Wed, Jul 26, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Mare-moose hanky-panky likely led to odd Canadian colt

FREAK ANIMAL Vets are running tests on a colt with a big head and long legs to confirm a theory that it was the result of a rare cross-species tryst

AFP , MONTREAL

A rare mating of a wild moose and a mare likely resulted in the birth of a funny-looking colt with a big head and long legs, a rancher in Canada's Quebec province said yesterday.

But veterinarians are conducting tests to confirm his claim.

Bambi, born 11 weeks ago in the Gaspe Peninsula after a mysterious conception, has the head of a moose atop a horse frame, Francois Larocque told reporters.

"It's not an ordinary colt," he said.

He told Le Soleil newspaper: "When the mare gave birth, my sisters said: `It has a moose head.'"

Passers-by spotted more similarities to a moose in the foal: Bambi has elongated legs, likes to hang out in a nearby forest where moose typically venture, and sleeps lying down instead of upright like a horse, Larocque said.

A front-page headline in the newspaper La Presse quipped: "Is Bambi a hoose or a morse?"

But Gilles Landry, a biologist with Quebec's parks and wildlife department, remains skeptical.

"I have serious doubts because there has never been a birth from a moose and a horse reported, even though some have mated," he said. "It's more likely that it's a deformed animal."

The rancher insists he sterilized his only two stallions a month prior to Bambi's conception and there are no other male horses in the region, and only a few moose in a nearby wildlife reserve.

Veterinarians plan to carry out tests to check Bambi's genetic profile.

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