From Ligers to Zonkeys: 20 Rare Hybrid Animals You Never Knew Existed

Hyrbied animals

Unexpected combos can throw up great results, like peanut butter and jam, and salad cream and fries, but then there’s those mash ups that are just a straight out no – sardine ice cream anyone? When it comes to the animal world and uniqueness though, too much is almost never enough. After all, how can you have too many Ligers, Grolar Bears, or Beefalos?

From Zebroids to Geep, through to Beefalos and Wholphins, we’ve got you covered for quirky creature concoctions with our top 20 of the most bizarre animal hybrids that actually exist.

These curious crosses are irresistibly fascinating, from the stunning Savannah cat, with its penchant for swimming and playful, friendly attitude to the ultra-rare Jaglion, with its eye-catching dark spotted coat. Don’t forget to check out the majestic Leopon, with its lion-like head and leopard body, or the Zonkey with its cute striped legs and adorable donkey’s face!

Oh, and did you know Tigons and Ligers can actually reproduce together and that African Killer Bee swarms are commonly found in the US? We know there’s a whole lot of hybrid hoaxes out there, but we promise every entry on our list is bona fide. Read on for more mind-blowing facts about the quirky animal mixes you never expected, but are definitely going to love…

1. Cama (Camel + Llama)

Cama, hybrid animal

Llamas make us go awww and camels are notorious for spitting but what happens when you cross the two together? Well, as there are now 5 camel/ llama cross breeds in existence in the Arabian desert, the world can benefit from the best of both species.

With the long fluffy coat that Llamas are adored for, and the robust legs and strength of a camel, Camas are much stronger than Llamas but easier to manage than camels. Apparently, they also behave well in a pack too, so they’re totally team players. Bred in Dubai’s reproduction centre, specialists discovered that Camas can only be created by mating a camel dad and Llama mum – as the other way around didn’t produce any successful births.

Cama’s have a peculiar twist – it’s been discovered they have partly cloven feet, which experts think is due to a blend of the camel’s soft pad and the fully cloven hooves of the Llama. We know that you’re probably wondering one thing though, do they have the hump the camel is famed for? Sadly, they don’t but we bet they have the camel’s famous temper if crossed, and as experts predict they’ll live to a ripe old age, we’ll likely all get to find out.

2. Hinny (Female Donkey + Male Horse)

Hinny, hybrid animal

Have you ever heard of a Hinny? No, it’s not some kind of peculiar love bite, it’s actually a cross between a stallion and a female donkey and they’re incredibly hard to breed. Not only are female donkeys and stallions incredibly picky about their mating partners, but two breeds have 2 completely different chromosomes, which means the chances of a successful pairing are slim.

Hinnys are commonly known as Jennets, while Male Hinnys are also often known as Horse Hinnys, and female versions of the species are sometimes called Mare Hinnys. Hinnys have a thick mane and strong legs, and their heads closely resemble horses, but they are noted for their shorter ears. When it comes to overall size, Hinny’s can vary dramatically but they can only be as large as the biggest donkey breed. Experts believe this is because the female parent is the one who passes on this trait, and as she is a donkey, her womb is smaller than a female horse.

In theory, a Hinny could be as small as a miniature donkey, which makes us go awwww. It’s actually a lot easier to breed smaller Hinnys than it is to produce larger ones, as to do so the female donkey needs to be a Mammoth Jenny, which are incredibly hard to come by. Hinnys are thought to be completely unable to reproduce, and though there have been claims this has happened, no one’s been able to provide any credible proof. Thanks to selective breeding though, the world can wonder at these equine marvels, and we hope more will be produced for many years to come.

3. Beefalo (Buffalo + Cow)

Beefalo, hybrid animal

A cross between bison and domestic cattle, beefalos were originally created to improve the quality of beef, and their meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than that of typical cattle. Though Beefalo are usually the result of a managed breeding program, accidental crosses were spotted in the Southern states of North America as far back as 1749. Beefalos are usually the offspring of a female bison and a male bull, but to be considered a full hybrid, they have to have 37.5% bison genetics, otherwise they are dubbed a bison hybrid.

They have been known to go rogue – one infamous account that hit the news involved a Beefalo named Buddy, who escaped from a meat processing plant in Connecticut. A statewide beefalo hunt ensued, with Buddy popping up on wildlife cameras all around Western Connecticut. People even helped the fugitive by feeding him while he was on the run!

Buddy was eventually apprehended on a farm, chilling with some female cattle. He’d been destined for the slaughterhouse, but when he escaped, people raised over $10,000 dollars for him, so authorities changed their mind. After a full medical exam, Buddy now spends the rest of his days kicking back on the Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Florida, where there are 4,000 acres for him to roam free. We applaud Buddy’s bravery and are glad this fugitive from the law secured his transfer to a luxury retirement home.

4. Africanized Bee

Africanized Bees

Did you know there are hybrid killer bees that can chase you for more than a quarter of a mile? The Africanized Bee is a dangerous stinging insect that first appeared back in the 1950s, when local Brazilian Honeybees mated with Southern African Bees.

The species was originally quarantined, but several swarms escaped and spread through South and Central America, winding up in California by 1985. By the time the 1990’s rolled around, permanent colonies of Africanized Killer Bees had migrated from Mexico into Texas – today they can be sighted in a variety of US states, including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Arizona. With their golden yellow and stripey brown bodies, Africanized Bees look almost identical to the domestic honeybee, and it can be hard to tell these predators apart from their more benign brothers. There is one tiny difference though, Africanized Bees bodies tend to be slightly smaller, but you probably wouldn’t notice this minute detail, if one was trying to sting you!

As they have small colonies, they’re able to make nests in bizarre places, like mailboxes, holes in the ground, and even in tires. Because they appear so similar to the ordinary bee, the only real way to know if you have a killer bee issue is to call out a pest control professional. The official advice is, if you live in an area known to be frequented by this species, you should watch out for their nests – do you live anywhere near where these dangerous creatures buzz around?

5. Wholphin (Male False Killer Whale + Female Bottlenose Dolphin)


The Wholphin combo happened wholly by chance, when male false killer whale l’anui Kahei shared a pen with female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Punahele. Because of the sheer size difference between the two creatures, experts thought the pair couldn’t procreate – l’annuie Kahei weighed in at a heft 2,000 lbs, while Punahele’s weight was less than a quarter of that amount, at 400 lbs.

You can imagine that everyone was more than a little surprised when the loved-up couple produced baby Keikamalu, a perfect hybrid of the aquatic duo. It’s not unknown for bottlenose dolphins to swim with false killer whales in the ocean, but no one had ever heard of them mating before.

Keikamalu was the only known surviving Wholphin in the world, until she gave birth to her own Wholphin calf, though sightings of Wholphins have been spotted at sea. This unique lovechild has a head that resembles a false killer whale except for the tip of her nose, which, like her fins, look similar to a dolphin’s. Her colouring is darker than a dolphin’s, making her pretty unique and, as she matched her mother’s size at just 2 years old, it’s a safe bet she takes after her Pa. We just love this super sweet tale of interspecies love, but there is a bit of a twist to the story – though you might think a false killer whale is part of the whale family, they’re actually one of the third largest species of dolphins in the world!

6. Coywolf (Coyote +Wolf)


A one-off cross between a coyote and a wolf, Coywolfs differ from the most other creatures within the hybrid pack, as they can successfully interbreed with any member of the Canis family. Larger than a coyote but smaller than a wolf, their howls are particularly unique, starting out with a deep pitched sound, but then changing into a coyote’s higher pitched yowl. Coywolves are more intelligent than wolves and they socialise better together than pure coyotes, which makes them more pack orientated, smarter, and less aggressive.

Their name might sound like a rare Pokemon character, but Coywolfs are actually fairly common, and they even share 10% of their DNA with regular domestic dogs – a throwback from when coyotes interbred with them back in the 1900’s.

Though they reach sexual maturity later than coyotes do, they can give birth to young – as all the Canis species have genes that are similar, though they are slowly evolving apart. Until their chromosomes diverge significantly though, these stunning wolf/ coyote crosses will keep on giving birth to more baby Coywolfs, and as proof of their fertility, you can find many throughout the US and Canada. These stunning animals aren’t shy and can often be found roaming around urban environments, but they can get aggressive when they feel under threat, so if you do happen to spot one, it’s probably better to admire them from afar.

7. Boar-Pig or The Iron Age Pig

Boar pig, hybrid animalimage: Miguel Tremblay, Wikimedia Commons

A blend of the ordinary domestic pig and the Eurasian wild boar, Boar Pigs aren’t as rare as many other hybrid breeds, and are actually considered pests in numerous areas, particularly in Australia, Brazil, and parts of the US. On the other hand, these interesting creatures are sometimes bred intentionally, especially in Europe, where since the 1980’s, there have been numerous back-breeding projects attempting to recreate the look of an Iron Age Pig. By crossing a boar with a domestic pig, breeders can create an animal that closely resembles the pigs depicted in Iron Ageartwork and their meat is considered a specialty within the European market.

Hybridization has been reported in Australia for a long time, and this stems from when European settlers imported populations of wild boar, which then mated with ordinary pigs. Boar Pigs are purportedly much harder to handle than ordinary domestic pigs and they can get quite aggressive.

You might be wondering how the two species ever meet, apart from when they are intentionally bred of course, since obviously they don’t use Tinder. Pigs have been known to escape their pens, and when on their travels, they sometimes meet (and mate) with their wild boar partners. But Boar Pig crosses can also occur when wild boars go rogue, and there have been several reports of male boars jumping over styles and mating with female sows. Some have been so determined to get to the ladies, they have even gone through electric fences – they do say that faint hearts never won fair maiden!

8. Zebroid (Zebra + Any Other Equine)

Zebroid, hybrid horse

What do you call a creature that looks like a horse, is partially striped, and has a zebra’s bad temper? The answer is a Zebroid of course, and this brilliant breed is created whenever a Zebra mates with any member of the equine family. The most common Zebroid hybrids occur when a male Zebra mates with a horse or donkey mare, and a zebra and a donkey blend is incredibly unusual. One of the most unique things about Zebroids is the sheer variety of their coats, combined with their partially striped colouration. As they take their coat and colour from their horse parent this can range greatly, although of course their stripey parts can only come from their zebra mum or dad!

As zebras differ genetically from donkeys and horses, Zebroids are typically thought to be infertile. Zebras have between 32 -46 chromosomes, while horses have 64 and donkeys 62. Zebroid babies fall somewhere in the middle, carrying around 54 chromosomes max – more than a zebra, but less than a donkey or horse. Zebroids were originally created in Africa, as farmers wanted a breed that would be more resistant to the plague of tsetse flies that carry fatal diseases, like Nagana. Zebras are immune to these diseases, and by pairing them with a horse or donkey mate, farmers were able to produce a creature that could perform the work horses do, without risk.

We think they are awesome just for existing though, so we’re just glad these amazing animals are still being bred. If you’re thinking about riding one, you’ll be pleased to know it’s a much easier feat than attempting to saddle up on a Zebra, as a Zebroid’s horse shaped body makes it far easier to stay on. However, they do have the zebra’s infamous temper, and can become angry, so you’ll probably want to consider this before mounting one.

9. Mulard (Mallard + Muscovy Duck)

Mulard, hybrid animal

A fusion of the Mallard and Muscovy Ducks, the Mulard’s coat can some in a staggering variety of colourations, from the half black half white Pied, to the lilac, chocolate, and blue, though the White variation is the most common.

Muscovy Ducks differ from other ducks, who all trace their lineage back to a Mallard, a fact which makes their hybrid offspring, the Mulard, extra special. Mulards are known for their calm temperament and they’re definitely not slobs, in fact they’re famous for their cleanliness and neatness! Despite the fact they are infertile, Mulards are actually fairly common, especially in France, where they outnumber geese by over 34 million! This is because they are deliberately bred using artificial insemination, though it is possible to breed them naturally as well.

According to breeders, you can only get a Pure Mulard when a male drake is bred with a female domestic duck, known as a Pekin. When it’s the other way around and the drake is a Pekin, the offspring is known as a Hinnie. This beautiful breed has white plumage with a dark spot on their heads, giving them a striking appearance. Mulards have a strong immune systems and they aren’t fussy eaters, but they can be nervy and fearful, so they do require some cosy comfort and a little extra TLC!

10. Rhino Hybrid

rhino, hybrid animal

Did you know the white rhino is the third largest African animal, after the elephant and the hippopotamus? The hybrid white rhinoceros is a cross between the southern and northern white, and it’s being created so there can be more northern white rhinos. As the two breeds are closely related, Italian researchers have been examining a way of producing more of the northern white species, and biologists think they have finally found a way to create babies that carry their genes.

By extracting eggs from two female northern white rhinos and fertilising them with the frozen sperm of a northern white male rhinoceros, biologists plan to give a boost to the numbers of these magnificent creatures. But as the offspring would lack genetic diversity, they want to take things one step further, producing stem cells from frozen northern white tissue and then developing them into eggs and sperm.

We think it’s amazing that you can potentially populate a whole species using the tools and technology we have at our disposal today – particularly one as amazing as the northern white rhinoceros. White rhinos are not technically white, they’re grey coloured but they got their moniker from a mix up over the original Dutch name for wide, “wijde”, which was actually used to describe their mouths. The White Rhino’s mouth is specially designed so they can graze easily on grassy plains, and as the white rhino is a species known for its sedentary behaviour, we’re sure it’s glad for the chance to chill!

11. Narluga (Narwhal + Beluga)


This unique creature is the product of a natural pairing between a Narwhal and a Beluga whale, and as the two species share the same number of chromosomes, wild pairings are not only possible, but they’ve also happened before! Though there have been several sightings by Inuit hunters for some time, the Western world first discovered them when a strange skull was found in Disko Bay, Greenland, in 1990.

As both the Beluga and the Narwhal live in the Arctic, researchers think that a pair bred where the skull was discovered, when they both migrated to the region in the winter. Both the Narwhal and the Beluga share an elongated skull, they do have some differences, particularly when it comes to their appearance. The Narwhal has a shorter, narrower beak, than the Beluga, and the male Narwhal has tusks, while the Beluga has teeth.

Narlugas have grey body colourations, a tail like a Narwhal, and Beluga style fins. Analysis of the discovered skull revealed some interesting revelations about the species – Narlugas have teeth which appear similar to the Narwhal’s tusks and wider, longer skulls than their Beluga parent. Chemical analysis of the Narlugas teeth revealed that they eat a different diet from their fish and squid eating parents, who dive to catch their prey – the Narluga prefers to mine the sea depths with its teeth. Scientists don’t yet know whether Narlugas can give birth to any offspring, but here’s hoping they can, so we can all enjoy some more of this super-fascinating breed.

12. Jaglion (Male Jaguar + Female Lion)


The majestic Jaglion is a cross between a male Jaguar and a Female Lion and the pairing is extremely rare, with the only two known examples living in a wildlife sanctuary in Ontario, Canada. Their story started when two big cats at the sanctuary, Lola, a female Lioness, and a handsome black Jaguar named Diablo, surprised everyone by mating and producing two adorable Jaglion cubs, a girl, Jahzara and a boy called Tsunami.

Jahzara is a Melanistic Jaglion, as she inherited her Dad’s melanism gene, so her coat is dark, but like her baby brother, she still has her mother’s spots. Jaglions inherit the same tuft of hair that their lioness mother has at the end of her tail, but unlike a lion, they can’t grow a magnificent mane. As Lions and Jaguars both belong to the genus Panthera, they are able to mate, but it’s still extraordinarily uncommon. They are normally born into captivity, so they are calmer than either lions or jaguars, and they like to roll around a lot and snuggle up to their siblings.

Lola and Diablo’s story is extra sweet because the pair knew each other since they were small cubs, having arrived at the sanctuary at the same time, when they were small enough to need bottle feeding. As they grew older, they became closer and closer, throwing tantrums whenever anyone tried to separate them. Lola even refused to eat, so eventually, staff gave in, though they tried to keep them apart when she was in heat. We now know that plan obviously failed – but when we see how cute their Jaglion babies are, we can’t say that we’re sorry!

13. Zonkey (Zebra + Donkey)


The adorable zonkey is completely unique as it’s not only super cute, it’s also extremely rare. This is because zebras and donkeys carry a vastly different number of chromosomes – zebras have 44 compared to donkey’s 62. Zebras rarely mate with donkey, but on an animal reserve in Florence, Italy, a Zebra called Martin became so besotted by an Amiata donkey named Giada, that he jumped her enclosure and mated with her!

The result was little Ippo, an amazing mix of the two parents, with cute striped legs and tummy, and a lovable donkey’s face. He has 53 chromosomes, receiving 22 from his dad, and 31 from his mother, so he falls between his two parents. Though Ippo looks sweet and innocent, he isn’t as placid as donkey’s typically are, as he has zebra genes, which means he has a temper. As you can imagine, everyone immediately fell in love with Ippo, and film companies have even called his owners to enquire about making a cartoon of him.

There’s only four Zonkeys in the world, and Ippo is currently the sole existing male, so we completely understand why people are so intrigued. Though most donkey/ zebra combos can’t breed, researchers are still studying whether Ippo will be able to give birth to any offspring – we hope he can, as we’ve fallen in love with the Zonkey’s awesome adorability.

14. Dzo (Cow + Wild Yak)

Dzo, hybrid animal

A male hybrid of yak and domestic cattle, a Dzo is more robust than either a cow or a yak, unlike most hybrids, who tend to be weaker. Found in Tibet and Mongolia, Dzos are known for their prolific milk production, but they also have an extra superpower – they can survive at higher altitudes than either of their parents.

Smaller than yaks but larger than cows, they have shaggy coats and horns, inherited from the yak – but their faces usually resemble that of domestic cattle. They carry heavy loads along the mountainous plains of Tibet and Mongolia, and as they have a stronger, larger lungs than cows but are more agile than purebred yaks, they are expert at navigating the arduous mountain terrain. Dzos are pack animals, so they play well together, as well as with other yaks, and they are easy to herd. However, unlike their female counterparts, the dzomo, a female offspring of a yak and a cow, they are sterile and can’t impregnate a female, so breeders don’t value them much.

Herders prize them for their hardiness in high altitudes, due to their low pulmonary artery pressure, a trait Dzos pick up from their yak parent. Researchers are even studying this unique breed, to see if they can reveal any secrets that may help human hypertension. In Mongolia, Dzos are known as Khainags, while the English term for them is Yakow, taken from a combination of their parents, though this term isn’t very common. We think Dzos sound like pretty awesome animals though, and when they are not helping science, or picking their way along rocky mountain trails, we really hope these hardworking hybrids find the time to chill every now and then.

15. Geep (Goat + Sheep)

Geep (Goat + Sheep)

The Geep is a peculiarly cute chimaera of a Sheep and a Goat, and the mix is extremely rare as the two breeds both belong to a completely different genus within the bovidae family. Sheep belong to the Ova sub-family, while goats belong to the Capra group, and what’s more, the two have a different number of chromosomes, which makes hybrid offspring even more unlikely.

With that said, several Geep births have been recorded around the world, from Jamaica and Malta, to England and the US. One of the most famous Geeps, was born on a farm in Ireland – and when his mother gave birth it became obvious he was a little different to his siblings! Though the new arrival was black, when his mother was white, it wasn’t his colouration that had everyone so surprised, as sheep coats can be throwbacks through the generations. Instead, it was the baby’s long spindly legs, goat like horns, and the fact it moved much faster than a normal lamb, that convinced farmer Paddy Murphy that his ewe had given birth to a Geep.

It’s thought a stray mountain goat mated with the farmer’s sheep, resulting in a cute little baby Geep. Murphy’s Geep is particularly rare, as Geep births involving a female ewe don’t usually survive, whereas with a female goat and a ram they can be more successful. Despite the species barrier, goats are infamous for their high libidos and often pay no attention to the genetic difference, when it comes to mating with sheep. The result is so cute that we’re not complaining, and it’s no wonder that Mr Murphy has had hundreds of new visitors to his farm, who all want to see his unusual, but incredibly adorable, Geep.

16. Grolar Bear (Polar Bear + Brown Bear)

Grolar Bear (Polar Bear + Brown Bear)

The world first learned about the existence of the ultra-rare Grolar when testing was carried out on the DNA of an unusual looking bear found in the Canadian Arctic. Though there have been several reported sightings, there are only 8 confirmed Grolar Bears in the entire world, and all of them are thought to come from the same Mama Bear!

A cross between a polar bear and a brown grizzly bear, Grolar bear cubs are uncommon, because polar and grizzlies have completely different lifestyles. Even though they can be found in neighbouring regions, Polars mate, hunt, and create dens on ocean ice, while brown grizzly bears are notoriously terrestrial.

Grolars have thick white fur, like polar bears, and the long claws, humped back and flattish face of a brown bear – and they often have brown patches around their eyes, nose, and feet. Their bodies are normally smaller than their Polar parent, though they are bigger than a grizzly, but their behaviour often resembles that of a polar bear’s. Scientists observing them found they hurled objects that were given to them to play with, similar to the way a polar bear hurls its prey.

Researchers think the Grolar births are occurring because grizzlies have recently expanded their territory within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. We think the name Grolar is just great, but did you know that it’s only used to describe the offspring of a male grizzly and a female polar bear – when it’s the other way around, the cub is called a Pizzly!

17. Liger (Male Lion + Female Tiger)

Liger, hybrid animal

The world’s largest cat, the Liger belongs to the genus Panthera, and is a super fusion of a Lion and a Tiger. Ligers have the strength and speed of both parents, and are bigger than a lion or a tiger, plus they have enormous teeth that are almost two inches in length. To be considered a Liger, the father must be a lion and the mother a tiger – if the situation is the other way around, the resulting offspring is much smaller, and is called a Tigon.

Ligers don’t appear in the wild, as the behavioural habits of lions and tigers are too dissimilar for the pair to be able to breed, but when they are put together in captivity spontaneous pairings can happen. There are currently about 100 Ligers in existence, and they first started to appear when a 1930’s breeder placed a lion and tiger in the same cage. While they were expected to fight, instead they mated, and a little (or not so little) Liger baby was born!

When it comes to looks, Ligers can take after either of their parents – they might have spots or stripes, or they may have neither. Their coats also vary drastically, from completely white, to golden or brown. As for manes, some male ligers have them, but they’ll never be able to grow one as big as their dads. Ligers can be fertile, but only the females, as male Ligers are completely sterile. They eat a lot, up to 9Kg of meat every day, and fully grown, they weigh more than 300 Kg – that’s a whole lot of Liger to love!

18. Tigon (Male Tiger + Female Lion)

Tigon (Male Tiger + Female Lion)

Tigons are the result of a rendezvous between a female lioness and a male tiger, and they are much smaller than their hybrid counterpart, the Liger. Often, they barely grow bigger than their mother, but they more than make up for this with their temper, as they’re known to be extremely aggressive.

Tigons have dark brown striped coats, and have spots on their face like their Dads, while a lot of them have a small rufflike mane around their neck area. As for behaviour, while lions are social, tigers are typically loners, so what about the Tigons? Well, they actually inherit both traits from their parents, but sometimes, as a result, they can suffer from low mood. And while lions hate the water, Tigons completely differ, they love it, and are impressive swimmers!

Like Ligers, Tigons only appear in captivity, as the wild territories of a lion and tiger rarely overlap. Liger births can occur either through natural pairings, or artificial insemination – and they aren’t that new, they’ve been in existence since the 19th century, first appearing in India. They are much less common than Ligers though, and are extremely genetically fragile, with just a one in 500, 000 chance of survival. Female Tigons can give birth to offspring, including hybrid young conceived with a lion or tiger – did you know that when a male tiger pairs with a female Tigon the result is called a Titigon?

19. Savannah Cat (Domestic Cat + Serval)

Savannah-Cat, hybrid animal

An elegant cross between the domestic feline and a Serval, the Savannah cat is long and lean, with large ears and a long neck. Its coat is short to medium length, and is usually a beautiful golden or tawny coloured, with spots, and partial stripes. The Savannah is about half the weight or less than the Serval, and as a social breed, these stunning creatures get along well with other pets and with children. Savannahs are intelligent, affectionate, friendly, and playful – and they enjoy a LOT of attention from humans. People who have Savannahs as pets have noted they often follow their owners around everywhere and frequently like to bump heads with them! Like most felines, affection is nearly always on their terms though.

Savannahs are a relatively new breed, having been discovered for the first time in the 1980’s, when Pennsylvian breeder Judee Frank’s domestic cat gave birth to a kitten that was fathered by an African Serval. Female Savannahs are fertile – but males have to wait, they can’t sire offspring until they are six generations removed from their Serval parent.

Did you know Savannah’s took their name from the Serval’s natural habitat, the stunning golden plains in Africa? Their love of water most likely stems from their Serval heritage, yet despite their part-wild genetics, these gorgeous cats make lovely companions – and they even love to play fetch!

20. Leopon (Male Leopard + Female Lion)


The fusion of a male leopard and a female lioness, the Leopon is an eye-catching crossbreed, with its leo-like head and leopard-like body. Bred for the first time in mid-19th century India, Leopons have pale coats, while their heads, bellies, and spines display unique brownish spots.

With the leopard’s climbing ability, and the lion’s swimming prowess, this beautiful big cat can grow as big as a lion though their legs are shorter and appear more like a leopard. Male Leopons can grow a mane, though their efforts will never quite reach the majesty of the lion’s and their tails don’t have the same tuft of fur at the end that their lioness mother’s does.

Leopons can live to be between 15-20 years old, which is longer than a lion, who lives to approximately 13 years old, but shorter than leopards, who survive until they are around 23. They are extremely rare, and though some female Leopons can reproduce, most Leopons are sterile, and all male Leopons are completely unable to reproduce. You won’t come across many Leopons in the wild either, though unexpected lion/ leopard pairings have frequently happened in captivity, to the surprise of many breeders. With that being said, there have been several anecdotal reported sightings of wild Leopons in a variety of places throughout Africa, particularly Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. We don’t think you’ll be spotting any while you’re in your local park though, which is a bit of a shame as we think these stunning spotted crosses are a truly one-off mix.

Also Read: 10 Unbelievable Animals You’ve Never Heard of