10 STRANGE HYBRID ANIMALS THAT ACTUALLY EXIST
If you could create your own animal hybrid, what two animals would you breed together? That may sound like one of those silly, far-fetched questions, but as we learned in our prior Most Amazing Animal Hybrids installment, animal hybridization is a lot more common than we think. So much so, in fact, that we are able to bring you another incredible list of 10 more animal hybrids!
What do you get when you mate a lioness and a leopard? You get a big furball known as a Leopon! Though it sounds like the newest Pokemon, the Leopon is a true product of nature. Well, man's involvement in nature, at least. Mixing qualities of both the lioness and the leopard, Leopon's are exceptional climbers, enjoy being around water, and typically have the telltale brown spots of a leopard. Captive breeding has been documented at Japan's Koshien Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya, which produced a Leopon that survived more than 20 years, a far cry from the lion's 13-year lifespan and closer to that of the leopard.
Iron Age Pig
The Iron Age Pig was a larger breed of swine that bore tusks, camouflaged stripes, and were known for being tough and territorial. Over time, the hearty beast disappeared, leaving behind the modern pig for scientists to have a little fun with. By breeding a wild boar with the domestic pig, the Iron Age Pig was brought back to life… kind of. While not an exact replica of the ancient animal, this modern hybrid is known to be just as angry and tenacious as the true Iron Age Pig.
Winning the award for one of the silliest hybrid names out there is the Geep, a crossbreed of a sheep and a goat. Not to be confused with the artificially created and far more awesome sounding sheep-goat Chimera, geeps are generally rare in the wild. Though sheep and goats commonly share pastures, the differing genera aren't known to mate frequently. In most cases, if the mating of a sheep and goat leads to an offspring, the geep is stillborn. Despite the high mortality rate, there have been successful instances of geeps, such as in 2000 at the Bostwana Ministry of Agriculture. The resulting offspring sported legs similar to that of a goat, a wooly inner-coating, and a heavier sheep-like body. Additional live geeps include one birthed in 2011 and three in 2014 - though there are those that believe these successful geep births were nothing more than those cooler sounding chimera!
Doesn't it sound like some sort of wonky animal that performs parlor tricks and is known for being so off-the-wall that nobody can keep up with it? Well, it's actually quite the opposite and is more of a docile creature created by breeding a zebra stallion with a pony mare. The resulting mix is a partially striped, 4-legged beast not unlike the Zonkey we covered in our last hybrid video. Zony's bred from medium-sized pony mares are typically used for riding while much smaller pony breeds, like the Shetland, will produce the smaller Zetland hybrid. Why is all of this zebra-pony cross-breeding necessary? Don’t know! Sometimes it's just accidental, such as the 2001 case at Eden Ostrich World in Cumbria, England, when a zebra was left in a field with a pony, leading to unexpected results.
Dzomo arigato, Mr. Roboto! Ahem… sorry. There's really nothing to laugh about with this horned beast. The product of mating a cow and a yak, the Dzomo, has proven to be a stronger counter to the common yak and is known to produce more milk than any big ol’ dumb cow. The male counterpart of the Dzomo, the Dzo, is fairly similar in its productivity, but unlike the Dzomo, they are bred sterile. Hybridization of the Dzomo can go even further when crossed with a domestic bull or yak bull, resulting in the three-quarter-bred Ortoom, which can then be crossed further with a bull or yak bull to create a one-eighth-bred Usanguzee.
Something in me just wants to say "CatDog", but that's an entirely different thing for an entirely different audience. The Coydog is exactly what you've probably already deduced it as being - a mix of a male coyote and a female dog. Just as cute and fluffy as the related house pet, the Coydog tends to be far less manageable and considerably less trustworthy. Coydog breeding was popular in Pre-Columbian Mexico as coyotes were once revered. As dogs are not known to form bonds with coyotes, pup survival in the wild is fairly low.
When a jaguar and a lioness spend a little too much time together in an enclosed environment, there's no telling what sparks can fly between them. In the case of the lioness Lola and her unintentional jaguar mate Diablo at the Bear Creek Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada, those sparks definitely flew and little Jahzara and Tsunami were the products. The brother and sister jaglion pair inherited differing traits from their parents, with Jazhara looking more like his father. Currently, the miracle siblings are the only known jaglions in the world and further precautions with Lola and Diablo have been made to ensure the sanctuary doesn't add to the probability of any additional hybrids.
Think you've seen it all? Well, we doubt that you've rested your eyes on the beautiful wonder that is the Yakalo! It's doubtful mostly because this science experiment that crossed a yak with American bison, or buffalo, wasn't as successful as researchers had hoped, producing a hybrid that wasn't able to survive for reasonable lengths of time. Up until 1928, scientists sought to create a viable hybridization of the yak and buffalo, sometimes even using a bison-cattle hybrid, to produce an animal that was meant to be a hard working beast and considerably more tamable and more resilient than common yak.
No, no, no. Not that kind of mule! This one is feathery and can fly, though it shares the same sterile properties as the 4-legged variation. The origin of this beautiful, distinguished creature stems back to the Victorian era when birds like the goldfinch were crossed with canaries. The resulting species was a sterile aves known best for its attractive look and alluring song, for which the bird continues to be bred today. Common mules are bred from the hybridization of Himalayan Goldfinch, Euro Golfinch, or Yarrell's Siskin with African Yellow Canaries.
Blacktip Shark Hybrid
Oh, what? Is the name not creative enough for you? Don't blame the messenger for the lack of inspiration when naming this water beast, but the moniker is as accurate as one can get. The cross-breeding of the Australian blacktip shark and the more common blacktip has lead to the very first hybridization of sharks, discovered in 2012, and though their physical appearance is unremarkable, their appearance in nature is an incredible leap in the evolution of the species. Initially, news outlets claimed that the hybridization was in response to climate change, though scientists are more inclined to believe that, while it's unlikely climate change triggered the cross-breeding, it may prove beneficial for the species in the future.