What is a hybrid animal?

A hybrid animals is the offspring of two closely related individuals, not of the same species.  They are also known as cross breeds.  An area where two closely related species continue to interact and reproduce, forming hybrids, is called a hybrid zone.  Over time, the hybrid zone may change depending on the fitness of the hybrids and the reproductive barriers.  If the hybrids are less fit than the parents, reinforcement of speciation occurs, and the species continue to diverge until they can no longer mate and produce viable offspring.  If reproductive barriers weaken, fusion occurs and the two species become one. Although some hybrids like the liger exist only in captivity, because the habitats of its parent species do not overlap in the wild.

A liger…It’s pretty much my favourite animal. It’s like a lion and tiger mixed – Bred for its skills in magic.

The offspring of crossbred animals share traits from both parents. The liger is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger.  It looks like a lion with faint tiger stripes.  This is the result from them having two copies of genes. The X chromosomes come from the male lion, whereas the Y chromosomes come from the female tiger.

Facts About The Liger:

  • Hercules is the name of the largest non-obese liger, who is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest living cat on Earth, He weighs 418.2 kg (922 lb)
  • The tiger is often required to have a C-section when giving birth to a liger, because the of the cubs large size.
  • A liger can run with a speed up to 80kmh.

It is fun to think of animal hybrids as the PB & J of nature.  You take a little bit of one thing and combine it with a little bit of another, and voilà!  You are left an with an end product that is more interesting.  But hybridization isn’t always as glorious as it may seem.

Hybrid animals tend to have reproductive, health or behavioral issues due to their unique genetics.  Some issues are:

  • Unable to produce viable offspring.
  • Prone to health problems and birth defects.
  • Short lifespan.
  • Unpredictable behaviour and dangerously aggressive.

Many hybrids are bred in captivity, intentionally.  This leaves me thinking, is it ethical to breed a hybrid animal even though there is high risks involved?  I personally think not, animals should not be put through suffering for our entertainment.  As someone who is an avid animal lover, I decided to write about hybrid animals since I was interested in furthering my knowledge about these unique specimens.  I learnt that although they are very cool, the life of a hybrid animal isn’t an easy one.

This is why we should be thankful not all animals can cross breed. Yikes.