Hybrid Animal Names: Zedonks, Ligers, Beefalos, And More

Zedonk. Yes, this is for real. “The offspring of a zebra and a donkey.” Prepare yourself for an even larger dose of absurdity: there are plenty more zany names for unlikely crossbreeds, and we’ve collected a nonsensical herd of them.

We don’t know if the baby zedonk, born in the state of Georgia about a week ago, has a name, but an Associated Press report notes that “donkeys and zebras don’t usually mate, but zedonks turn up occasionally.”

A zebrula is “the offspring of a female horse and a male zebra.” A male horse and a female zebra? That’s a zebrinny. Any horse/donkey plus zebra hybrid is generally termed a zebroid. That’s less silly than zonkey, don’t you think?

When a donkey and a zebra become proud parents, their offspring is a hybrid, or crossbreed. Some biology sources define a hybrid as the product of two different species regardless of their biological kinship, whereas a crossbreed is the progeny of two animals within the same genus. The terms are often used interchangeably. Hybrids tend to be sterile, which may explain why we don’t have the pleasure of seeing huge herds of zedonks roaming the plains.

The most common hybrid is the good old mule, “the sterile offspring of a female horse and a male donkey.” A crossbreed that may romp in your home is the labradoodle (Labrador retriever plus poodle), or pretty much any mutt that curls up at your feet.

[Random bonus question: what is the name of the mythological creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion? Here’s the answer. What about the monster with a man’s head, horns, a lion’s body, and the tail of a dragon” The answer.]

Something you probably don’t see every day is a liger (father is a lion, mother is a tiger) or a tiglon (the opposite of the liger.) A cama is the “offspring of a camel and a llama.” A goat-sheep mix in 2000 was given the colorful name the “Toast of Botswana.” Cow plus yak equals yakow or dzo, depending which species is ma and which is pa. Our pick for the saddest name for a hybrid is the (no, we are not allowed to invent words in the dictionary simply for your amusement) beefalo, a genetically-modified chimera that is around three-eigths buffalo and the rest cow. Apparently their tastiness is only rivalled by their silliness.

Curious about the names of other crossbreeds? Weigh in below, and we’ll do our best to give you an answer. Or, if you know the wacky name for a wacky hybrid, please share.

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