A recent fad among dog owners entails crossing various breeds of dog to create unique hybrids with adorable names. The labradoodle, morkie, and chiweenie represent a few of these new pedigrees of pooch, but what happens when two completely separate species are mixed, resulting in an entirely avant-garde animal? It may sound like a plot from a B-grade science fiction movie, but the world’s zoos, farms, and houses are teeming with a multitude of maverick mammals.

The extraordinary offspring of a dromedary (one-humped) camel and a llama, the cama was first bred in 1998. The cama was intended to serve as a revolutionary line of pack animals capable of carrying large burdens while remaining wholly obedient to its master. This unusual camelid additionally produces wool much like a llama’s that can be woven into plush fabrics. While the cama does not have a hump like its camel ancestors, it can withstand the harsh, unforgiving desert climate. As of 2008, only five of these animals have ever existed; experts estimate that the cama should enjoy a lifespan of at least thirty years.

The beefalo, a moderate rarity on America’s agricultural landscape, is produced by breeding bison with domestic cattle. This cutting-edge creature is prized by particular palates for its especially lean and savory meat. The beefalo is also capable of producing much more milk than run-of-the-mill dairy cows. Ranchers favor the beefalo for its relatively low maintenance requirements. Because the beefalo often inherits an exceptional hardiness traced to its bison background, it requires much less space than domesticated cattle and prove much better at foraging for food. A perfect pairing of the two species, beefalo are much easier to handle than wild buffalo thanks to its kine kindred.

For cat owners preferring to live on the wild side, look no further than the Savannah cat! A mixture of short-haired domestic cats and African servals, the Savannah cat exhibits fur markings resembling those of its wild ancestors but showcases much more domesticated behavior. Depending on how many generations have elapsed since its genetic domestication, a Savannah cat can weigh up to thirty pounds and stand eighteen inches at its shoulder. Owners tend to describe these cats as loyal, and many report that their Savannah cat loves to go swimming. However, owning a Savannah cat is definitely not for everyone. Some states have enforce legislation barring its citizens from owning Savannah cats, and their fiery nature may be too intense for families with small children.

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