7 Hybrid Animals That Sound Fake But Are Actually Real

If you’ve never seen a zebroid before, you might think your eyes are deceiving you. But the part zebra, part equine animal isn’t something out of a sci-fi film. Zebroids are hybrid animals, a cross between two species.

Read on to learn more about animal hybrids, including a list of unique hybrids you may not have heard of before.


What Is a Hybrid Animal?

Hybrid animals, also called crossbreeds, are the offspring of two different or closely related species. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations:

These hybrids can occur naturally, but they can also be the result of artificial insemination. Research shows that hybridization may be quite the rare occurrence, at about 1 percent frequency. However, some researchers have estimated frequencies as high as 10 percent.


Can Hybrid Animals Reproduce?

While some hybrid pairings result in fertile offspring, crossbreeds usually cannot reproduce. The parent species may not have the same genetic makeup, meaning the offspring’s chromosomes may not match up, leaving them infertile.


1. Grolar Bear or Pizzly Bear

Grolar bears are a mix of male grizzly bears and female polar bears. Pizzly bears come from a male polar bear and a female grizzly bear. Typically, these two species do not live in the same environment, but climate change has altered that. Grolar and pizzly bears are capable of having hybrid offspring.


2. Hinny or Mule

A hinny is the result of breeding between a female donkey and a male horse. When a male donkey and a female horse mate, the resulting animal hybrid is a mule.


3. Jaglion or Liguar

Jaglions are the offspring of a male jaguar and female lion. Liguars are — you guessed it — the result of a female jaguar and a male lion breeding. There was an instance of jaglion cubs being born in captivity in 2006, but unaltered images of the crossbreed are so rare that we were unable to find a photo for this article.


3. Leopon

Leopon are the offspring of a male leopard and female lion. They are part of the Panthera hybrid, which is a cross between any two Panthera species, which includes jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, lion and tiger. Again, leopons are exceptionally rare, so we were unable to find an image.


4. Liger or Tigon

A cross between male lion and a female tiger, a liger does not occur naturally since the two animals do not share the same habitat. A tigon is the result of a male tiger and a female lion mating.


5. Savannah Cat

Savannah cats are hybrid cats, a mix of an African serval and a domestic cat. These playful cats have long legs, a holdover from their African serval heritage.


6. Wholphin

Wholphins are the result of a male false killer whale mating with a female bottlenose dolphin. Both false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins belong to the dolphin family.

While scientists don’t have a deep understanding of false killer whales’ social relationships, they do know that they develop friendships with bottlenose dolphins.


7. Zonkey or Zebadonk

Zonkeys are a cross between a male zebra and female donkey. A zebadonk is a hybrid species bred from a male donkey and female zebra. Both donkeys and zebras belong to the horse family.

Humans, or Homo sapiens, also bred with other members of the hominin species. Michael Hammer, a professor and research scientist at the University of Arizona, led a study that confirmed as much. “We found evidence for hybridization between modern humans and archaic forms in Africa,” he said. “It looks like our lineage has always exchanged genes with their more morphologically divered neighbors.” Some ancestry tests can actually tell you how much neanderthal DNA you have.

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