A litter of piglets at a Perthshire wildlife centre have caused a stir after some of them were born with stripes.
The unusual markings have been put down to the genetic blend of their parents - a Tamworth pig and a wild boar.
While neither parent has stripes, a Stirling vet said the mix of genes in the piglets, from the Auchingarroch wildlife centre, near Comrie, could produce unusual results.
Alisdair Bruce, from Broadley's veterinary hospital said: "The best comparison to these pigs we can make is with non-specific twins. You put the genes of both parents in a bag and shake it up and their babies come out with different genetic features.
"Some look like their dads, some like their mums, and some share similar looks and features. That's why some of these pigs are quite unusual in their colouring."
Yesterday, the television scriptwriter Carla Lane claimed a goat at her animal sanctuary had given birth to a lamb. The 18-year-old goat called Molly gave birth to the lamb three weeks ago at the sanctuary in Horsted Keynes, West Sussex. Lane said: "We were dumbfounded. We looked to see if there was anything about it that was a goat, but it is a lamb."
David Noakes, professor of veterinary obstetrics at London University, said there was no scientific evidence available that sheep and goats could crossbreed successfully. He said: "It is well known that if you cross goats and sheep you will get fertilisation and the development of an embryo, but invariably it does not survive."
© The Scotsman, 6 th June 2000
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