The unusual long-eared creature you are looking at is in fact a hybrid species of cat. Have you ever come across any such animal, which is a mix of two genus or subspecies? Somewhere around the mid-1800s, we humans started intervening intentionally to cross various breeds of animals. Some of these man-made hybrid offspring include the Beefalo (bison and domestic cattle), Tigon (tiger and lion), Coydog (coyote and a dog) and Pumapard (Puma and leopard). Since then ‘Hybridization’ has become a controversial topic of research and debate.
As a result of various experiments, many unique cross-breeds have been created; here are just ten.
1. Zebroid (zebra and horse)
Zebroid is the common name for all zebra hybrids. Some very fascinating examples include the Zeedonk (Zebra and donkey), Zorse (zebra and horse), Zebrule (zebra and mule), and Zony (zebra and pony). Zebroids look like horses, mules or ponies but with zebra-like stripes. Sometimes they are very difficult to handle.
Image: Mark Interrante
2. Wolphins (whale and dolphin)
This is a very rare hybrid, between a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin. Wolphins are a perfect example of a cross-breed, as their shape, color and size are very much intermediate between dolphins and whales. As of today, only two such wolphins exist, which can be seen at Sea Life Park, Hawaii.
3. Cama (camel and llama)
On Jan. 14th, 1998, the very first cross-hybrid of a male camel and a female llama was born in Dubai. An amazing animal with long legs and the great strength of a camel but no hump, and the fleece of a llama. It eats shrubs and other plants and could also survive without water for long periods, just like camel.
4. Zubron (wisent and domestic cattle)
First created in 1847, the zubron is a hybrid of domestic cattle and wisent. Zubron are known to survive in very harsh weather conditions and are very strong. This is one of the reasons that they are more durable as a possible replacement for cattle.
5. Mangalitsa (boar descendants and pigs)
Also known as ‘curly-hair-dog’, Mangalitsa are a highly specialized Hungarian breed. Created in 1833, this wooly pig resemble a boar and produces very tasty high-quality meat.
6. Blood Parrot Cichlid
An unusual, bright orange colored fish, that has a red body and deformed swim bladders, is the blood parrot. The fish is thought to have been bred from a severum and red devil cichlid or possibly from a midas cichlid and a redhead cichlid. Another deformity is its beak-like mouth, due to which feeding this fish becomes a hard task for the owner. Many are against such unusual hybrids and there have been moves to remove from the market and from other pet stores.
7. Liger (lion and tiger)
Hybrids cross between different species of the same genus. In this case, the parents are a male lion and a tigress. Known as world’s largest cats, ligers have characteristics of both their parents. They love to swim like tigers and are very social like lions. Another similar hybrid is called the tigon (combining a male tiger and female lion).
8. Yakow or Dzo (yak and cow)
A hybrid of a yak and domestic cattle (usually a cow), which is stronger and larger than its parent. The word Dzo refers to a male and for the female, Dzomo is used. Dzo is often used as a ‘pack animal’, for transporting heavy goods high up in the mountains.
Image: Jason Douglas
9. Savannah cat (wild cat and domestic cat)
The savannah cat is perhaps one of the largest breeds of domesticated cats. It is a beautiful cat-breed of the African serval wild cat, and a domestic cat. Though the cat is loyal like a dog and is friendly with people, it still has a wild spotted look.
10. Grolar Bear (Grizzly bear and polar bear)
The prizzly bear or grolar bear is a strange looking hybrid of the polar bear and grizzly bear. It is a rare ursid hybrid that has occurred both in the wild and in captivity. Its occurrence in nature was confirmed in 2006 using DNA technique, when a strange bear was shot on Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic.
Have you ever thought what it would be like to cross-breed human DNA with a reptile, or a bird or maybe with an elephant? Who would be responsible for the inexplicable result? The way that we humans are playing with different species of animals such an eventuality is possible in the near future.
Being human we should know the fact that every species born has its individuality and distinct nature, so, we should just do what is best for our natural world.