Ligers And Tigons And Lepjags, Oh My!
The article reads as follows:
He looks like something from the prehistoric age or a fantastic creation from Hollywood.
Hercules has the strength of a lion and the speed of a tiger, reaching 50mph. He will also grow a mane like his father, but just a small one, and sports his mother's tiger stripes on his huge body. And when he opens his fearsome mouth he can both roar like a lion and give a purr-like snort like his mother. Not only that, but he likes to swim, a feat unheard of among water-fearing lions.
In the wild it is virtually impossible for lions and tigers to mate. Not only are they enemies likely to kill one another, but most lions are in Africa and most tigers in Asia. But incredible though he is, Hercules is not unique. Ligers have been bred in captivity, deliberately and accidentally, since shortly before World War II. Today there are believed to be a handful of ligers around the world and a similar number of tigons, the product of a tiger father and lion mother. Tigons are smaller than ligers and take on more physical characteristics of the tiger.
There are hundreds of hybrids in the animal world, some common such as the mule - a cross between a female horse and a male donkey - and some more unusual, such as the labradoodle, a mix of labrador and poodle.
Other exotic hybrids include the zeedonk, a cross between a zebra and a donkey; the zorse or zebroid, a zebra/horse cross; and the beefalo, an American bison/ domestic cow cross.
Another rare creature is the wolphin, the offspring of a whale and a dolphin. Back in the big cat world zoos in Japan, Germany and Italy have bred leopons, a male leopard/lioness cross, while Salzburg Zoo in Austria has bred jaguar/leopard hybrids known as lepjags .
Who knows what other crossbreeds them mad scientists will be coming up with next...cobthon (cobra and python mix) anyone?