zebra

What is that????

by Kristin Berkery

A few years ago, a uniquely-colored filly named Eclyse (pronounced “uh-KLEE-suh”) made a splash when she appeared at a German safari park.

Eclyse, a zebra/horse hybrid foaled in Germany.

Eclyse’s dam, Eclipse, was given a vacation in Italy where she lived in a herd of horses and zebras. One of the zebras, a stallion named Ulysses, had a special relationship with Eclipse during her stay. When the mare returned to the Zoosafari Park in Schloss Holte Stukenbrock, Germany, near the Holland border, she delivered a surprise foal – a “zorse”!

Just like the name sounds, a zorse is a hybrid zebra/horse. Like mules and hinnies, they are generally sterile and exhibit traits of both parents. In Eclyse’s case, she inherited a tobiano gene from her horse dam and zebra markings from her sire.

Eclyse's unique pinto markings on her head and neck.

Eclyse is a good example of how dominant the tobiano gene is. Any time a horse (or horse hybrid) inherits at least one tobiano gene, tobiano is always expressed and it determines where the colored patches appear.

I wasn’t able to find a picture of Eclyse’s dam on the web, but we can make a couple of assumptions about her:

  • She’s a tobiano
  • She may be a bay tobiano

We know for sure that Eclyse’s dam is tobiano because zebras don’t carry the tobiano gene, and tobianos must always have at least one tobiano parent. My guess is that Eclyse’s dam is a bay tobiano because Eclyse inherited her father’s stripes on top of a brown coat color. If you look up zorse on Google, you’ll find a lot of different photos of zorses and many of them seem to retain the base coat color of their horse parent. If you know what Eclyse’s dam looks like, please leave a comment.

The public can see Eclyse in person at the Zoosafari Park in Germany. Below is a video with some good close-up footage of this unusually marked hybrid filly.