Happy World Donkey Day!
Check out these fun donkey facts...
6th May 2022
Did you know?
- Donkeys are also called 'burros' or 'asses', and are found throughout the world.
- A group of donkeys is called a drove.
- Domestic donkeys originate from Western Africa, the earliest donkeys were found in Egypt.
- Male donkeys are called 'jacks' and females are called 'jennets' or 'jennies'.
- Donkeys form strong 'pair bonds', when separated they can become anxious and stressed.
- Mules are the offspring of a male donkey and female horse. A 'hinny' is the offspring of a male horse and female donkey.
- There are eight different breeds of domesticated donkeys, the largest is the American Mammoth Jackstock donkey. The smallest breed is the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey.
- Horses are nearly four times faster than the average donkey!
How are donkeys different to horses?
- Donkeys’ ears are very long. That means they often flop down to the sides of a donkey's head rather than standing straight up. Horse ears are shorter and more alert. They will never flop down to the side because of their small size.
- Donkeys coats are less waterproof than horses and their manes and tails are thinner. This is because donkeys originate from Africa and are designed to cope with a warmer climate.
- Horses have six vertebrae in their backs while donkeys only have five.
- Unlike horses, donkeys are often fed straw, to mimic the rough, poor quality grazing they would have in their natural environment. Donkeys are prone to obesity, and can develop a painful disease called laminitis if they are given access to highly nutritious forage.
- Donkeys commonly form strong lifelong friendships with one another, called a 'pair bond'. Separating pairs can often cause them stress and anxiety. Horses do not form life-long 'pair bonds', instead they form groups called herds.
- A donkey’s hoof is upright, small, tough and has a cupped/oblong sole. Horse’s hooves are larger, with a round flat sole and low heel.
- The growth seen on the inside of a horse's back leg is called a 'chestnut', this is something donkeys don't have.
- Donkeys are slower than horses, they can achieve a running speed of 15mph. Horses have been bred for speed and endurance for thousands of years, so they can run between 25mph and 40mph!
- Donkeys have big ears so they can hear each other from long distances. They communicate by braying, grunting, squealing, whiffling, snorting, and even growling. Horses can make a variety of sounds to communicate different things. They can whinny, nicker, squeal, blow, snort, grunt, groan and neigh.
- Donkeys can live up to 40-50 years old when cared for well. The average age of a donkey in the UK is 27 years old (that's 81 in human years!). Horses will live between 25 and 30 years. Many horses throughout the world are cared for as pets and show animals, and they tend to live the longest due to the time and money investment they represent.
If you would like to support the donkeys here at Oak Tree, please consider sponsoring The Donkey Den for as little as £1 a week! Click here to find out more...