Is it a “Zonkey” or a “Debra”?
A Zonkey (half-donkey half-zebra ) was born on April 21 at the Reynosa Zoo in Mexico. The baby zonkey, named Khumba, is considered special because the chromosomes of donkeys and zebras are not as a rule compatible. Therefore, a birth such as this doesn’t happen all the time.
An additional oddity to this Zonkey tale is the fact that Khumba’s father is a dwarf donkey. Experts can offer no scientific explanation as to how a donkey would be able to impregnate a zebra. Khumba is, nonetheless, not the only one of his kind. In fact, in Italy there is a zonkey named Ippo. There is also a zonkey or two in the United States, Japan, China and Barbados.
The zonkey is part of a larger group called zebroids. A zebroid is a cross between a zebra and any other equine animal. Zebroids are further classified by the specific type of animal with which the zebra has mated. For example, the offspring of zebras and horses are called zorses, the offspring of zebras and ponies are called zonies and finally the offspring of zebras and donkeys are called zonkeys.
Khumba, like all other zonkeys is a hybrid animal. Hybrids cannot reproduce. Zonkeys generally look like both of their parents. They have stripes but not over their entire bodies. Khumba only has stripes on his legs although he could possibly develop additional stripes as he grows. Zebroids usually have stripes on their neck, hind quarters and legs.
Khumba is not the only mixed breed animal. They are born on a regular basis across the globe. Witness such creatures as ligers, a cross between a lion and tiger or the mule which is a mix of both a donkey and a horse. So while Khumba might be an only child he is far from alone in the world.