Meet the animal hybrids who like to mix it up
Now that we’ve heard about the geep, what other animal hybrids are out there?
It’s a cross between a goat and a Cheviot ewe and it’s the toast of Ballymore Eustace this week. When a wily goat was spotted getting close to his sheep flock, farmer and publican Paddy Murphy didn’t think there was any risk that it could successfully mate with a sheep.
Five months later, he was proved wrong and a little geep is now gambolling around the fields of Kildare.
Although goats and sheep often graze together, crosses are seldom successful, with offspring usually stillborn.
Of course the geep is not the only hybrid animal out there.The best known is the mule, a donkey-horse hybrid.
Zebras seem to be quite promiscuous when it comes to cross-breeding and have no qualms about mating with horses, donkeys and asses. Their offspring are known as zebroids. The zorse is the progeny of a zebra stallion and female horse.
They retain their stripes when crossed and tend to retain the aggressive temperament of a zebra, but they are shaped more like a horse.
Male zebras have also been crossed with female Shetland ponies, resulting in offspring that have been dubbed Zetlands.
Because polar bears and grizzlies live in very different habitats, the chances of any romantic dalliances between them are unlikely. However, in 2006 a hunter in Canada’s Northwest Territories found and shot a grizzly-polar bear hybrid, believing it was a normal polar bear.
A liger is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. According to the Guinness Book of Records , the world’s largest living cat is Hercules, an adult liger living at Myrtle Beach Safari, a wildlife reserve in South Carolina in the United States.
And then there are the coydogs, a cross between a male coyote and a female dog. They are thought to be dangerous because of their cunning combined with their lack of fear of humans.
But don’t forget the camas, the result of a cross between a female llama and male camel. The first one was bred in Dubai by a British scientist and named – what else – Rama the cama. The cama doesn’t have a hump and has the long fluffy coat of a llama.
In 1985, Punahele, a female dolphin at Hawaii Sea Life Park, gave birth to a whale dolphin hybrid after her eyes met with a false killer whale across a crowded tank. Wholphins were introduced to the world and according to Sea Life Park’s website, that baby wholphin, Kekaimalu, is still entertaining visitors.
And then of course you have the labradoodles, cockapoos and all the other crosses between different breeds of dogs.
But that’s a whole other article.