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 species 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 it's a man-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.
If you’ve watched the film Napoleon Dynamite you 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 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.
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.
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.
The hinny is related to the mule, but is a bit of a rarer hybrid, and belong to the equidae family. Mules are a crossed of 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 invitro 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.