What is “Hybridizaion” or ” Animal Hybridization”?
The process of Breeding between two different species is known as “Hybridization”. And Hybrids is the offspring resulting from combining the qualities of two organisms of different breeds, varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction.
A famous example of Animal Hybridization is the Mule, a cross between a donkey and a horse. Mule has 50% of a horse gene and 50% of a donkey’s gene. Farmers generally breed mules as it can be used for carrying goods.
Hybridization plays an important role in the transfer of genetic material between different species. With hybridization it is easy to combine the desirable qualities of different animals of same or different species. Hybrids are often used in farming, carrying supplies etc.
- Male Lion + Female Tiger = Liger
- weight : 410 – 500 kg
- Length : 3 to 3.6 m (9.8 to 11.8 ft)
- Longevity : 13 – 20 years
Liger is a hybrid offspring of a male lion (Panthera leo) and a female tiger (Panthera tigris). The parents of liger has the same genus but of different species. Ligers are very sociable like lions and they enjoy swimming like tigers. They grow large very quickly, even larger than lions and tigers. And are the biggest cats in the world.
Hercules is the largest non-obese liger weighing over 418.2 Kg (922 lb) and is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest living cat on Earth. A ligress named Shasta was born at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City on 14 May 1948 and died in 1972 at age 24.
- In 1799, first ever liger cubs were born in India, when a female Bengal Tigress was crossed with a male lion to produce 3 liger cubs.
- In 1824, 3 liger cubs were born at a Zoo in South Africa.
- The first ever liger in USA was born in 1948. It was a female liger and her name was Shasta.
- In Korea the first ever liger cubs were born during 1992. Today Korea has only 1 liger at its Everland Zoo in Yongin, China.
2. Zebroid Hybrids
- Zebra Stallion + Horse Mare = Zorse, Zebrula or Zebrose
- Horse Stallion + Zebra Mare = Hebra, Zebra Hinny or Zebrinny
- Zebra Stallion + Pony Mare = Zony
- Zebra + Donkey = Zonkey or Zenkey
Zebroid is the term generally used for all zebra hybrids. They generally resemble their nonzebra parent, but are striped like a zebra. The stripes do not cover their entire body but might be confined to the legs, or spread to other body parts or neck. Whereas the zebra-donkey hybrids are very rare.
Zebroids have unique characters of both the parents. For example, They are less susceptible to disease like Zebras and they can be easily trained like Horses.
Zebroids have been bred since the 19th century. Charles Darwin noted several zebra hybrids in his works.
- Male Donkey (jack) + Female Horse (mare) = Mule
- Female Donkey (jenny) + Male Horse (stallion) = Hinny
- weight : 370 – 460 kg (820-1000 lb)
A mule gets its athletic ability from the horse and its intelligence from the donkey. The mules are largely used for farming and transportation of agricultural products. Hinnies and Mules can’t have babies of their own. They are sterile as they can’t make sperm or eggs.
Approximately 3.5 million donkeys and mules are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide.
- Male Camel and a Female Llama = Cama
- Height : 49 to 57 inches
- Weight : 180 to 1.000 pounds
- Average Lifespan : 30 to 40 years
The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. Cama is produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The experiment of mixing male llama and female came was unsuccessful.
The Cama hybrids can able to produce higher wool than the llama, and it has the strength and size similar to a camel. Cama has short ears, long tail, cloven hooves and it doesn’t have hump on the back.
5. Wolf Dog
- Wolf (canis lupus) + Dog (Canis lupus familiaris) = Wolf Dog
- Average Lifespan : 12-18 years
- Length : 26-34 inches
- Rank in dog bite fatalities : 6th Rank
Wolf and Dog belongs to same genera and they show similarities in many physical and behavioral traits. In many cases the resulting adult wolfdog may be larger and healthier than either of its parents. It is also reported that wolf dogs are less affected by inherited diseases than most breeds of dog.
The first wolf dog breeding was reported in year 1766 in Great Britain. Some wolf dog owners says that they can be wonderful pets, while others think that they’re unpredictable, untrainable and inherently dangerous. Wolf dogs are permitted in some places only whereas in some places they’re legally banned.
- Male Leopard + Female Lion = Leopon
- Length : 8 inches (20 cm)
- Average Lifespan : Upto 23 years
Leopons are very rare, and are mainly found in Japansese zoos. The head of the animal is similar to that of a lion while the rest of the body has similarities to leopards. They were liberally spotted like a leopard, but the spots were brown, rather than black. They were excellent climbers like leopard.
- Male False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) + Female Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) = Wholphin
- Average Lifespan : Around 40 years
- Weight : 600 pounds
- Length : 12-22 feet
- Number of Teeth : 66
- Skin colour : Dark grey
Wholphin grows very fast and Baby wholphin depends on mother’s milk for about a year.
The first recorded wholphin was born in a Tokyo SeaWorld in 1981, he died after 200 days.
The first female wholphin was born on May 15, 1985 in the United States and was named Kekaimalu, her name means “from the peaceful ocean”. Kekaimalu proved fertile when she gave birth at a very young age.
8. Black-Tip Hybrid Shark
- Australian Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus tilstoni) + Common Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) = Black-Tip Hybrid Shark
- Length : 1.5–1.8 m (4.9–5.9 ft)
- Average Lifespan : Upto 20 years
In 2012, researchers discovered a unknown type of hybrid shark along Australia’s eastern coastline. Later it was known to be a hybrid offspring of two different kind of sharks. Black-Tip Hybrid Sharks generally lives in temperate waters, along the northeastern region.
- Male Beluga + Female Narwhal = Narluga
- Length : 3.95 to 5.5 m (13 to 18 ft)
- Average Lifespan : Less than 30 years
- Average population : 80,000 (in 2020)
On 30th March 1990, researchers found a rare whale skull in Disko Bay in Greenland. However, it is not the first time humans observed Narlugas. Many hunters have seen Narlugas.
It has been reported that the Narluga has unusual teeth, some are long and peg-like like the beluga, others are spiral like the narwhal tusk.
10. Grolar Bear/Pizzly
- Grizzly Bear + Polar Bear = Grolar Bear/ Prizzly Bear or Grizzlar
- Height : 40 to 60 inches
- Length : 78 to 120 inches
- Weight : 400 to 1,500 pounds
- Average Lifespan : Upto 30 years
- Colour of fur : Creamy white fur with brown patches
The body of Grolar bear are smaller than that of polar bears, but larger than grizzlies. They have long necks like polar bears, but small shoulder humps like grizzlies.
The first cross between a polar and grizzly bear was documented on May 8, 2006. Later it was in discovered in 2010. Between 2012 and 2014 another six hybrid bears were either killed by hunters or live-captured by biologists.
11. Savannah Cat
- Domestic Cat + Wild African Cat = Savannah Cat
- Weight : 4.5 to 11 kg
- Lifespan : 12 to 20 years
- Colour : Black, brown spotted tabby, black silver spotted tabby, black smoke
Savannah cats are exotic looking cats and have strong hunting instincts. The Savannah Cat’s personality is playful and adventurous. Unlike most cats, they love to play in water and can even be trained to walk on a leash and play fetch.
The first kitten, named “Savannah”, was born on April 7, 1986.
In 2012, The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the Savannah Cat as an official breed.
- Male Domestic Cattle (Bos tauru) + Female American Bison (Bison bison) = Beefalo
- Height : 55 inches
- Weight : 1,500 to 2,000 pounds
Beefalo was created to combine the characteristics of both animals for beef production, fertility and milk quantity.
In 1749, the first accidental crosses between Bison and Cattle were noticed in North America. The first intentional cross breeding were done in mid-19th century.
13. Iron Age Pig
- European wild boar + Tamworth = Iron Age Pig
- Weight : 75-100 Kg
- Average Lifespan : 15-20 years
Iron Age pigs were raised in Europe and sold for its unique pork flavour and it is quite expensive. They are slow growing animals than other modern breeds.
- Yak + Domestic Cattle = Dzo (Male) Dzomo (Female)
- Height : 5.5 feet
- Weight : 1,300 pounds
Dzo are larger and stronger than yak or cattle. They are generally seen in Mongolia and Tibet. Dzo has cattle-like face with large horns. It has hump on the back. The body is covered with long and shaggy coat like yak.
Dzo can able to carry around 300 pounds of weight, they are also used in farmings. In colder region, Dzos are good source of meat and milk. Dried excreta of Dzo can be used as a source of fuel. As a result this hybrids were much important for the people living in cold regions.
- Bengal Cat + Domestic Cat = Toyger
- Height : 9-13 inches
- Weight : 7-15 pounds
- Lifespan : 10-12 years
Toyger is a breed of domestic cat. Judy Sugden, the creator of breed states that the breed was developed in order to inspire people to care about the conservation of tigers.
In 1993, TICA accepted the Toyger for Registration and finally granting them full recognition as a championship cat in February 2007.
- Goat + Sheep = Geep
In 1984, the first Geep were created by researchers at the Institute of Animal Physiology in Cambridge, England. It was created by combining the embryo of Goat and Sheep.
Goat-Sheep hybrids are very rare and the offspring of a sheep-goat is generally stillborn.
- Ocicat + Bengal Cat = Cheetoh
- Origin : United States
- Weight : 8-15 pounds
- Lifespan : 12-14 years
Cheetoh were crossed in 2001 by a breeder named Carol Drymon. She wanted the physical characteristics of a wild cat and the gentleness of a housecat and the plan of such hybrids were successful.
Cheetoh is a muscular and large breed. In fact, this is one of the largest breeds of all the domesticated cats. Cheetoh is fun-loving kitty who enjoys playing and running. The Cheetoh has a beautiful, soft coat that makes it look like a miniature cheetah.
- Male Tiger + Female Lion = Tigon
- Weight : 200-500 lbs
- Length : 4-9 feet
- Average Lifespan : 13-18 years
igon exhibit visible characteristics from both parents. It is a common misconception that tigons are smaller than lions or tigers, but they do not exceed the size of their parent species because they inherit growth-inhibitory genes from both parents.
- Male Jagaur + Female Lion = Jaglion
- Height : 3.6-4.0 foot
- Weight : 190-310 pounds
- Lifespan : 16-19 years
Jaglion has the lion’s background color that is brown and jaguar-like rosettes.
On April 9, 2006, two jaglions were born at Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary at Ontario, Canada. Jahzara (female) and Tsunami (male) were the result of an unintended mating between a black jaguar and a lioness.
A Liguar is an offspring of a male lion and a female jaguar.
- Male Northwestern Gray Wolf + Female Coyote = Coywolf
- Weight : 35-45 pounds
- Length : 4-5 feet
- Average Lifespan : 4-10 years
Coywolf hybrid is larger than Coyote but smaller than Wolf. Coywolf has big skull, wide, powerful jaws, short, round ears, long legs and thick fur coat.
Earlier a new hybrids species was seen in various cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston and even New York but later it was named as Coywolf.