Everyone holds some sort of curiosity over an animal hybrid born to different species. Whether it’s morally correct or not is another debate but many of us have a fascination with animal hybrids. Cult hero Napoleon Dynamite’s favourite animal was a Liger – a Lion and Tiger cross. Just recently in the news there was the story of two Liger cubs born in a Chinese zoo. In this article we’ll be taking a look at ten amazing animal hybrids that exist, or have existed at one point.
1. Lion + Tiger = Liger
A cross between the male Panthera leo (lion) and a female Panthera tigris (tiger) results in a Liger, or a Tigon if the parents are a male tiger and a female lion. A liger, as pictured, looks like a giant female lion but with the faded stripes of a tiger. Ligers are the largest cats in the world, although the Siberian Tiger is officially the largest pure breed feline in the world. Ligers enjoy swimming, taking after tigers in that respect and not lions.
2. Zebra + Equine = Zebroid
This hybrid is born of a zebra and any other equine. Known as a zebroid, or a zebra mule and zebrule, these animals have been bred since the 19th century. Offspring of a donkey and a zebra do exist and are called a zebra hinny, although they are rare. The pictured zebroid was a famous animal named Eclyse, mainly because of its unique colouring. Regular zebroid’s normally look like small brown horses but with the trademark zebra stripes.
3. Buffalo + Cow = Beefalo
The Beefalo, born from a cow and a buffalo, is bred for its red meat which is lower in fat and cholesterol. Many consumers will have never heard of beefalo and that is because only a handful of Seattle grocery stores stock the meat. Beefalo breeder Mark Merril described the taste of the meat: “It has a richer flavor and it’s milder and sweeter than beef. And more juicy.”
4. Camel + Llama = Cama
Breeding a llama and a camel together creates this little hybrid – a cama. What’s even more unique though is that this little hybrid is the only one of its kind. The animal was born in 1995. She was born humpless and with a longer, fluffier coat like that of a llama. Her ears are halfway in length between a camel and a llama, while her legs were long and strong like a camel’s.
5. Leopard + Lion = Leopon
The first documented leopon was in 1910 when the first of its kind was born in Kolhapur, India. Usually born to a male leopard and a female lion the head is very similar to a lion’s, including a male lion’s full mane, while the rest of the body resembles that of a large leopard.
6. Serval + Domestic Cat = Savannah
The African wild cat, called a Serval, that breeds with a regular domestic pet cat leads to the birth of this peculiar looking puss, which is called a Savannah. These large hybrid cats can be domesticated and kept as pets in the house. The domestic cats usually bred with the Serval are either a Bengal, Oriental Shorthair, Egyptian Mau, or a Serengeti.
7. Polar Bear + Brown Bear = Grizzly Polar
The grizzly polar can also be referred to as the Grolar Bear. It is a rare hybrid that has occurred both in captivity and in the wild. In 2006 a strange looking bear was shot (pictured) on Banks Island in the Canadian arctic, which led to DNA testing that proved that its parents were a brown bear and a polar bear.
8. Golden + Amherst Pheasant = Hybrid Pheasant
The colourful pheasants – golden and amherst – have commonly been crossed to create this even more colourful hybrid bird which takes after both pheasants.
9. Dolphin + False Killer Whale = Wolphin
A rare hybrid with only two in captivity currently. Kept at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii the two wolphin’s are a major attraction. The first captive wolphin was Kekaimalu, which showed off its mixed heritage through its teeth: bottlenose dolphins have 88, false killer whales have 44 and Kekaimalu has 66!
10. Domestic Pigs + Wild Boar = Iron Age Pigs
Like the beefalo, iron age pigs are normally bred for their tasty meat. Born from a domestic Tamworth pig and a wild boar the hybrids are much tamer than wild boar but less tractable than domestic swine. The pork meat is sold by specialist meat traders.