A rare zonkey was born at the Reynosa Zoo in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. The baby zonkey was born on April 21 and his name is Khumba.
Although there are other zonkeys in the world, they are very rare. Zebras and donkeys have a different number of chromosomes. Zebras have between 32 and 46 and donkeys have 62. In spite of this difference, zonkeys can be born if the gene combination in the hybrid allows for embryonic development to birth. Zonkey chromosomes can range between 32 and 62.
The birth of the baby zonkey was celebrated by the zoo and the rest of the world who learned about it on Twitter where photos of the zonkey went viral. Everyone was gushing over the baby zonkey who seems a little shy and prefers to stay close to his mother.
It's a Zonkey!!! Don't ya just want to start thinking up names for the little guy?? How about Pippi? Or Hooker? pic.twitter.com/fKTNu3wy3p
— Mike Charboneau (@mcharboneau) April 26, 2014
Let me catch you up on today's important news. A baby zonkey was born. That's it. There is no other important news pic.twitter.com/DGIhoqHpnr
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) April 26, 2014
Khumba the 'Zonkey' was born in #Mexico. It's so rare because zebra & donkey chromosomes are not compatible! #Today9 pic.twitter.com/XzlvXvizBh
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 25, 2014
This might be the best day ever. A donkey and a zebra mated to produce a Zonkey!! How cool is that?!? Right up there with the popular Liger
— Fronchise (@FronQB9) April 25, 2014
I fricken LOVE the #Zonkey he looks like he is rocking thigh highs! #highfashion pic.twitter.com/LA3H4eLjhS
— Bronagh (@BronaghMcN) April 25, 2014
When any other type of equine animal is mixed with a zebra, the offspring is called a zebroid. The zebroids are then categorized by the type of animals they are crossed with. Offspring from zebras and horses are called zorses, offspring from zebras and ponies are called zonies and offspring from zebras and donkeys are called zonkeys.
Like other hybrid animals, zonkeys cannot reproduce. Most zonkeys will look like both parents and will have stripes on part but not all of their body. Baby Khumba has stripes on his legs and could develop more when he grows older. Most zebroids will have stripes on their legs, hind quarters and neck.
Although zonkeys are rare, Khumba is not the only one alive. In 2005, a zonkey named Alex was born in Barbados. Another zonkey named Ippo was born in Italy in 2013.
What do you think of baby Khumba?
Image via Wikimedia Commons