Our editors have created a list about the top 10 hybrid animals. Hybrid animals are cross-breds between animals of similar genetics. They mostly exist in captivity and are the result of human intervention.
Though they are fascinating animals, they get the last of the list because they are the most popular known among the hybrids. Ligers are crossbreeds between a male lion while Tigons are crossbreds between a male tiger and a female lion. Ligers are the world’s largest cats. Tigons on the other hand, are prone towards dwarfism and are usually smaller than either of their parents. Male Ligers/Tigons are sterile while the females are often fertile. Below shows a liger and its trainer Dr. Bhagavan Antle at a Renaissance Festival in Massachusetts, USA, October 2005.
9. Wolf Dog
Dogs and wolves tend to crossbreed rather freely. The wolf is a shy animal depending on nuances in body language, facial expression and on hunting skills to survive. Their jaws are much stronger than those of a dog and are often used to exert dominance. For a dog wolf hybrid, it is not known when it will display a wolf behaviour or dog behaviour or something in between. Obedience training is a must in order to tame the animal.
8. Iron Age Pig
Domestic Tamworth pigs are crossbred with wild boar to create ‘Iron Age Pigs’. The hybrids are tamer than wild boar but less tractable than domestic swine and generally become specialist pork sausages. Most of them are bred for the specialist meat trade.
A zorse is the result of crossbreeding a horse and a zebra. A zonkey is the result of crossbreeding a donkey with a zebra. The Zony is the result of crossbreeding a pony to a zebra. All these three are called zebroids – defined as a cross between a zebra and any other equid. Zebroids are preferred over zebra for practical uses such as riding because of its body shape. However it is more inclined to be temperamental and can prove to be difficult to handle.
A Cama is a hybrid between a camel and a llama. They are born via artificial insemination due to the huge difference in sizes of the animals which disallow natural breeding. A Cama usually has the short ears and long tails of a camel but the cloven hooves of a llama. Also most noticeably is the absence of the hump.
Rama’s parents shown behind, a camel and llama.
This is Rama the Cama at two days old.
Rama at two years of age as a young adult.
5. Grolar, Pizzly
A grolar/pizzly hybrid is the product of a grizzly bear and a polar bear. Although the two bears are genetically similar, they tend to avoid each other in the wild. During 16 April 2006, a hybrid bear was shot dead by Jim Martell,a hunter from the United States, in Canada. It was the first time a hybrid was found in the wild where previous records of grolars or pizzlies have only been found in zoos.
A grolar, pizzly displayed at the Rothschild Museum, Tring, copyright Sarah Hartwell
A Leopon is the result of breeding a male leopard and a female lion. The head of the animal is similar to that of a lion while the rest of the bodies carries similarities to leopards. The most successful breeding programme was at the Koshien Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya City, Japan. Leopons are larger than leopards and likes to climb and enjoy water.
A leopon at a zoo.
3. Hybrid Pheasant
The Golden Phesant has commonly been crossed with the similar Lady Amherst’s Pheasant. The result is a hybrid with distinguished colors from its parents.
A Golden Pheasant
A Lady Amherst Pheasant
A wolphin is a rare hybrid formed from a cross between a bottlenose dolphin and a false killer whale. There are currently only two in captivity at the Sea Life Park in Hawaii. A wolphin’s size, colour and shape are intermediate between the parent species. The first captive wolphin was Kekaimalu, which shows mixed heritage even in its teeth: bottlenose dolphins have 88, false killer whales have 44 and Kekaimalu has 66!
Kekaimalu, The Wolphin
1. Ti-Liger, Ti-Tigon, Li-Tigon, Li-Liger
The top spot goes to ti-ligers/ti-tigon/li-tigons/li-ligers because it is a hybrid among the hybrids. It is a cross breed between a male tiger and a female liger/tigon or a male lion with a female tigon/liger. Do note that female ligers or tigons are fertile. They are extremely rare and are in mostly private ownership within a behavioural studies programme. In the case of ti-ligers, they have unusual striping where it breaks up and display a blotchy appearance. Since they are 3/4 tiger, their characteristics inhibit more of those of a tiger than a lion.