Thursday, June 28, 2007
June 28, 2007
It looks as if someone tried to give a zebra a respray. . . then ran out of white paint halfway through the job.
But in reality there is no artificial coloring on display here. This amazing but natural coat belongs to Eclyse the zorse.
Her father is a zebra, while her mother is a horse. And she's walking proof of how a child inherits genes from both parents.
For while most zebra-horse crossbreeds sport stripes across their entire body, Eclyse only has two such patches, on its face and rear.
The one-year-old zorse was the accidental product of a holiday romance when her mother, Eclipse, was taken from her German safari park home to a ranch in Italy for a brief spell.
There she was able to roam freely with other horses and a number of zebras, including one called Ulysses who took a fancy to her.
When Eclipse returned home, she surprised her keepers by giving birth to the baby zorse whose mixed markings betray her colorful parentage.
The foal was promptly given a name that is in itself a hybrid, of her parents' names.
Now she's become a major attraction at a safari park at Schloss Holte Stukenbrock, near the German border with Holland, where she has her own enclosure.
Udo Richter, spokesman for the park, said, "You can tell she is a mix just by looking at her. But in temperament she can also exhibit characteristics from each parent.
"She is usually relatively tame like a horse but occasionally shows the fiery temperament of a zebra, leaping around like one."
Horses and zebras are often crossbred in Africa and are used as trekking animals on Mount Kenya.