Rarity Acres Zorse and Zonkey Farm – Delton, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Rarity Acres Zorse and Zonkey Farm

Delton, Michigan

Zebra hybrids, aka "zebroids," roam the fields at this unique southern Michigan ranch. 


Rarity Acres in Kalamazoo is named after owner Timianne Sebright’s Grant zebra stallion, Rarity. Rarity’s previous owner had been abusive, so on top of a zebra’s naturally unpredictable and panicky nature (they evolved to fend off lions), Rarity had reason not to trust humans. The secret to Sebright’s success with Rarity? Bringing him grain and sitting in the field, not approaching him but waiting for him to learn to trust her and approach her on his own. For three years.

Today, Rarity is a perfect candidate for breeding and cross breeding, being so well behaved. In addition to breeding with other zebras, he breeds with horses and donkeys, creating zorses and zonkeys. (It is rare indeed that a zebra stallion will breed with both.) Crossbreeding with zebras has been done since the 1800s, and as with mules (half donkey, half horse) zebroids are sterile. A male zebra and female horse or donkey is the most common combination, though the reverse is possible. 

How the zebroids wind up looking depends on the coloring of the horse or donkey the zebra mates with. At Rarity Acres, there are zonkeys that look like donkeys only with an all-over black and gray pattern, and zonkeys that only have black stripes on their legs, and the light part of the pattern takes on the base color of the donkey parent. The zorses there tend to be darker, with the black stripes standing out against very dark brown fur from the horse parents. They sometimes look like they might be related to tigers (or ligers).

Importantly, zorses and zonkeys inherit personality traits from the zebra as well, which means they are not as easy to deal with as horses or donkeys. So while there are occasionally zebras, zorses, or zonkeys available for sale from Rarity Acres, Sebright always makes sure the person who will be taking care of the zebroid has the right facilities, the right temperament, and all of the necessary knowledge to deal with the sensitive animal. A bond with a zebroid can be deep and rewarding, but it must be earned.

Know Before You Go

If you wish to visit, contact the farm directly and the owner will give you the full address.