Though the world has various beautiful and unique animals, there are also fascinating creatures that exist and does not ordinarily occur in nature. These animals were born as a product from two different species passing on their genes and exchanging genetic information with each other. These kinds of mixed-creatures are called hybrid animals. Not all animals can be crossbred, and hybrids are most likely to be infertile. So it is quite uncommon to see animals with new shapes, colors, and traits; making these animals truly intriguing because of their attractive and exciting new features. Most of these unique hybrids creatures even have their own creatively coined names. Here is the list of the ten most amazing and real hybrid animals that you probably didn’t know existed.
The liger is an offspring of two animals in the same genus but of different species. This unique creature is a crossbreed between a male lion, Panthera leo, and a female tiger, Panthera tigris. Ligers are one of the most well-known animal hybrids and are one of the biggest of all known felines in the world. They typically grow larger very quickly, and around the end of the 19th century, these hybrid animals had attracted a lot of crowds at the circus and while they are being pulled into two by the circus train.
Ligers only exist in captivity where they are deliberately bred because the habitats of lions and tigers do not overlap in the wild environment. Hercules, the largest non-obese liger, is was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest living cat on earth, weighing 418.2 kg (922 lb). The liger was also featured on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Anderson Cooper 360, Inside Edition, and in a Maxim article.
Geep is the hybrid offspring of a goat and a sheep. The cute sheep-goat hybrid was born on July 27 from My Petting Zoo in Scottsdale, Arizona and was named Butterfly. Geep’s face and hooves are similar features of her goat father and her body, covered in a thick woolen coat are just like her sheep mother. Even though sheep and goats have a lot of similarities, they are two different species that belong to different genera in the subfamily Caprinae of the family Bovinae.
Goats have 60 chromosomes and belong to the genus Capra while sheep have 54 chromosomes and belong to the genus Ovis. The offspring between the breed of sheep and goat is usually stillborn despite the widespread shared pasturing of the two. The genetic difference and distance between the two species can make hybrids very rare when mated. There were only 2 cases of successful hybrid offspring, but they were sterile due to the uneven numbers of chromosomes they have.
Beefalo also referred to as cattalo is the offspring of a domestic cattle and the American bison. The hybrid was in fact, a successful fertile offspring between the American Buffalo and domestic cattle. The breed was scientifically created to combine characteristics from both different species for the beef production industry. The first accidental crosses of the two species appeared in 1749 in the southern English colonies of North America. In 1880, Samuel Bedson bought a captive herd of eight bison and inter-bred them with Durham cattle. In 1886, after thousands of cattle died from the blizzard in Kansas, Charles Jones, a co-founder of Garden City, Kansas, had chosen to cross bison and cattle with the hopes that the animals could survive the harsh winters. He named the result “cattalo” in 1888.
Cama is a hybrid offspring between a male dromedary camel and a female IIama. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998, and was produced through artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. Due to the size difference between a camel and a Llama, it is not possible for these two species to mate. The crossbreed aimed to create an animal that is capable of having higher wool production than the llama and also with the hope of it having the size and strength of a camel and as well as the cooperative skills of the llama.
However, the first cama, named Rama, was uncooperative and always angry. Camas do not have humps and have the long fluffy coat of a llama. Their ears are midway between the length of a camel and a llama. Cama has the strong legs of a camel, making them suited to roam a desert. The cama’s feet also compromise halfway between the foot pad of camels and the cloven feet of the llamas.
Zubron is a hybrid animal that is a cross between a domestic castle and a European Bison, the wisent. The Zubron were first created in 1847, by Leopold Walicki in Poland. Their breed was intended as a future replacement for domestic cattle, due to them being very hardy and are less likely to succumb to disease than their domestic relatives. The name Zubron was officially chosen from hundreds of proposals sent to the Polish weekly magazine during a contest in 1969.
The Zubrons are massive animals and can tolerate almost any harsh weather conditions. They are also extremely resistant to pest and diseases. In the 1950s, a total of 71 breeds were created in the laboratories as an alternative solution to replace domestic castles soon. The experiment with the breeding of Zubron continued until the 1980s when the results were deemed unsatisfactory. There were also fears for the future populations of the wild wisent due to their genes. In 2007, there were press releases that signaled the breeding and experiments are continuing in Karolewe in Greater Poland.
As you may have guessed, Zonkey is the hybrid offspring of a cross between a zebra and a donkey. Technically, the hybrids of a zebra father and donkey mother are called “zonkey” while the hybrids of a donkey father and zebra mother are called a “zedonk,” or sometimes a “donkra.” A donkey-zebra hybrid offspring is rare because the two animals don’t have the same number of chromosomes. A donkey has 62 chromosomes while a zebra has chromosomes anywhere from 32 to 46.
In appearance, zonkeys resemble their donkey parent physically and their zebra parent in size. Besides living in the wild, zonkeys can also be seen in many zoos from around the world as a tourist attraction. The hybrid is a swift animal that can reach the speed of up to 35 miles per hour. They are very healthy and are also resistant to many pests and diseases which is inherited from the zebra parent. Because of their great stamina, people have worked on cross-breeding of zebra and donkey since the 19th century so that they can be used for riding and transportation of heavy loads.
The zebroid is a crossbreed of a zebra and a horse. The tern “zebroid” also refers to all equine crossbred with a zebra. A zebroid is the offspring of a male zebra and a horse or donkey mare. The hybrid of a zebra is very rare because the progeny of such animals are usually infertile. Donkeys and other species of the genus Equus have a different number of chromosomes wherein a donkey has 62 chromosomes, a horse has 64 chromosomes, and the zebra, depending on the species, has 32-46 chromosomes.
The hybridization of zebras and horses became popular at the beginning of the 20th century to be used as draft animals or for riding. Since then, a number of zebroids have been created. Since zebras have strong natural immunity, zebroids were also bred in Africa to develop strong animals with high resistant to diseases. Because of their unusual appearance, zebroids become a significant attraction in zoos from the western world.
A hinny is a cross between a female donkey and a stallion or male horse. It is the reciprocal cross of the mule, which is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. The hinnies and mules differ in various ways. The hinny has a smaller height, shorter ears, a thicker mane, and stronger legs than the mule. The head of a hinny resembles a horse more than it does a mule and has more horse-like tails and manes than the mules.
A male hinny is referred to as a horse hinny, and the female hinny is referred to as a mare hinny. Hinnies are extremely hard to obtain due to the difference in the number of chromosomes of the horse and the donkey. A donkey has 62 chromosomes whereas a horse has 64. The hinnies are unable to reproduce due to the uneven number of chromosomes. The mules and hinnies have greater endurance than horses, are more resistant to diseases and can live longer lives than their parents.
The Savannah Cat
The Savannah is the offspring of a domestic cat and a serval cat, which is a medium-sized, large-eared wild African cat. The hybrids can grow quite large and behaved like dogs because of their loyalty and intelligence. The Savannah cats can also be as well trained like dogs. Their characteristic is playful, adventurous and loyal. They also have strong hunting instincts. Unlike most cats, they love to play in the water. Due to their high energy, they are best suited to active owners.
Savannahs are typically brown, black or silver tabbies with dark brown or black spot patterns. Savannah cats are characterized by their large, broad ears, their long, slender necks and especially their back legs that are slightly longer than their front legs. At the end of the 1990s, these unusual hybrids became favorite among breeders and in 2001, the International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the breed for registration. In 2006, they were recognized and acclaimed by the Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest living domestic cat.
Dzo is a hybrid between the cross of the yak and domestic cattle. The term, dzo, refers to a male hybrid of a yak and a domesticated cow whereas a female hybrid is known as a dzomo or zhom. The male dzo is sterile while the female dzomo is fertile. The males are larger than the females. Both dzos and yaks can be frequently seen as farm animals on the pastures in the mountains in Tibet and Mongolia.
The dzo is a healthy productive animal that can perform various tasks on the farms and are often kept as a source of meat and milk. The dzo produces more milk than the yak, and their milk is used both for drinking and for the manufacture of cheese and butter. The dzo is primarily used by the local farmers and traders as pack animal wherein they carry heavy loads across the mountain passes. The animals can carry around 300 pounds of weight.