For centuries, people have been interested in the profound effects of selective breeding. Whether it be for sport, utility, or fun, selective breeding has always been a hot topic of debate amongst its supporters and detractors. Sure, the use of selective breeding can bring about desirable changes in a species, but at what cost?
It wasn’t until the late 1980s when the hybridization of animals became a popular topic. For example, if you grew up in the 1990s, you’re probably pretty familiar with the Nickelodeon TV show, Catdog. While it may have just been a cartoon, the idea of mating two of the world’s most domesticated animals has always attracted the scientific community. More recently, the Liger became incredibly popular after the release of Napoleon Dynamite. While some may have thought the mating of a lion and a tiger could have never happened, you will see on our list that it is in fact a real animal.
As cute and awesome as hybrid animals can be, they can also be downright scary. The world has enough problems as it is, we don’t need the following animals to make our lives any more difficult, do we? Although you won’t be finding a Shug on this list (and we know a part of you was secretly hoping you would), it’s pretty amazing that some of these animals are actually out there.
13. Wholphin (False Killer Whale+Bottlenose Dolphin)
If you’ve ever swam with dolphins before, you know how awesome it can be. But what if the dolphin was part killer whale too? Luckily, the occurrence of wholphins in the wild is very rare. In fact, there haven’t been any recorded cases of wholphins occurring naturally. The first wholphin was developed in a Tokyo zoo but lived just 200 days. The longest living wholphin was born in 1986 at Sea Life Park in Hawaii and is one of just two to be held in captivity. Kekaimalu has given birth several times, although each died because of malnourishment and stunted growth, leading to many to have strong reservations about the hybrid breeding of Wholphins, especially after the hit documentary Blackfish raised so many questions about animal treatment at Sea World.
12. Beefalo (Buffalo+Domestic Cow)
With accidental hybridization of buffalo and cows dating back nearly 300 years, it wasn’t until recently that farmers became interested in intentionally crossing the two breeds. In an effort to combat the rising costs of beef in the United States and around the world, there has been an increasing emphasis placed on beefalo to lead the beef industry out of its current slump. In order to be considered a beefalo, the calf in question must be at least 37% bison, leading to a leaner and healthier type of beef. While that may be good for human consumption, meeting one of these in a field would surely have you running for the hills.
11. Wolfdog (Gray Wolf+Dog)
As you probably already know, all dogs are descendants of wolves. For this reason alone, it isn’t uncommon to find a wolfdog hybrid in North America today, as the US Department of Agriculture estimates there are currently 300,000-500,000 in captivity today. While they may be scattered throughout the US, there are many humane societies that consider these hybrids to be wild animals. Because of the animalistic nature of their DNA, wolfdogs are often taken to kill shelters when owners are found in violation, mainly because authorities do not want them to be bred again. Wolfdog behavior can be at times very similar to any other dogs’, yet at the same time there is a constant threat of the animal acting as a wolf, leading many to highly advise against owning one.
10. Leopon (Leopard+Lioness)
Another animal that is unlikely to occur naturally is the Leopon, the breeding of a male leopard and a female lion. The first one in recorded history dates back to 1910 in India, although they have been bred in zoos for over a century. The most successful program originated in Japan, where two litters were bred but only a few were able to survive to adulthood. Leopons have the head of their lioness mother, yet the body and gait of their leopard father. More often than not, they are larger and more agile than both of their parents, making this one scary predator if it were to get out of its cage.
9. Iron Age Pig (Wild Boar+Domestic Pig)
These things are terrifying, especially if you live in the southern half of the United States. Throughout the region, homeowners are aware of the damage feral hogs can do to their crops, gardens, and livestock, but what about the Iron Age Pig? For one, they get their name from the resemblance they have to pigs throughout Europe hundreds of years ago. Bred for a specific cut of meat, theses suckers are bigger and much more aggressive than any domestic pig you will encounter; which can be a scary sight if they start to breed on their own in the wild.
8. Blood Parrot (Red Devil+Severum)
I have to admit, the only thing that is scary about this hybrid is the names of its parents and the ethics behind its breeding. Anything that says “red devil” is enough to make you want to do a double take, especially if it is a fish. Ethically, the hybridization of the blood parrot has come under fire because of various abnormalities, such as a smaller mouth and vertical opening of the mouth which can lead to malnutrition. They are also known to have been injected with dye from breeders to make their colors stand out, a practice that has many up in arms.
7. Yai (Saltwater+Siamese Crocodile)
Crocodiles are downright nasty. With their prehistoric scales, chomping teeth, and powerful jaws, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near them during feeding time. As with other species of animals, those that are kept captive are usually much larger and healthier than those left in the wild. It just so happens that the largest captive crocodile in history was a mix between a Saltwater and Siamese croc. Yai, was measured to be 20 feet long and weighed in at over 1,200kg in 2000. Measuring more than a foot longer than the largest saltwater croc, Yai is a perfect example of how menacing some hybrids can become.
6. St. Basset Hound (St. Bernard+Basset Hound)
This canis hybrid is just downright rude. On one hand, you have a St. Bernard; weighing in well over 120 pounds and capable of spending an entire winter in snow up to its shoulders. On the other hand, you have a basset hound, weighing in at just 40 pounds and standing 12 inches high. Hybrid dogs are becoming more popular by the day, but at what cost? It’s scary to see how far some “breeders” will go to make a quick buck, as the St. Basset Hound can be bought for upwards of $2,000 (shipping not included)!
5. Killer Bees (African Honey Bee+European/Western Honey Bees)
When thinking of killer bees, think of the typical bee you would find in the northern half of North America. Yes, they sting, but they provide tons of honey. Now, think of that bee on steroids and you will have the Africanized Honey Bee (otherwise known as killer bees). While they can produce much more honey, they are also much more aggressive in nature and are known to attack in larger numbers than their honeybee cousins. This has led to public outcry over their expansion throughout the US and Latin America. If you do stir them up, good luck; Africanized bee colonies have been said to attack from up to a quarter mile away from their hive.
4. Cuban Crocodiles+American Crocodiles
When it comes to endangered species, Cuban crocodiles are a breed that goes widely unnoticed by the public. With steadily declining numbers, it has become a pressing issue that the Cuban crocs are now being mated with by the plentiful American crocs of the Middle Americas. By doing so, scientists believe that the Cuban crocs are losing their genetic makeup and will eventually evolve into the ever popular American crocodile.
3. Savannah Cat (Serval+Domestic Cat)
If you don’t know, a Serval is a medium sized cat found in Africa that had many trying to domesticate it by the end of the 1990s. The breeding of a Serval and domestic house cat was done in the mid-1980s and resulted in the Savannah Cat becoming an official breed by 2001. What’s scary about the Savannah Cat is not that it will attack; in fact, it is eerily similar to a dog in its behaviors. They show tremendous amounts of loyalty to their owners and have been taught to walk on a leash and play fetch, yet they are known to jump at least 8 feet in the air standing still. Think of a dog stuck in a cat’s body and you now have a Savannah Cat.
2. Grolar Bear (Grizzly Bear+Polar Bear)
Think there is no way a polar bear and grizzly bear could ever procreate? Think again. While it has been extremely rare, there have been several cases in which naturally occurring grolar bears have been found in the wild. There have only been three sightings of a natural grolar bear in the past, but the most recent and best documented case came in 2010 after the first ever second generation grolar bear was found. Because of house close polar bears and grizzly bears are genetically, grolar bears are usually a perfect combination of both sides’ traits.
1. Liger (Lion+Tiger)
Yes, the famous mythical creature from Napoleon Dynamite is in fact real, and it’s pretty flippin’ awesome. Ligers are the mix of a male lion and a tigress and can only be found in captivity. While they have been around for centuries, there have only been a few reported cases of ligers living to full adulthood throughout Asia. Ligers are often much larger than either parent, dubbing them the largest cat in the world as they can reach up to 10 feet in length and tip the scales at over 1,000 pounds!