As Earth has encountered many different changes – a warming planet, environmental erosion, and loss of species – animals are trying to adapt. And one way they do that is through crossbreeding.

How does crossbreeding work? It’s the strengthening of the genes of one animal by breeding with a stronger mate of another animal. Sometimes, these strange animal mating partners are a result of nature, and other times, they’re a human-made match. While these crazy animal crossbreeds may look beautiful, there is one thing many of these exotic animal hybrids suffer from. Many crossbreed animals are born sterile.

Some exotic crossbreeds are created because of human intervention and methods of selective breeding. Crossbreeding can only occur with animals that belong to the same families or subfamilies. Only one particular type of crossed animals, such as the geep (a goat-sheep mix), are from entirely different classes. These kinds of animals are not genetic hybrids but instead referred to as genetic chimeras. Amazing right? Check out more interesting and strange crossbreed animals you probably didn’t know were real.

Zonkeys Were Bred For Transportation

The zonkey is a cross between a male zebra and a female donkey that belongs to a class of various zebra hybrids called zebroids. Although most zebroids are sterile, zebra hybrids have been reproduced since the 19th century. They were first bred for transporting and hauling weaponry but later were bred for exotic riding mounts.

The main reason zebras were chosen to cross with purebred equines was to create a mount that posed a higher level of immunity and resistance against disease.

In early 2020, a zonkey was born at the Chyulu Hills National Park in Kenya. Caregivers rescued the impregnated zebra and brought her to the national park, where she surprised everyone by giving birth to the mule.

The Grolar Bear Is A Breed Established Thanks To Global Warming

Photo: –Xocolatl / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The grolar bear, also known as the pizzly bear, is a cross between a polar bear and a brown grizzly bear. The first scientific verification of grolar bears was confirmed in the wild after DNA tests revealed both species were breeding together, producing the hybrid bear. Since then, the hybrid has been bred successfully in captivity for zoos. While these animals are pretty cool looking, the reason they started crossbreeding in the first place is actually really sad.

These bears bred out of desperation, thanks to climate change destroying their habitats. This new breed causes polar bears and grizzly bears to invade each others’ territory during the breeding season because resources are scarce.

Jaglions Sometime Occur In The Wild – But Are Usually Bred By Exotic Pet Owners

Video: YouTube

The jaglion is a cross between a male jaguar and a female lion, which both belong to the genus class known as panthera. Most panthera hybrid males are infertile, giving them little chance of surviving in the wild. While some of these hybrids were bred by human selection, historic research reveals these hybrids sometimes occurred naturally in the wild.

Most jaglions are selectively bred for exotic pet purposes. However, there are some cases where unintended breedings have successfully occurred within sanctuaries.

Coywolves Are Taking Over The United States

Photo: L. David Mech mail, Bruce W. Christensen, Cheryl S. Asa, Margaret Callahan, Julie K. Young / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The coywolf is a cross between a male wolf and a female coyote that belongs to the canid hybrid class. Coywolves produce naturally in the wild. The reason these species crossed is said to have stemmed from habitat changes and a decrease in space. One fortunate aspect of this crossbreed combination is that this hybrid is known to be fertile, so they are highly suitable to survive in the wild. These hybrids tend to be larger than coyotes and look less like wolves.

These creatures are becoming so prevalent, some groups worry their genetic makeup is diluting that of real wolves. Researchers are trying to sterilize wild coyotes to stop them from breeding with endangered species of wolves, hoping this will increase the population of pure wolves in the United States.

 

Ligers Were Bred For Their Beauty

Photo: Hkandy / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

If you’ve watched the film Napoleon Dynamite, you’ve probably heard of the liger. Yes, ligers are real! Belonging to panthera subfamilies, ligers are a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. These hybrids date back to the early 19th century of India, bred for their beauty, strength, and size. In fact, the liger is among one of the largest living big cats in the world, some reaching weights of over 900 pounds and measuring 10 feet long.

Ligers share many characteristics of tigers, mainly that they are more sociable and enjoy water. Most ligers are known to be fertile, as some have breed naturally under unintentional circumstances.

Wholphins Are An Extremely Rare Crossbreed

The wholphin is a rare hybrid belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. This hybrid is created by crossing a female bottlenose dolphin and a male false killer whale. This hybrid is extremely rare and usually born in captivity. The first known wholphin was named Kekaimalu. She was born in Hawaii in 1985.

Wholphin offspring can successfully breed with other members within the oceanic dolphin gene pool, though most wholphins in the wild are sterile. A noticeable characteristic about these hybrids is they are smaller than the bottlenose but larger than the false killer whale.

Hybrid Iguana Is A Mixture Of Marine And Land Iguanas

Video: YouTube

The hybrid iguana is an example of breeding for better adaptation and survival against the elements. This hybrid is a natural result of the crossing between female land iguanas and male marine iguanas, which dwell in the Galapagos Islands. This cross species is highly capable of breeding in the wild and is a result of a decrease in marine seaweed, which is a staple food for marine iguanas. When marine iguanas started leaving the ocean to feed on the land, they found it hard to climb the rugged terrain.

The only logical solution was to create a better species. Since land iguanas can climb better on land, the combination of the two species resulted in a creature that is highly capable of locating food in both environments.

Hinny Are The Opposite Of A Mule

The hinny is related to the mule but is a bit of a rarer hybrid and belongs to the equidae family. Mules are a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, whereas hinnies result from crossing a male horse and a female donkey. They are so rare because obtaining the right number of chromosomes while the zygote is in vitro to make a hinny is incredibly difficult.

The hinny is much smaller and stockier than the mule, and like the mule, they are born sterile. They are originally bred for transformational riding mounts.

Zubron Were A Replacement For Cattle In The 1800s

The zubron is a member of the subfamily bovidae, which includes cattle, bison, and buffalos. This hybrid is a crossing of domesticated cattle with wild wisent (European bison). Bred as far back as the mid-1800s, they were a means to replace domesticated cattle. They’re much more susceptible to catching diseases and can’t handle harsh weather conditions. This hybrid species is large and stocky, with the males weighing over 2,600 pounds and females at 1,790 pounds.

While the female hybrids are capable of breeding and reproducing calves, only males backcrossed with a purebred bison or cattle are fertile.

Beefalo Are Better To Farm For Meat Than Regular Cows

The beefalo is another hybrid that is a part of the bovidae family. These hybrid cattle are a fertile species and are the result of crossing the north American bison (buffalo) and the domesticated beef cattle.

During the mid-19th century, the creatures were bred intentionally when colonists saw the value in more milk and meat production produced by the hybrid cattle, as they tend to be more docile, larger in size, and well-proportioned in meat.

Tigons Were Bred For Their Beautiful Markings

Video: YouTube

The tigon is a hybrid of a male tiger and a female lion and is also a part of the panthera class. The tigon was first bred around the late 1900s for their distinct markings and visible characteristics. They are a smaller variety of the big cat family, weighing in around 400 pounds when fully grown. Often, they will not exceed the size of their parents.

This is largely due to particular genes they inherit from their mother, which inhibits their growth without causing dwarfism. In addition, tigons are known to be fertile and are only bred in captivity.

Gamebirds Encompass A Slew Of Birds Crossbred For Hunting

Gamebirds include both land and water fouls, comprised of various species of ducks, Guinea fowl, quail, chickens, turkeys, geese, pheasants, and peacocks. Various types of hybrid gamebirds have been bred successfully under natural circumstances, while others require human intervention using artificial insemination techniques. Some of these hybrid fouls produce fertile eggs, while others are found to be infertile.

The main reason behind crossing fouls together is to build larger domesticated birds for meat consumption. Some birds, however, cannot breed outside their families. Ducks can only be crossed with other ducks, and geese with other geese, for example.

Cama Are Just For Show

Video: YouTube

The adorable cama hybrid belongs to the camels gene pool and is a cross between a male camel and a female llama. It’s interesting to note that reversing the parents in a cama breeding program (using a female camel and a male llama) will not result in viable calves. Cama hybrids are created simply for show and must be reproduced through artificial insemination.

This is due to the male camels’ immense size over the more petite female lama, making natural breeding practically impossible. A cool trait these hybrids inherit from their camel fathers is the ability to survive for long periods of time without drinking water.

Iron Age Pig Is A Mean Pig Bred For Its Meat

The iron age pig hybrid is a cross between a domestic pig and a wild boar. Belonging to the suinae subfamily, this hybrid looks ferocious in appearance. And that’s on purpose – this pig is meant to look like the ancient swine seen in prehistoric European artworks created during the Iron Age period, which fell between 1200 BCE and 600 BCE. These hybrid swine are generally only bred in Europe and are sold for consumption at specialty meat markets because of their hostile temperament.

Since they are bred from wild boars, the hybrid swine is often extremely aggressive and therefore harder to handle.

Savannah Cat Is A Mix Of House Cat And Wild Animal

Photo: Jason Douglas / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The sleek and cuddly Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a wild African serval. The first hybrid feline was produced during the late 1980s. However, it was made popular during the late 1990s when breeders and cat lovers noticed the creature’s sleek look and distinctive spotted pattern. In fact, the exotic look of Savannah hybrids makes them appear as small cheetahs. They possess long slender bodies, leggy appendages, and a coat that looks like a wild African cat’s fur. Savannahs are divided into different generations, with F1s being the most difficult to produce, as they are distinctively created by breeding wild servals and domestic cats together.

While the F7 generation is a result of crossbreeding the hybrids themselves to domestic cats. However, this results in kittens that appear more like domestic house cats.