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Khonorik

We've talked about a few different Hybrid animals in the past, and most of those are creatures that are completely man-made-- they would never hybridize in the wild. Today's animal is a bit different in that it can and has crossed before in wild conditions (though it is still rare to do so).

Khonoriks are crosses between European Mink and European Polecats. The only meet up in the wild in parts of Europe that have declining Mink populations. There is evidence of this happening at the turn of the 20th century, when warmer climates caused the Polecats to enter Mink ranges.

In 1978 the first captive bred Khonoriks were bred, by Dr. Dmitry Ternovsky in the Soviet Union. The fur produced by the hybrids was more valuable than that of the two parent species, but the breeding projects declined when Mink populations did, and are now more or less defunct.

Khonoriks are are roughly the same size as European Polecats, the larger of the two parent species. They have dark fur with pale ear tips, and blotchy facial masks. Additionally, they have the ability to swim (like Minks) and burrow (like Polecats), which lets them have a wide-ranging diet. As with most hybrids, the males are sterile though the females can be fertile.

Status : Hybrid
Location : Europe
Size : Length up to 18in (45cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Mustelidae -- Genus : Mustela -- Species : M. putorius x M. lutreola
Image : Ferret Center

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