Pumapard

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Pumapard, c.1900
Pumapard, Rothschild Museum, Tring
Pumapard, Rothschild Museum, Tring

A pumapard is a hybrid of a puma and a leopard. Both male puma with female leopard and male leopard with female puma pairings have produced offspring. In general, these hybrids have exhibited a tendency to dwarfism.

Reported puma/leopard hybrids[edit]

In the late 1890s/early 1900s, two hybrids were born in Chicago, USA, followed 2 years later by three sets of twin cubs born at a zoo in Hamburg, Germany from a puma father and leopard mother. Carl Hagenbeck apparently bred several litters of puma x leopard hybrids in 1898 at the suggestion of a menagerie owner in Britain; this was possibly Lord Rothschild (as one of the hybrids is preserved in his museum) who may have heard of the two hybrid cubs bred in Chicago in 1896 and suggested Hagenbeck reproduced the pairing.

Hagenbeck's puma/leopard hybrids may have been inspired by a pair of leopard x puma hybrid cubs born in Chicago on 24 April 1896 at Tattersalls indoor arena where Ringling Brothers Circus opened its season. Details about the two cubs were published in The Chicago Chronicle on 25 April 1896: Two tiny cubs which look like young leopards were born at Tattersall's where Ringling Brothers circus is housed, yesterday (24 APR [18]96). They are not leopards, however. Their mother is a mountain lion or cougar and their father is a leopard. They take after their father decidedly, and are the daintiest little members of the cat family ever born in captivity. In fact they are the only ones of their kind, so far as known, ever born, either within the confines of a cage or anywhere else. These black and yellow youngsters were on exhibition yesterday and were admired by all who saw them. They will probably be on view the rest of the time the circus exhibits in Chicago.

A similar hybrid was reported by Helmut Hemmer. These hybrids had puma-like long tails and sandy or tawny coats with chestnut leopard-like markings and puma-like cheek markings. Another was described as resembling a little grey puma with large brown rosettes.

In The Field No 2887, April 25, 1908, Henry Scherren wrote "There was, and probably is now, in the Berlin Garden an Indian leopard and puma male hybrid, purchased of Carl Hagenbeck in 1898. In his "Guide", Dr Heck described it as "a little grey puma with large brown rosettes." Another hybrid between the same species, but with a puma for sire and a leopard for dam, was recently at Stellingen; it resembled the female parent in form as may be seen from the reproduction from a photograph taken there."

According to Carl Hagenbeck (1951), a male puma and female leopard produced a hybrid male cub that was reared by a Fox Terrier bitch at Hagenbeck Tierpark, Hamburg (fostering being normal practice at this time). This male hybrid was intermediate between the puma and leopard in colour and pattern, having faint leopard spots on a puma-coloured background. The body length was much less than either parent while the tail was long, like the puma. A further male hybrid from a mating of male leopard and female puma was described as a little grey puma with large brown rosettes. Hagenbeck apparently bred these hybrids at the suggestion of an unidentified menagerie owner, however, the hybrids were considered dull and uninteresting. Modern geneticists find them more interesting because the leopard and the puma were not considered to be closely enough related to produce offspring.

H Petzsch (1956) mentioned that puma/leopard hybrids had been obtained by artificial insemination. H Hemmer (1966) reported the hybrid between a male Indian leopard (P pardus fusca) and female puma as being fairly small with a ground colour like that of the puma and having rather faded rosettes.

The hybrids were additionally reported by CJ Cornish et al. (undated), R Rörig (1903), T Haltenorth (1936) and O Antonius (1951).

Appearance[edit]

Whether born to a female puma mated to a male leopard, or to a male puma mated to a female leopard, pumapards inherit a form of dwarfism. Those reported grew to only half the size of the parents. They have a puma-like long body (proportional to the limbs, but nevertheless shorter than either parent) with short legs. The coat is variously described as sandy, tawny or greyish with brown, chestnut or "faded" rosettes.

One is preserved in the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring, England, and clearly shows the tendency to dwarfism. This hybrid was exhibited at the Tierpark in Stellingen (Hamburg).

The black and white photograph also appeared in Animals of the World (1917) with the caption This is a photograph from life of a very rare hybrid. That animal's father was a puma, its mother a leopard. It is now dead and it may be seen stuffed in Mr. Rothschild's Museum at Tring.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Note[edit]

Some content reproduced from Messybeast.com Hybrid Big Cats which is licensed under the GFDL.