Peculiar hybrid animals appear in folklores and morphed images. Most of these are not only odd, but potentially ‘abnormal’. What if someone told you some of them actually exist? Freaky, but true. Advances in genetic engineering and cloning have made hybrid animals a reality. In such cases, the father gives the offspring the first half of his species’ name and the mother the second half of hers.
Here is a list of 15 real hybrid animals that’ll surprise you:
A hybrid between a male Lion and a Tigress, Ligers date back to early 19th century. They are bred in captivity and enjoy swimming, just like their Tigress moms and are sociable, quite like their badass Lion dads.
However, unlike Tigeons (Male Tiger+Female Lion) that are just about the size of a Tigress, these hybrid animals are the same size as prehistoric American lions. Most believe imprinted genes may be the reason behind their gigantic size.
The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized Hercules the Liger as the largest living cat on Earth. Believe it or not, he weighs a whopping 902 pounds!
A Zebroid is a cross between a Horse, Donkey or any other Equine for that matter. They have been bred since 19th Century, and Charles Darwin has noted several of these hybrid animals in his works. It generally doesn’t matter which Zebra species is used. Zebroids don’t occur in the wild, and are often infertile. They physically resemble their non-zebra parent, but are striped like a Zebra.
Zebroids are preferred over Zebras because the latter can’t be ridden like Horses or Donkeys as they have a different body shape. However, a Zebroid can often be more temperamental than a pure breed horse.
A Tigon might be a hybrid animal, but has visual resemblance to both its Lioness mother and Tiger father. A male Tigon also has the signature Lion mane, though shorter and less apparent. They grow up to the size of their parent species and weigh almost 400 pounds. This is because they inherit the Lioness’ growth-inhibitory genes.
Tigons, just like Ligers are not sterile. Back in 1943, a Tigon was first successfully mated to a lion at the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo. In India’s Alipore Zoo, a female tigon was successfully mated to an Asiatic Lion to form a rare second generation hybrid was called a Litigon. This Ligon gave birth to seven such Litigons across her lifetime, and one of them weighed as much as 800 pounds!
A Cama is a cross between a male Camel and a female llama. The first Cama was born on 14th January, 1998. This kind of hybrid animal is produced at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. That’s because an adult Camel may weigh six times as much as a llama, so the mating must be produced by artificial insemination.
Camas are herbivores, just like their Camel fathers. They can drink lots of water on one go, and then survive with little or no water for a long time, just like its father.
A Hinny is a hybrid between a male horse and a jenny donkey. Hinnies are often smaller than mules because donkeys are smaller than horses.
It is debatable whether the difference in the size is only because the donkey is smaller than the horse, or if it is a natural consequence of the reciprocal cross. The American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS) however says, “The genetic inheritance of the hinny is exactly the same as the mule.”
Just like mules, hinnies come in several sizes. They can range from as small as 24 inches to American Mammoth Jacks that can be over 60 inches tall. However, other than size, there are only minor differences between mules and hinnies.
A Jaglion is what you get when you mate a male Jaguar and a female Lion. They are extremely rare as they can’t survive in the wild as very few of their males are fertile.
Two Jaglions were born in Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary unintentionally on 9th April, 2006 as the Jaguar called Diablo and the lioness Lola mated. Lola gave birth to Jahzara and Tsunami. The female Tsunami has spots, but Jahzara inherited his dad’s dominant melanism gene.
7. Savannah Cat
A Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and the Serval, a wild African cat. This hybrid animal was popular in the end-1990s. In 2001 the International Cat Association accepted it as a new breed. In May 2012, TICA accepted it as a championship breed.
The first Savannah cat was produced on 7th April, 1986 when a A Bengal breeder called Judee Frank crossbred Suzi Woods’ male Serval with a domestic cat.
Each generation of Savannahs is marked with a filial number. First generation filials are extremely difficult to produce. That’s of the huge gap in each breed’s gestation periods. Pregnancies are often absorbed or aborted. Sometimes kittens are also born prematurely. Servals can also be very picky in choosing mates. They won’t just mate with any random domestic cat!
Coywolf, also called Woyote is genetically close to red and eastern wolves. They’ve diverged only about 150-300,000 years ago. Interbreeding between these species is becoming increasingly common. However, hybrids between Coywolfs and Eurasian gray wolves are extremely rare.
This hybrid animal is often larger than Coyotes. Eastern wolf-coyote hybrids can be seen forming more cooperative social groups and are less aggressive with each other than Pure Coyotes.
A Dzo is a hybrid between a wild Yak and domestic cattle. The word ‘Dzo’ actually refers to the male variant while the female is known as a Dzomo or Zhom.
The Dzo is larger and stronger than it’s pa[rent species because of the hybrid genetic phenomenon of heterosis (hybrid vigor). Dzomos are fertile, while Dzos are sterile.
In Mongolia and Tibet, they are widely accepted as more productive than cattle or yaks, both in terms of milk production and meat.
A Geep or Shoat is the hybrid between a Sheep and a Goat. While Sheep and Goats may seem similar, they belong to different genera in the Bovidae family. That’s why mating the two often results in a stillborn offspring and hybrids are very rare.
In 2000 at the Botswana Ministry of Agriculture, a male sheep and a female goat mated, and the offspring lived to see the light of the day. It had a rough outer coat, a woolly inner coat, long legs like a Goat and a Sheep-like body. However, it was infertile.
A Żubroń is a hybrid of domestic cattle and the European Bison. The name was chosen officially from entries sent to the Polish weekly magazine Przekrój during a contest in 1969. The animal, however, was first created by Leopold Walicki back in 1847.
First generation Żubroń males are infertile, but females are fertile. They can be crossbred and these crossbreeds are fertile.
After World War I, some scientists even considered replacing domestic cattle with żubrońs as they are stronger and less prone to diseases. Moreover, this animal could be bred with minimum husbandry and no farm infrastructure. However, the idea was dropped to economic problems and inherent risks.
A wholphin is an extremely rare hybrid animal born from mating of a female Dolphin and a male false Killer Whale.
The first recorded Wholphin was born in a Tokyo SeaWorld. However, it died after just 200 days. While they have been reported to exist in the wild, only one called Kekaimalu is currently alive in captivity.
Kekaimalu conceived and gave birth at a tender age. However, the first calf died in a mere few days and the second calf Pohaikealoha died at age 9. On December, 2005 Kekaimalu had her third off-spring Kawili Kai, and they’re currently at Sea Life Park in Hawaii.
13. Grolar Bear
A Grolar bear, also known as Polizzly or Nanulak is a rare hybrid animal found in the wild, and is also bred in captivity. The presence of this hybrid was first confirmed back in 2006 after the DNA testing of a bizarre-looking bear that was shot near Sachs Harbour, on Banks Island in Canada.
Grizzlies are sub-species of the brown bear. They tend to live and breed on land whereas; the average Polar bear prefers water and ice, and usually breeds on ice.
A Leopon is a hybrid between a male Leopard and a Lioness. They are larger than Leopards, but have a Lion’s head, and a Leopard’s body. The first documented Leopon was bred at Kolhapur, India in 1910.
Leopons have been bred in zoos across Japan, Germany, and Italy. The most successful program was at Koshien Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya City, Japan where a Lioness called Sonoko was mated to a Leopard called Kaneo. Two Leopons were born in 1959, and 3 more in 1962. They were sterile. However, later leopons have mated successfully. This cross-breeding was popular with the public, but was widely criticized in zoological and animal welfare circles.
The Beefalo, also called the Cattalo is a hybrid between domestic cattle and the American buffalo.
While accidental cross-breeds were noticed as long back as 1749 in North America, Cows and Bisons were first intentionally crossbred in the mid-19th century. In 1880, the first attempt to crossbreed bison and cattle was done by Colonel Samuel Bedson, the Warden of Stoney Mountain Penitentiary, Winnipeg.
Beefalos usually represent cattle in genetics and looks. A full Beefalo usually has three-eighths (37.5%) of a bison’s genetics. The hybrid animal is said to be much better than its parent species. They produce more milk than the Buffalo, but are just as strong.
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