We’ve all heard of the phenomenal hybrid creatures in mythology that surpass everyone’s imagination, but did you know that hybrid animals exist in real life and they’re just as impressive? Then look no further than this list! Hybrids mainly occur naturally when 2 similar animal species breed together or through a biological process called, “somatic hybridization”.
Here at Bright Side, we’ve found some of the most unique hybrids which actually exist, and their names are as interesting as their looks.
Even though they might look picturesque, the Zorse, or otherwise known as a zonkey or zebroid is actually the offspring of a zebra and a horse or a donkey. They first appeared during the 19th century when they were bred through somatic hybridization by Charles Darwin. They exist to this day but very rarely due to the fact that they are infertile or sterile.
If you haven’t guessed by its name, a wholphin is a rare crossbreed between a male Horse Killer Whale and a female Bottlenose Dolphin. These creatures have been reported to exist in the wild since they can breed naturally and only one of them is now in captivity in the Sea Life Park in Hawai. It was born in May of 1985 and was able to reproduce and have 3 more little wholphins in 2004.
The beefalo which is also referred to as the American Hybrid is in fact, the successful fertile offspring of an American Buffalo and domestic cattle. It was scientifically created to combine characteristics from both species for the beef production industry. The first accidental crosses of the 2 species appeared approximately 1,800 years ago and then they were intentionally crossbred during the 19th century.
4. The liger
One of the most well-known hybrid animals is the liger. It is a crossbreed between a male lion and a female tiger. They have beautiful white striped patterns on their fur that gradually fade away in different patches. The liger weights approximately 400 kg which makes it the largest hybrid animal from the Felidae. Ligers only exist in captivity so the environment of the parental species does not overlap.
Just like the liger, the tigon is quite similar in its crossbreeding. Both hybrids have the same parents from different genders. A tigon is a hybrid cross between a female lion and a male tiger. Tigons can only exist in captivity and are known to be sterile. Surprisingly in 1943, a female tigon was able to mate with a male lion in the Munich Hellabrunn Zoo and their little cubs were successfully raised to adulthood.
The leopon’s appearance resembles a mythological creature that we’ve all fallen in love with: the Ammit. A Leopon is a very rare crossbreed between a lioness and a male leopard. Its head resembles a lion while its body is almost identical to a leopard. The first leopon was produced in captivity in 1910 in India but unfortunately didn’t survive for long, now there are only 100 Leopon’s left in the world and they are all in captivity since they were born through somatic hybridization.
7. Grolar bear
These cute fluffy creatures that resemble large stuffed animals are the offspring of a grizzly bear and a polar bear. Even though they are a rare ursid hybrid, they mostly occur in the wild rather than in captivity. Interestingly, even though these species belong to the same territories, they avoid each other in the wild.
Hinnies are some of the most common hybrids which cannot be found in nature because they are bred through a reciprocal process. They are the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. They are slightly smaller than horses and have thicker fur. Due to the difference in the number of chromosomes for each species, hinnies cannot reproduce and are extremely hard to obtain.
9. Savannah cat
For all us dog and cat lovers out there, the Savannah cat is the epitome of perfection. The Savannah cat is often compared to dogs for their loyalty and intelligence. They tend to follow their owners around the house and can be trained as well as dogs. The Savannah cat mainly lives in the wild and it is the offspring of a domestic cat and an African wild cat.
These little creatures that look like small furry camels are camas. They are a hybrid between a male camel and a female llama. Camas cannot naturally reproduce in the wild, so some scientists used artificial insemination to create their first offspring. Interestingly enough, the reason it was first reproduced in 1998 was to create an animal that could produce a larger amount of wool than the llama.
This little ball of cuteness is a geep, otherwise known as a shoat which is a rare crossbred between a sheep and a goat. Even though these 2 have a lot of similarities in their making they are 2 different species and once they breed, their offspring are usually stillborn. There were only 2 cases worldwide in which a live offspring was born but they were sterile due to the intermediate number of chromosomes they had.
Originating in Mongolia and Tibet, the Dzo is a hybrid between domestic cattle and a yak. Since Dzos are products of the heterosis phenomenon, they tend to be stronger than their parents and larger in size — and they’re fertile. In addition, they tend to produce larger amounts of milk and meat compared to cattle and yaks.
This particular hybrid is actually a naturally born love child between a male jaguar and a female lion. It was unintendedly bred when its parents used to co-exist in the same zoo and were raised together to become inseparable. This jaglion now lives with his parents at the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada.
Did you know about any of these hybrids? Which one impressed you the most? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.