Hybrid creatures have been a part of legend and fairytales for thousands of years. Not to mention, with modern day photoshop, creative users are able to keep the fantastical hybrid alive. However, hybrid animals do exist. These are the real hybrid animals, which are neither of legend or photoshopped.
Liger (Male Tiger & Female Lion)
Ligers may be the most common hybrid animal. Many hybrid animals lose the best, and strongest traits of each animal, making the hybrid sick or weak. However, with ligers this is not the case. Ligers can grow stronger and bigger than their parents. The largest, non-obese liger recognized by the Guinness Book of World records in names Hercules (pictured). Hercules is considered the largest living cat on earth, weighing 922 pounds (418.2 kg), and measures over 6 feet (1.83 meters) in height.
Tigon (Male Tiger & Female Lion)
Although not as common as the liger, tigons are still prevalent. A tigon is created from breeding a male tiger and female lion. Tigons inherit traits from both parents. Therefore, they can have both internal and external characteristics of both. For example, a ligon can have spots from the mother and stripes from the father. However, if a male ligon has a mane it will be shorter than a normal lion’s man. They normally weigh around 180 kilograms (400 pounds).
Cama (Male Camel & Female Llama)
A cama is a mix of a male camel and female llama. This hybrid did not happen naturally, as it was created via artificial insemination, in Dubai. Artificial insemination is necessary for this cross-breeding as adult male camels can weigh up to six times as much as a llama. The first cama was born in 1988. The creators’ goal was to make an animal capable of high wool production like a llama, but with the size and temperament of a camel.
Geep (Sheep & Goat)
A geep, also known as a shoat, is the hybrid of a sheep and a goat. This hybrid is extremely rare. Sheep and goats are actually in different genera of the Bovidae family. Therefore, they have a different number of chromosomes. Goats have 60 chromosomes and sheep have 54 chromosomes. This leads to a high rate of stillbirths. Many of these hybrids, if they survive, are unable to produce.
Dzo (Yak & Domestic Cattle)
A dzo is the creation of breeding a yak and a domestic cattle. The word “dzo” normally refers to the male hybrid, and a female hybrid is called a “dzomo” or “zhom.” Dzomo are fertile and are able to mate with both cattle and yak. However, the dzo are sterile. This hybrid tends to be larger and stronger than its parents. Dzo are normally found in the highlands of Asia throughout Nepal and Tibet.
Litigon (Lion Male & Tigon Female)
A litigon is a the result of mating a hybrid with a “normal” animal. A litigion is a hybrid of a female tigon (male tiger and a female lion) and a male lion. Litigons are very rare, with only a few reported births. The first reports of a litigon was at the Alipore Zoo in India. A female tigon successfully mated with a male Asiatic lion. The tigon gave birth to 7 litigon cubs. They grew to impressive sizes. The biggest weighed 362 kilograms (800 pounds)!
Wolphin (Female Bottlenose Dolphin & Male False Killer Whale)
A wolphin is a very rare hybrid born from the combination of a female common bottlenose dolphin and male false killer whale. The first recorded wolphin was born in Tokyo SeaWorld. Tragically, it died after 200 days. The only currently existing wolphin, in the world, is located at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii. Wolphins are smaller than a false killer whale, but bigger than a common bottlenose.
Mule Bird (Goldfinch & Canary)
The Mule Bird was created during the Victorian era. A goldfinch was crossed with a canary and people were astonished by the result. The resulting hybrid was a very attractive and a good singing bird. The cross was given the name Mule Bird. Unfortunately, most mule birds are sterile. Therefore, mule birds are specifically bred by certain bird clubs. After the successful creation of the mule bird, people began experimenting with crossing British finches with other type of birds.
Coywolf (Coyote & Gray Wolf)
A coywolf, or woyote, is a hybrid of 2 wild canids, coyote and gray wolf. As they have similar habitats and behaviors, scientists are not surprised these two species have mixed. In fact, it was found most gray wolves have some coyote DNA. A hybrid will be larger than a coyote, but smaller than a wolf. It inherits behaviors from both parents. However, studies have shown the coywolves may have a less aggressive temperament than normal coyotes, and they also reach sexual maturity at a later age.
Beefalo (Cattle & Bison)
A beefalo, also known as a cattalo, is a hybrid of a (normally male) domestic cattle and a (normally female) American bison. This hybrid was created to enhance beef production. Studies show that beefalo meat has less fat and cholesterol. It also contains 4-6% more protein. The American Beefalo Association also reports beefalo are better able to handle the cold and need less assistance calving than cattle.
Savannah Cat (Serval Cat & Domestic Cat)
A savannah cat is a cross between a serval and a domestic cat. The breed began to grow in popularity in the 1990s, and was registered as an official breed by the International Cat Association in 2001. The direct cross of a serval and domestic cat are extremely hard, as there is a big difference in their gestation periods and sex chromosomes. Servals can also be very picky when choosing a mate.
Swoose (Swan & Goose)
A swoose is a hybrid of a swan and a goose. However, there are very few reports on this animal. One of the first reported cases was in 2004. On the river Frome, in Dorest, England, a Mute Swan paired with a domestic goose. Luckily, a local conservation and bird-watching group was able to discover the hybrid and document its life. Many suspected it wouldn’t live long. However, the swoose proved them wrong. Below is a picture of that swoose.
Hinny (Male Horse & Female Donkey)
A hinny is a cross-breeding of a male horse (a stallion) and a female donkey (a jenny). It is the reverse breeding of a mule. Like most hybrids, they are difficult to create due to the difference in amount of chromosomes of a horse and a donkey. A donkey has 62 chromosomes and a horse has 64. The result is a hinny with 63 chromosomes and more times than not, sterile. The uneven amount of chromosomes causes for an incomplete reproductive system.
Lijagulep (Male Lion and Female Jagulep)
This is one hybrid that we most likely won’t see walking the planet ever again. A lijagulep, also called the Congolese spotted lion, is a cross-breed of a male lion and female jagulep (jaguar and leopard mix). It is believed the name Congolese spotted lion was given to this hybrid because at the original time of breeding, people were more interested in exotic animals, rather than domestically-bred hybrid animals. These hybrids are no longer bred in zoos as there is a strong emphasis on conservation of pure species.
Mulard (Pekin & Muscovy Duck)
The mulard is a hybrid of the Pekin and muscovy duck. Like many other hybrids, the mulard is sterile. They are often referred to as “mule ducks”. Until the 1960s, foie gras was made from geese. But, geese are more expensive than ducks. Farmers discovered the calm muscovy duck couldn’t handle the force feeding like a Pekin. Therefore, to save money and effort they combined ducks. Sadly, mulards are mainly created for commercially producing foie gras.
Pumapard (Puma & Leopard)
A pumapard is the offspring of a puma and a leopard. It does not matter the sex of the parent, as a male pump and female leopard, and a female leopard and male puma, can create offspring. The pumpard inherits a form of dwarfism, and only grows to roughly half the size of their parents. They have a puma-like long body with short legs. Their coat varies but some colors that have been reported are sandy, tawny or grayish with brown, chestnut or “faded” rosettes.
Mule (Male Donkey & Female Horse)
The mule is an extremely common animal that many do not realize is actually a hybrid. A mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and female horse. Mules are valued because they have the size and speed of their mother, and the strength, intelligence and endurance of their father. Mules also require less food than a horse of a similar size. Most mules are infertile.
Coydog (Coyote & Domestic Dog)
A coydog, or dogote, is a hybrid of a coyote and a domestic dog. Coydogs are normally bred and not found in the wild. However, it does occur when coyotes are expanding into new territories and there are few potential mates nearby. Hybrids vary in appearance. But, generally many retain a coyote’s features, such as a sable-colored coat and bushy tail. Unlike most hybrids, coydogs are fertile.
Blood Parrot Cichlid (Midas & Redhead Cichlid
The Blood Parrot Cichlid is a hybrid of the midas and the redhead cichlid fish. It was first created in 1986, in Taiwan. This hybrid has multiple anatomical deformities, such as a mouth which is just narrow vertical opening. This makes it very hard to feed the blood parrots and could lead to malnutrition. Many people have called for the ban of breeding this fish for that reason.
Scarlet Ibis & White Ibis
There is no name for this hybrid animal yet. Many still speculate that this may not even be a hybrid, but rather a morph in the Scarlet Ibis gene. A scarlet ibis lives in tropical islands of South America and the Carribbean. However, what makes a scarlet ibis so unique is its vivd and almost luminous “scarlet” color. However, as you can see, this ibis’ color is not vivid, but rather reserved. Therefore, some believe that a scarlet ibis had mated with a white ibis to create this beautiful bird.
Killer Bees (European Honey Bee & African Bee)
The Killer Bee, also called the Africanized Honey Bee, is actually not made by nature, but rather by man. The Killer bee is a cross-breed of the European honey bee and the African bee. Scientists hoped the hybrid would be able to increase honey production in the 1950s, in Brazil. That is not what happened and several swarms escaped and spread throughout the Americas. Killer Bees are very territorial. Therefore, if they feel infringed upon, they will attack in hordes.
Iron Age Pig (Wild Boar & Domestic Pig)
The Iron Age pig is a cross between a wild boar and domestic pig. They were originally created to recreate the type of pig represented in prehistoric art. Hence, the name Iron Age pig. Iron Age pigs are generally only raised in Europe for a specialty meat market. However, they have occurred naturally in Australia. Feral Eurasian wild boar sometimes breed with domestic pigs that have either escaped or are within close proximity.
Bengal Cat (Asian Leopard Cat & Domestic Cat)
The Bengal cat is a domestic cat that was created in order to have the look of an wild cat. Bengal cats are breed from a domestic cat and the Asian leopard cat. Creators hoped to have a confident and friendly house cat with a vivid coat. Once there has been a separation of 4 generations from the original breed, bengal cats achieve the goal of developing a calm temperament. It is not advised for a normal household to own a bengal cat that is any earlier generation.
Pizzly (Grizzly Bear & Polar Bear)
A pizzly, also known as a grolar bear, is the hybrid of a grizzly bear and polar bear. This cross-breeding happens in both captivity and the wild. However, why and how they happen in the wild remains a mystery. Grizzly bears prefer to live and breed on land, while polar bears prefer water and ice. The two species also tend to avoid each other in the wild. Physical traits of a pizzly are generally an intermediate between the polar bear and the grizzly bear.
Leopon (Male Leopard & Female Lion)
A leopon is the mix of a male leopard and a female lion. As you can see, a leopon inherits the head of a lion, while its body carries marking similar to a leopard. However, this cross-breeding only happens in captivity, and it is very unlikely to ever happen in the wild. Unfortunately, like many of the hybrids, the cubs are not very healthy, and many die at a young age.
Narluga (Narwhals & Beluga Whale)
When a narwhal breeds with a beluga whale, a narluga is created. Very few have been discovered, but one was found in West Greenland. It had a very large head, a burly snout and lower jaw, and teeth with traits of both the narwhal and beluga. Narwhals and belugas both live in the Arctic Ocean. Hunters have reported seeing whales that sound similar to this description in the Arctic area. Therefore, there may be many more out there than we know.
Zonkey (Zebra & Donkey)
A zonkey, also known as a zebrinny, zedonk, zebrula (and many other names), is the cross of a zebra and a donkey. Zebras and donkeys have lots of similar physical and genetic traits, as they are both part of the horse family. These animals are found where donkeys and zebras live in close proximity, such as South Africa. However, they are considered very rare. Unfortunately, these hybrids are unable to breed.
Zorse (Male Zebra & Female Horse)
A zorse is the combination of a zebra stallion and horse mare. Like the zonkey, it has several other names such as zebrula, zebrule and zebra mule. The zorse has been useful in the veterinary field. A common animal disease in areas like West Africa is nagana pest disease, or sleeping sickness. It affects domesticated vertebra animals such as dogs and horses – but not zorses. Zorses seem to have inherited a gene from their zebra side that makes them immune.
Zony (Male Zebra & Female Pony
Creating hybrid animals of zebras, as you can tell from reading this list, is very common. In general, the umbrella term for all zebra hybrids is zebroid. This is another type of zebroid, a zony. A zony is the offspring of a zebra stallion and a pony mare. Medium-sized pony mares are usually chosen for breeding as it creates a ridable zony. However, smaller pony breeds have been used, such as the shetland. This cross is called a Zetland.
Jaglion (Male Jaguar & Female Lion
A jaglion, or jaguon, is the cross of a male jaguar and a female lion. In 2006, two jaglions were born in Canada. They were named Jahzara (female) and Tsunami (male). Tsunami is spotted, however, Jahzara (pictured) is a melanistic jaglion, as she inherited the jaguar’s melanism gene. This is the first time this has ever occurred. However, it creates a majestic animal, as you can see below.