If you've ever wondered what a baby between a zebra and a donkey would look like, a farm in England now has the answer. Zippy, the zonkey is shown in the images below.
A zebra-donkey crossbreed was born in Somerset, England. The cross is super rare and is often referred to as a "zonkey."
The male zonkey was born on October 2, 2018, on Kristine Turner's 55-acre farm in South Barrow, Somerset. His six-year-old zebra mother, Ziggy, shares a paddock with nine donkeys including his dad Rag.
Zippy is Britain's second zonkey. The only other zonkey in Britain is Zambi and she resides in a donkey sanctuary in Shropshire.
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According to Turner, Zippy's birth had been a complete surprise. She says they did not even know his mum was pregnant and they only found out after Zippy was already born.
She said, "Last month I opened my bedroom curtains, which look onto the farm, and I just saw this little foal sitting up staring my way."
Ziggy had always been a bit chubby, so no one noticed her getting bigger during her pregnancy. Zippy is an unexpected miracle, and his mum is extremely protective of him.
She never lets him out of her sight. He is a lively foal with tons of personality according to Turner. He has a donkey upper body with stripy legs, as expected with zonkey hybrids.
Donkey and zebra hybrids are extremely rare because they are genetically not competent. Zebras and donkeys do not have the same number of chromosomes.
A donkey has 62 chromosomes while a zebra has between 32 and 46 chromosomes. The chances of conceiving depend on whether or not the gene combination can facilitate embryonic development. Thus the low probability of an offspring being born.
Even though they're rare, zonkey's have been documented well into the history of farming. Charles Darwin even wrote about their existence in the "Origins of Species" in 1859.
Unfortunately, when crossbreeding, the female offspring are usually sterile. Male offspring are also rarely fertile.
Zonkeys are not the only hybrids out there. It is well known for Zebras to mate with other equine species including horses.