Yes, the zorse is a real animal. A zorse, also known as a zebroid, zorse, zonkey, zebmule, or zedonk is a hybrid animal. It is born when a male zebra is crossbred with a female horse. The male zebra, also called a stallion, and the female horse known as a mare, produces an offspring that has the appearance of a horse and with the stripes of a zebra. The genes from the zebra give the equine hybrid resistance to diseases and other pests that invade donkeys and horses. A zorse is both sturdy and hardy and the general outlook is determined by genes of the parents. The birth of a zorse occurs after an eleven months long gestation period which brings forth a single foal.
Anatomy and Appearance
The appearance of a zorse is very horse-like except for the zebra-like stripes which are boldest on the rear and legs. Interestingly, each has unique stripes which are not similar to any other zorse. They inherit this characteristic from the zebras. The zorse inherits the size, temperament, and shape of the horse. The skin has coarse fur that can have several colors ranging from black to brown to tan depending on the species of the horse. The mane and the tail are dark. The head appears larger than that of either parent with a long muzzle. Zorses have eyes that are large and dark, surrounded by long eyelashes to offer protection. The legs are long and masculine with mostly black hooves. Zorses may have other appearances depending on the dominant pigments of the horse. For example, if the horse is black and white the zorse will inherit the white patches. Their large and pricked ears give them an alert hearing ability couples with an incredible sense of smell which is facilitated by their large nostrils.
Distribution and Habitat
Zebras’ natural habitat is the southern and eastern African open savannah grasslands while the wild horses thrive in Europe and some parts of Asia. Therefore, the mating of the two rarely occurs naturally in the wild due to the difference in habitat. A zorse is therefore mostly born as a result of human intervention except in rare cases of domestic horses in Africa. Almost all zorse are found in zoos and animal orphanages. In North America, the animals are used to perform horse like duties. A zorse is a social animal with heightened flight response just like that of zebras.
Diet and Threats
Zorses are herbivores that spend their daytime grazing like either of their parents. Their digestive system is able to digest continuously making it possible for them to graze throughout the day. As for threats, unlike zebras which are easily predated upon by big cats, zorses are much bigger and studier hence harder for them to be an easy prey for carnivores. Their biggest threat is the loss of their natural habitat which is interfered with by human beings.
Like most of the other animals born as hybrids, zorses cannot give birth. Although they may display normal morphology, they are unable to breed because the male is sterile while the female is infertile. The phenomenon is referred to as Haldane’s rule where the horses have a total of 64 chromosomes whereas zorses have only 54 resulting in chromosomal number difference.