A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless, of course…
(from the "Mr. Ed" song)
On May 5th, 2006, at Saint-Jogues, Quebec, a community about 20 kilometers north of the coastal town of Paspébiac, a mare foaled a "colt" (pictured at right) that its owner, François Larocque, insisted was the result a mating with a bull moose.
Larocque said the mare in question had no access to a fertile stallion during the time that she would have had to conceive, and he also pointed out that her young one had unusually long legs, long wooly ears, a muzzle that curved downward (as in a moose), and two bumps on its head at the points where antlers might be expected to emerge. This alleged moose-horse hybrid, which Larocque named Bambi, provoked a great deal of discussion. Local biologists and veterinarians were sufficiently intrigued to request that it be genetically tested. However, if such tests occurred, their results seem not to have been made public. Moose have, in fact, been observed mounting mares, but it seems that no actual hybrid of this type has been previously reported.
According to information on a website forum (see link below), Larocque saw a bull moose prowling the rear of his property during September 2005. Moose come into rut in September. On the same website, it was stated that he owned two stallions which he had gelded twelve months and one week before Bambi's birth, and that there were no other stallions there at Saint-Jogues. The gestation period of a horse is eleven months, that of a moose, eight. So if conception occurred in September from a mating with a moose, the gestation period of the hybrid was closer in length to that of a moose than to that of a horse. On the other hand, it is conceivable that one of Larocque's stallions retained sperm within his seminal vesicles and managed to impregnate the mother a month after castration.
From the picture shown here, as well as other photos shown on the Internet, it's clear that this animal, if it is a hybrid, is much more similar to a horse than to a moose. But this does not in itself preclude the possibility that it is derived from hybridization between horse and moose. It has long been recognized that in certain crosses the hybrids much more closely resemble one parent than the other. As Darwin noted in the Origin of Species, "There are certain hybrids which instead of having, as is usual, an intermediate character between their two parents, always closely resemble one of them." And such may be the case with moose-horse hybrids.
This cross would be inter-ordinal (horses belong to Order Perissodactyla, moose, to Order Artiodactyla).
See also the separate article "Jumarts."
By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).
Human Origins: Are we hybrids?
On the Origins of New Forms of Life
Cat-rabbit Hybrids: Fact or fiction?
Georges Cuvier: A Biography
Prothero: A Rebuttal
Branches of Biology