Hybrid Animals Never Would In The Wild But They Exist

It turns out that the animal kingdom is a lot more mixed-up than we thought.

11. Mulard

The mulard or moulard (a mixture of a mallard duck and a muscovy duck) is a commercially produced domestic duck hybrid, farmed for foie gras and lean meat. Mulards are sterile, hence the nickname “mule ducks.” It’s possible to produce mulards naturally but artificial insemination tends to be more successful. Instagram user @braetgaarden likes to share photos of her mulards.


12. Dzo

Dzo is one of many names for a hybrid of yak and domestic cattle, a common livestock animal in Tibet. It technically refers to the male hybrid, while dzomo or zhom is used for the female. (In Mongolia it is called a khainag.) The dzo is larger and stronger than cattle or yak, and in Mongolia and Tibet it is believed to be more productive in terms of both milk and meat.

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13. Wolfdog

When a wolf and a dog mate, the offspring is called a wolfdog, which may also be called a wolf–dog hybrid or wolf hybrid. (The American Veterinary Medical Association and the United States Department of Agriculture both use the term wolf-dog hybrid.) Rescue organizations consider any dog with wolf heritage within the last five generations to be a wolfdog, including some established wolfdog breeds, such as the Czechoslovakian wolfdog and the Saarloos wolfdog. Because wolfdogs are genetic mixtures of wolves and dogs, their physical and behavioral characteristics are unpredictable.

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14. Bengal Cat

The Bengal cat, a wildcat hybrid, began in the United States in 1963, when the geneticist Jean Mill crossed a domestic cat with the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis, which is native to South Asia. The Bengal is typically confident and friendly and has a bright orange or light brown coat with “wild” markings, as can be seen on Caesar, a 4-year-old Bengal cat from the Netherlands who has his own Instagram page.

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15. Blood Parrot Cichlid

The blood parrot cichlid is a hybrid of the Midas, a large cichlid fish found in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and the redhead cichlid. Also known as parrot cichlid or bloody parrot, this fish hybrid suffers from various anatomical deformities, such as an unnaturally round body shape and a very small mouth opening that makes malnutrition a risk. Despite being one of the most controversial man-made fish hybrids, it is also one of the most popular additions to domestic aquariums.

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16. Beefalo

Beefalo are fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle (typically male) and American bison (typically female) in managed breeding programs. These species were accidentally crossed for the first time in North America in the mid-1700s, and by 1880, scientists were deliberately engineering the specimen to boost beef production. According to the American Beefalo Association, “crossbreeds are hardier, are more economical (and less care-intensive) to nurture, and produce meat that’s superior to that of the common cow.”

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17. Liger

When a male lion mates with a tigress, the result is a liger (or several of them). Today, ligers only exist in captivity, since the paths of their parental species don’t cross in the wild, but it may not always have been that way. In 2014, these two liger cubs were born at Jungle Island in Miami, Florida, the offspring of a royal white Bengal tiger named Saraswati and an African white lion named Ivory.

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18. Litigon

A litigon or tigon is the opposite of a liger: a hybrid cross between a male tiger and a female lion. And when a male lion and a female tigon mate, their offspring is called a litigon. In 2017, a safari zoo in Haikou, China, showed off two litigons born from a 6-year-old tigon on June 24, 2016. A total of 11 ligers and six tigons were born at the zoo between 2005 and 2011.

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19. Wholphin

A wholphin (or wolphin) is a rare hybrid, the offspring of a female bottlenose dolphin with a male false killer whale. Although the name suggests a dolphin/whale hybrid, both parents are within the “oceanic dolphin” family and the “toothed whale” suborder. There may only be one wholphin in captivity: Kekaimalu, pictured here with marine mammal trainer Emmalee Speer at Sea Life Park in Hawaii.

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