Ligers, tigons, and Grolars Oh my! Many old civilizations´ mythologies featured bizarre hybrid creatures such as the Centaur, Harpy and Sirena and even these days, graphic designers and Photoshop fans create modern hybrids by mixing different animal species together. But hybrids animals are real, living creatures. They can occur naturally (when two similar animal species interbreed) or they can be made via so called in vitro fertilization or somatic hybridization. You will see all forms of hybrid creations within these 25 fascinating hybrid animals.
Aside from the creation of hybrid animals, their naming is also interesting. In fact, it depends on the sex and the species of the parents. For example, the father usually gives the first half of his species’ name and the mother gives the second half of hers. Therefore, a pizzly bear has a polar bear father and grizzly bear mother whereas a grolar bear’s parents would be reversed. With that said, you can now see how the liger (one of the most famous hybrid animals in the world), which is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger, got its name. Are you ready for some really cool hybrid animals? Then let us present you with some of the most fascinating hybrids around! From jaglions and coywolves to zebroids and wholphins, these are 25 Fascinating Hybrid Animals You Have To See Today.
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Let us start out with one of the most well-known hybrid animals ever. A cross between a male lion and a tigress, the liger exists only in captivity because the habitats of the parental species do not overlap in the wild. With weight of up to over 400 kilograms (900 pounds), ligers are the largest of all known extant felines.
Another cross between the two largest feline species, the tigon is a hybrid cross between a male tiger and a lioness. Not as common as the converse hybrids (ligers), tigons usually do not exceed the size of their parent species because they inherit growth-inhibitory genes from the lioness mother. They mostly weigh around 180 kg (400 lb).
Also known as jaguon, the jaglion is the offspring between a male jaguar and a female lion. This mounted specimen is on display at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum in Hertfordshire, England. It has the lion’s background color, brown, jaguar-like rosettes and the powerful build of the jaguar.
One of the hybrids naturally occurring in the wild, the savannah cat is a cross between a serval (medium-sized African wild cat) and a domestic cat. Savannah cats are commonly compared to dogs in their loyalty, and they will follow their owners around the house like a canine. They can even be trained to walk on a leash and to fetch.
Bengal cats were developed by the selective breeding of domestic cats crossed then backcrossed and backcrossed once more with hybrids from the Asian leopard cat and domestic cat. The goal was to create a confident, healthy and friendly cat with a highly contrasted and vividly marked coat. These cats are generally a bright orange or light brown color.
The coywolf is a term for a canid hybrid descended from coyotes and one of three other North American Canis species, the gray, eastern and red wolf. Coyotes are closely related to eastern and red wolves, having diverged just 150,000–300,000 years ago and evolved side by side in North America.
The mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Mules are more patient, sure-footed, hardy and long-lived than horses, and they are considered less obstinate, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys. Valued for their ground-covering abilities, mules usually weigh between 370 and 460 kg (820 and 1,000 lb).
The converse hybrid between donkey and horse, the hinny is the offspring of a horse stallion and a jenny donkey. Like mules, hinnies come in many sizes but they are much rarer than mules as jennies and stallions can be choosier about their mates than horse mares and donkey jacks and even if they do cooperate, female donkeys are less likely to conceive when bred to a horse.
Sometimes also referred to as cattalo or the American hybrid, the beefalo is a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle (usually a male) and the American buffalo (usually a female). Beefalo are primarily cattle in genetics and appearance, with the breed association defining a full Beefalo as one with three-eighths bison genetics.
Known by many other names such as zedonk, zorse, zebra mule, zonkey, and zebmule, the zebroid is the offspring of any cross between a zebra and any other equine (horse, donkey etc.). Bred since the 19th century, zebroids physically resemble their non-zebra parent, but are striped like a zebra. Yet, the stripes usually do not cover the wholly body of the animal.
The dzo is a hybrid between yak and domestic cattle. The word dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, while a female is known as a dzomo. Dzomos are fertile while dzo are sterile. As they are a product of the hybrid genetic phenomenon of heterosis (hybrid vigor), they are larger and stronger than yak or cattle from the region.
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The grolar is a rare hybrid between a grizzly and polar bear. Although these two species are genetically similar and often found in the same territories, they usually tend to avoid each other and they have different breeding habits. Grizzlies tend to live and breed on land while polar bears prefer breeding on the ice. Yet, grolars have been recorded to occur both in captivity and in the wild.
The cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, and has been produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal capable of higher wool production than the llama, with the size, strength and cooperative temperament of a camel.
These days, the wolfdog (full name is the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog) is a new, officially recognized dog breed that traces its original lineage to an experiment conducted in 1955 in former Czechoslovakia. Here, German shepherds were crossed with Carpathian wolves with the aim to create a breed that would have the temperament, pack mentality, and trainability of the German shepherd and the strength, physical build, and stamina of the wolf.
The wholphin is an extremely rare hybrid of a female common bottlenose dolphin and a male false killer whale. The first recorded wholphin was born in a Tokyo SeaWorld, but he died after 200 days. The first wholphin in the US and the first to survive was Kekaimalu, born at Sea Life Park in Hawaii in 1985. Wholphins have also been reported to exist in the wild but they occur very rarely.
The narluga is a very rare hybrid that is created by the interbreeding of the narwhal, a medium-sized toothed whale, and the beluga whale, an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. Narlugas occur very rarely but over the recent years, there has been an interesting increase in sightings of these bizarre creatures in the Northern Atlantic.
Hybrids of domestic cattle and wisent, zubrons are heavy and strong animals with males weighing up to 1,200 kg (2,600 lb). The name zubron was chosen from hundreds of proposals sent to the Polish weekly magazine Przekroj during a contest organized in 1969. Males are infertile in the first generation but females are fertile and can be crossbred with either parent species.
Blood parrot cichlid
Also known as parrot cichlid and bloody parrot, the blood parrot cichlid is a hybrid of the midas, a large cichlid fish endemic to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the readhead cichlid. As this hybrid has various anatomical deformities including a very small mouth opening that makes the fish vulnerable to malnutrition, controversy exists over the ethics of creating this fish.
The mulard (or moulard) is a domestic duck hybrid of Pekin and muscovy ducks. Commercially produced on farms for meat and foie gras, the mulard is not just a hybrid between different species, but even between different genera. Mulards can be created by mating male muscovies with female pekins, but mostly, they are produced by artificial insemination.
Also known as shoat, the geep is the hybrid offspring of a sheep and a goat. Although these two species seem similar and can be mated, they belong to different genera in the subfamily Caprinae of the family Bovidae. Despite widespread shared pasturing of goats and sheep, hybrids are very rare and the offspring of a sheep-goat pairing is usually stillborn.
Black-tip hybrid shark
Just a few years ago, the very first hybrid shark was discovered in Australian waters. A combination of Australian black-tip shark and its global counterpart, the common black-tip shark, the hybrid shark appears to be a strong and robust shark. Scientists suggest the two species might have interbred to gain better adaption skills.
Interspecific hybridization has been confirmed between the black and the white rhinoceros. New studies suggest it is possible that these species are kept separate by geographical boundaries rather than genetic differences. Native to Africa, the black rhino is classified as critically endangered and three of its subspecies were already declared extinct.
Some kangaroo hybrids between similar species have been achieved by housing males of one species and females of the other together to limit the choice of mate. To create a natural macropod hybrid, young animals of one species have been transferred to the pouch of another so as to imprint into them the other species. This hybrid was created by mixing the Red Kangaroo and the Great Grey Kangaroo.
Killer bees were created in an attempt to breed tamer and more manageable bees. This was done by crossing the European honey bee and the African bee, but instead the offspring became even more aggressive and highly defensive bees which escaped into the wild in Brazil in 1957. Since then, they have spread throughout all South, Central and North America.
Hybrid iguana is a hybrid resulting from natural interbreeding between male marine iguanas and female land iguanas since the late 2000s. The marine iguana is an iguana found only on the Galapagos Islands that has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to forage in the sea, making it the only extant marine reptile.