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article imageBirth of rare 'geep' surprises petting zoo owner

By Greta McClain     Aug 4, 2014 in Environment
Scottsdale - If you have never heard of a "geep", don't worry, neither did an Arizona woman, that is not until one of her ewes gave birth to one.
Geeps are hybrid animals, half goat and half sheep. Although goats and sheep come from different genera, a biological class of animal, they can mate, however it is rare for them to do so. When the two animals do mate, the offspring are typically stillborn.
Although scientists have combined the embryos and sperm of sheep and goats in laboratory settings, the resulting offspring are known as Goat-Sheep Chimerae. Geeps occur when a sheep and goat mate naturally.
According to reports, only nine geeps are known to have been born since 2000. The latest known live birth is a geep named Butterfly.
Butterfly was born eight days ago at My Petting Zoo of Scottsdale, Arizona She was discovered when Motola and her three children went to feed the animals and came as quite a surprise. Motola told Today.com that although she had noticed that the ewe, known as Momma, had gained some weight, she thought Momma was just eating more. She never suspected that the ewe was pregnant.
Motola initially though the new arrival was a sheep due to the fur. Upon closer inspection however, she realized the animal was unusual, telling My Fox Phoenix:
"First we noticed the wool, and then we thought "oh she's a sheep", but then we noticed the feet like a goat, and the little face looked like a goat. We were just amazed we couldn't believe what we were looking at."
Butterfly is believed to be the only geep in existence in the United States. Motola told My San Antonio:
"This is really uncommon. it's the first time it's ever happened here, and I've been doing so much research, finding there aren't very many in the world."
More about Sheep, Goat, geep, Animal, Petting zoo
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