Nature is fairly absolute. Most of the time, we just can’t beat it. Not really. But sometimes, whether through our intervention or not, accidents happen. And these accidents can be strange, leading to hybrids between animal species.
#1) Mule/Hinny (Donkey + Horse)
The most common hybrid species, a mule is the result of a male donkey mating with a female horse, and a hinny the offspring of the reverse. For complicated genetic reasons, it is easier to breed for a mule than it is for a hinny. Mules are prized for being more patient and long-lived than horses, while less stubborn than donkeys.
#2) Dzo (Cow + Yak)
Certainly one of the more exotic blends on the menu, the dzo (and its female counterpart, the dzomo) is the offspring of domestic cattle and yak. Originating in Tibet, the dzo is larger and stronger than both cattle and yak, though only the female dzomo are fertile while the males are sterile.
#3) Beefalo (Cattle + American Bison)
Keeping it in the bovine family, say hello to the beefalo. The fertile hybrid of a male cow and a female American Bison, produced in managed breeding programmes, the beefalo was created in order to combine the best characteristics of the two species for beef production.
#4) Sheep-Goat Hybrid (Sheep + Goat)
The offspring of a sheep and a goat tend to be stillborn (let’s all pour one out for the poor sheep-goat hybrid babies), but in 2000 a live hybrid was born in Botswana. It had physical characteristics from both its parents and, while being infertile, had an extremely active libido. It was eventually castrated.
#5) Golar/Pizzly Bear (Polar Bear + Grizzly Bear)
A very rare hybrid, this cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear has occurred both in the wild and in captivity. Research has shown that the two species having the opportunity to mate came about as a result of grizzlies migrating into polar bear territory. Their characteristics draw on both parents.
#6) Blood Parrot Cichlid (Midas cichlid + Redhead cichlid)
First created in Taiwan in 1986, the blood parrot cichlid suffers from various physical deformities. As a result, the breeding of them is viewed as ethically questionable. This is a result of their deformities making it difficult for them to feed and placing them at risk of malnutrition.
#7) Africanised Bee (African Honey Bee + European Honey Bee)
Ah yes, the killer bees. Cue the dramatic music. Originally bred to increase honey production, the Africanised honey bee all but took over South America after escaping quarantine. This wasn’t such a great thing, as it turns out, because this hybrid is particularly defensive of its hives, and aggressive too.
#8) Wolphin (Bottlenose Dolphin + False Killer Whale)
A cross between a male false killer whale and a female common bottlenose dolphin, the wolphin is extremely rare. While fertile, the calves of wolphin in captivity have often died young and been unable to nurse.
#9) Hybrid Iguana (Marine Iguana + Land Iguana)
A male marine iguana crossed with a female land iguana results in a hybrid iguana, this only occurring on the island where the territories of these two species overlap. Driven inland by a severe El Nino in 1997, the marine iguanas bred with the land iguanas, producing these hybrids. The hybrids are capable of eating seaweed while underwater, while also able to climb up cacti.
#10) Cama (Dromedary Camel + Llama)
Like camels, the cama is capable of going long periods of time without water. The cross of a male camel and female llama, the cama was produced to combine the strength and temperament of the camel with the wool production of the llama.