Image: Guido Gerding
Image: Guido Gerding
Humans seem to really enjoy messing with nature, and if these 20 unusual hybrid animals are anything to go by, the results can range from the weird to the wonderful – and from the cuddly to the, well, not so cuddly. To prove it, the images you’re about to see are not digitally altered, and these animals are 100 percent real.
Say “hello” to the zonkey. It’s a half donkey, half horse hybrid, and it can be the result of human crossbreeding, or it can occur naturally when the two breeds share home and pasture. A zonkey can’t have any babies, though, so each is one is completely unique – and incredibly cute.
Image: Mark Interrante
What do you get if you combine a bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale? The wholpin, of course. It’s almost perfectly in the middle of the two animals, though they are extremely uncommon. You can, however, see the only one in captivity at Hawaii’s Sea Life Park.
Image: Ali West
In 2004 the liger had its moment in the spotlight when the title character in cult movie Napoleon Dynamite said that the lion-tigress hybrid was his favorite animal. And it’s easy to see why, as these massive captivity-born animals are among the largest carnivores on the planet.
Image: via Bandcamp
Behold the mighty beefalo. This impressive beast is, unsurprisingly, a mixture of a buffalo and any kind of domestic bovine. Those two animals were chosen so that the beefalo could exhibit the foraging skill, the simplicity of birthing and the exceptional meat of the bison, and the domestication of a cow.
Image: via Pinterest/Des Yerrid
A cross of a female lion and a male leopard seen mostly in captivity, the leopon is one of the more attractive hybrid cats. Interestingly, the leopon exhibits the climbing skills of a leopard and loves swimming, the latter of which doesn’t go down well with the non-swimming lioness mommy.
Image: Jason Douglas
15. Savannah Cat
Savannah cats are popular hybrids involving the serval, which is an African wild cat, and the domestic cat. This creature’s long-limbed body is bigger than that of a typical housecat, and it is supposedly something of a dog-lover’s answer to a cat. Indeed, it apparently likes playing fetch and going walkies.
Image: via ZooChat
14. Hybrid Pheasant
A cross of a regular ol’ chicken and the common pheasant, this rare hybrid seems to have more characteristics of the latter than the former. Certainly, it is reported to act a little wild and, as a result, has not proven a popular game bird. It looks cool, though.
Image: Mai Le
Each of these weird-looking zebra/horse hybrids seemingly has its own unique design, with classic zebra stripes appearing on various parts of its body. Impressively, the zorse is also reported to shine at trail riding, jumping and driving, and it is thought to be at least twice as powerful as a regular horse.
Image: via Conservation Institute
Camas are human-created hybrids of Asian camels and South American llamas. The original idea was to make a creature that had the vigor and stature of a camel along with the relatively obliging character of a llama. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, as the cama is significantly more camel than llama.
Image: via Hybrid Animals
11. Pizzly bear
Is the changing eco-system leading to novel animal crosses? That’s the theory about the pizzly bear, or grolar bear, which is a hybrid of a grizzly and a polar bear. Indeed, some believe that global warming is compelling species such as these into sharing terrain – and creating new hybrids.
10. Sheep pig
No, this isn’t the kind of sheep pig you saw in Babe; this is a genuine animal hybrid of sheep and pig. According to the New York Daily News, it’s an “ancient, rare breed of hog” that looks like a pig but with the curly, woolly coat of a sheep. Apparently, they taste delicious too.
The handsome coywolf – otherwise known as an Eastern coyote – is a natural hybrid of the Western coyote and the Eastern wolf. How did it happen? It’s actually been this way for a long time, as the animal has been native to the Northeastern United States since the mid 20th century.
Image: via BBC
In 2014 a geep – a goat-sheep mix – was born on an Irish farm, much to the shock of the farmer. There was no human intervention necessary in its creation, and the farmer reported that his geep was fast, agile and very hard to catch. Cute too.
Image: Miguel Tremblay
7. Iron Age pig
The rough-looking Iron Age pig is a human-created mix of a wild boar and a domesticated sow. The effort to bring back this gnarly pig of the past is, though, it seems just another strategy to add a new type of pork to the specialty meat market.
Image: The bellman
A tigon is the rare offspring of a male tiger and a female lion, with the resulting creature able to have spots as well as stripes on its coat. This beast is so rare, though, that in 2015 a tigon named Maude that died six decades earlier was put on display at the U.K.’s Manchester Museum.
Image: via MorgansLists.com
The narluga is a narwhal/beluga whale hybrid and is one of the weirder-looking sea creatures to have made an appearance on the planet. This is probably because its large head doesn’t have the iconic tusk sported by its narwhal parent. Experts claim that the naturally produced narluga is also the result of climate change.
Image: Bear Creek Sanctuary
The jaguar and the lion naturally live thousands of miles apart, but when thrown together in captivity they can produce the hybrid cat known as the jaglion. This jaguar-lion cross is exceptionally beautiful, featuring a lion head and tail tuft but without the bushy mane. Probably best to avoid them on dark nights, though.
This cute guy is a cross between a puma and a leopard. Interestingly, most pumapards suffer from stunted growth and have much smaller legs than their parents. It must be said, though, that they are about as close to looking like cuddly toys as you could find in the animal world.
Image: via SavATree
2. Green Sea Slug
What will nature think of next? The green sea slug is a mind-boggling mix of animal and plant. The outcome of this unheard-of pairing came about when the sea slug somehow assimilated algae genes into its DNA. Scientists are baffled about how it was done, and this is the only example of it known to exist. Weird.
Image: Wildside Coydogs
Strong-minded dog lovers may have a new option in the coydog, a cross between a wild coyote and a domestic dog. These guys are tough to control, tend to bite when afraid and are not considered to be suitable for the faint of heart. What they need in an owner is a “pack leader”; are you up for it?