When two animals of a different species mate, they are usually too genetically different to produce an offspring. If the two species are genetically similar, they may be able to produce a hybrid offspring, such as when a horse and a donkey breed and create a mule.Continue Reading
Interspecies mating is well-documented and not uncommon, with examples being found throughout the world. For example, when a zebra breeds with a horse, it produces a "zorse," and when a lion breeds with a tiger, it produces a liger (if the lion is male) or a tigon (if the lion is female). Most interspecies offspring are infertile and unable to continue their lineage, but a "wholphin," a mix between a dolphin and a killer wale, born in 1985 at Sea Life Park Oahu, Hawaii was able to give birth to a calf in 2004.
Interspecies mating occurs even when there is no possibility of an offspring. On Marion Island, a remote nature reserve in the Southern Indian Ocean, an Antarctic fur seal was observed trying to mate with a king penguin. This phenomenon is known as misdirected mating and has also been observed in sea lions, sea otters, and many species of bird, insect and fish.Learn more about Animal Reproduction