Zonkey, Born To A Male Zebra, Female Donkey In Italy - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Zonkey, Born To A Male Zebra, Female Donkey In Italy

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A half zebra, half donkey hybrid, named Ippo, was born naturally to a donkey mother a week ago.

The "zonkey" was born in an animal reserve near Florence, Italy. It is the product of old-fashioned natural lust. A male zebra jumped the metal fence and mated with the neighboring donkey female.

The owners of Ippo have already fallen in love with it and say he is not for sale. Ippo's donkey mother has also fallen in love with his striped offspring.

Zonkeys are rare, but hybrids between zebras and donkeys have happened before. In fact, all members of the horse family can interbreed. That's a fact that still battles scientists because different species of the horse family have different number of chromosomes. For example, the donkey has 62 chromosomes, while the zebra has 32 to 46 chromosomes, depending on the species.

Somehow, even with different numbers of chromosomes than their parents, hybrids like the mule or Ippo the zonkey can live healthy, full lives. The only side effect of the chromosome mismatch is that most hybrids can't have their own children.

Many kinds of hybrids have been documented by breeders. Zebroids (a zebra and any other type of horse) have been bred since the days of Charles Darwin. Whereas most people have seen mules (male donkey, female horse offspring), hinnies, which are the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey, also exist.

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