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DONKEY

Scientific Name: Equus africanus asinus
Order
Perissodactyla

Family
Equidae

Habitat & Range
Donkeys were first domesticated around 4000 BC, likely in Egypt or Mesopotamia, and are now spread throughout the world. China, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Mexico have the densest populations. They are adapted to live in desert lands and other dry, arid climates.

Identification
Donkeys vary in size based on breed and environment, ranging in weight from 180 to 1,060 pounds. They have large ears that can detect sounds from a great distance. To keep in contact with other donkeys over the large space of the desert, they have a very loud call (bray) that can be heard up to 2 miles away.

Diet
Some suggest that a donkey needs to be fed only straw (preferably barley straw), supplemented with controlled grazing in the summer or hay in the winter. Others recommend some grain to be fed, particularly to working animals. They do best when allowed to consume small amounts of food over long periods.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Although gestation ranges from 11 to 14 months, a female donkey is typically pregnant for about 12 months. Births usually result in a single foal, though twins have been reported. Male donkeys are often interbred with female horses, which produces a mule.

Working donkeys in poor countries have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. In developed countries, they may live up to 50 years.

Fantastic Fact
What a Stubborn Ass
Donkeys are notorious for their stubborn personality, which has been attributed to a strong sense of self-preservation. A stronger prey instinct and a weak connection with man make it difficult to force or frighten a donkey into a situation that it perceives to be dangerous.

 
 
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