo is an offspring of domestic cattle and the American buffalo. This crossbreed is fertile, as opposed to the vast majority of other crossbreed animals. This hybrid was created to combine the positive traits of these two species to produce a higher-quality beef. However, this has caused some unexpected consequences. Because of the constant breeding of these two species, it is hard to find a pureblooded American buffalo anymore, all of the herds are crossbred with cattle.
Savannah is the name given to the hybrid between a domestic cat and a serval. Servals are medium-sized wild cats from Africa known for their large pointy ears. This crossbreed is actually quite popular, and it is officially recognized as a new breed of cats. One thing that makes them different from regular cats is that they are more social than them. Savannahs can be trained almost like dogs, and it is not rare to see them walking on a leash and playing fetch.
A cama is a crossbreed between a male camel and a female llama. It was first produced in Dubai on January 14th, 1998, at the Camel Reproduction Centre. The goal of the researchers working on this project was to create an animal that had the size and the strength of a camel, but also the calmer temperament most commonly associated with llamas. Also, llamas naturally produce more wool, which was another thing scientists tried to replicate with this new hybrid.
A hybrid between a yak and domestic cattle if most commonly referred to as a dzo. Well, to be more precise, dzo is used when we are talking about the male hybrid, while the female hybrids are called dzomos or zhoms. Another rarely used name for this crossbreed is yakow. An interesting thing about these crossbreeds is that the females are fertile, while the males are not. They are also generally considered to be extremely productive in terms of meat and milk production.
Can you guess which two animals are combined to create the wolfdog? If your answer was a dog and a wolf, you guessed correctly. This term is used because domestic dogs were recently recategorized as a subspecies of wolves. This hybrid is actually quite common, especially around the United States, with some experts guessing that there might be around 500,000 of them roaming all over the country.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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