THE DOMESTIC Donkey
How is the donkey?
The most characteristic feature of donkeys are their large ears, which served to lose heat
(these animals lived wild in the deserts). However, not much left to remind the horses. In
fact belong to the same family, the Equidae. Like horses, donkeys have a beautiful mane.
One difference between the donkey and the horse is its size. Generally, the donkey is
smaller than the horse. (Consequently, instead, the head of the donkey is proportionately
higher than the horse). However, there are always exceptions, such as the Poitou donkey, of
French origin, with its 1.5 m in height at the withers or the horse from Argentina Farabella
with their meager 0.75 m (the smallest horse the world).
The coat color is ash gray donkey, although there are variations. So, you can also see black as
the Catalan donkey, completely white, like the donkey of Egypt, with a small band gray
darker area of the cross known as St. Andrew's cross, as the donkey of Provence, etc. .
Domesticated donkeys bear a strong resemblance to their wild relatives, however, their
helmets are wider and shorter than wild individuals.
The domestic donkey is a peaceful animal and rude, however, is very resistant to cold and
This mammal has well developed senses, especially smell and sight. In addition, the donkey
has a great memory that allows you to orient through areas for some time in their lives took.
The domestic donkey has a reputation as an animal stubborn, but this wrong interpretation
of his character is that an animal is very careful to never perform an action that can be
Origin of the domesticated donkey
The domesticated donkey originated from African wild donkey (Equus asinus).
Domestication dates back 5,000 years. The donkey is the animal that has been most recently
domesticated pet group.
Unlike most domestic animals that were domesticated about 11,000 years ago in Asia, the
Middle East area (birthplace of agriculture, animal husbandry and civilization in general, the
area of Mesopotamia being the best example), the donkey was domesticated in Africa, in
the northeastern region.
What animal is related domestic donkey?
Although it may seem incredible, tapir or even rhinos are animals that are related to the
donkey, both also are ungulates (mammals with hoofed toes finishes).
However, there are many other ungulates. The giraffe, deer or camel are hoofed animals,
but are farther from the donkey that tapirs and rhinoceroses. They all belong to the group of
artiodactyls or odd-toed ungulate, while the donkey is a perissodactyle (has a number of
Utility of the domesticated donkey
The donkey has the advantage over the horse to be an animal more resistant to disease,
injury, drought, to others that have a higher hope (the donkey can exceed 40 years, against
the coming thirty years to live a good horse care).
Moreover, the donkey is ideal for travel on rough roads with steep areas and poor
maintenance of paving thanks to its strength and, although not enough, agility.
The donkey was very important in mining areas of the United States in the nineteenth
century, as a pack animal because it was easier to guide the horse and tie required, given its
peaceful and friendly people.
However, thousands of years before this animal was used in many parts of the world, the
peoples of Asia, Africa and Southern Europe to transport people and as a pack animal.
Unfortunately, with the industrialization of many countries, the functions of the donkey
were relegated by agricultural machinery.
Taking the above example, the arrival of the steam train, in the mid nineteenth century in
the United States, temporarily assumed the loss of value of this species, because they got a
conveyance carrying the same materials as the donkey much more efficiency.
The donkey has lost the old functions in industrialized countries. However, even today, the
donkey is used in many peoples of the world for transporting loads, corresponding to
In industrialized countries, the donkey has lost its original function, however, we could say
that have been replaced by others. The donkey has evolved into a more recreational. This
animal is used as a tourist attraction, with so-called donkey rides.
These beautiful animals are also used as pets, such as miniature donkeys, less than 1 m in
height at the withers and weighing less than 200 kg.
Moreover, donkey milk seems to have medicinal properties, acting as a protective factor for
cellular aging (due to retinol), which some industries want to leverage the development of
cosmetics made from components of this raw material .
Furthermore, this mammal's milk is very rich in nutrients such as protein and vitamins.
Another favorable feature of this food is the compatibility with human milk (the more
support there allergy problems are reduced and the use of nutritional components is
France is a country where milk consumption is very important. However, since time
immemorial man has taken donkey milk, especially in the Mediterranean peoples.
What eats the donkey?
As the vast majority of ungulates, the donkey is a herbivorous animal. Grass, shrubs and
thorny plants to get to eat the wild donkey. As an adaptation to life in the desert, plus some
food to eat vegetables for most animal species, the great donkey takes water from the food.
The domestic donkey is also very rustic in relation to their diet and can be powered with any
plant matter, though, of course, prefers grass and woody shrubs hay or thistles.
However, if it has many donkey punches with drinking water, to the extent that there is a
legend that says there have been donkeys that have come to die of thirst for refusing to
drink water that were not clean enough for them (in any case, we too doubt the quality of
water supplied to the poor animal).
Playing the donkey
The domesticated donkey can play all year round, unlike their wild breeding period is
reduced to the wet seasons.
Gestation lasts 12 months, after which time the female gives birth to a single calf weighing
Stay beside the mother who breastfeeds for about 2 months.
The pups will be ready to reproduce after about 2 years after birth, but in practice are used
as breeding stock when they are older than 3 years.
Breeds of donkeys
There are different breeds of donkeys to the height, size, coat color, etc.. Each country has
its own races.
For example, Spain has the Zamora-Leon, the Catalan donkey, the donkey and the donkey
- The Catalan donkey is one of the strongest that exist with the Zamora-Leon, very tough.
- The donkey down from Majorcan Catalan donkey, although smaller than this.
- The Andalusian donkey, as the Catalan donkey or the Zamora-Leon, is also large. Can
measure 1.6 m in height at the withers.
In France, the races are typical:
- Donkey of Poitou. Donkey Large, 1.5 m in height, dark brown hair almost black by the body,
while the contour of the eyes, muzzle and belly are light gray.
- donkey Normandy, brown-haired and heavyset, with a height of 1.2 m.
- donkey Contentin Similar in appearance to the donkey of Provence, though somewhat
smaller, can grow to 1.3 m
- Donkey in the Pyrenees. It measures 1.3 meters high on average, although there are 2
types according to height. Its fur, short hair is usually black, but can be dark brown. The
contour of the eyes, nose and belly of this breed of donkey is lighter in color, slightly whitish.
In the United States, is very popular breed called Large Mammoth Jack Stock. It is the world's
largest asinine race. The height at the withers should be higher than the 1.45 cm tall at the
withers. The original color of the coat of Mammoth Jack Stock is black. It was developed in
the late eighteenth century, mainly from specimens from Spain.
Facts about the donkeys
The donkey is one of the various hybrid animals that may happen, of course with similar
species. In fact, he crosses paths with animals of the same family and, generally, with the
horse or mare.
After crossing the donkey with a mare get a hybrid called a mule. If the crossing is made with
a female horse and a donkey gives the hinny. In both hybridizations the mother is the one
that brings more features to their offspring.
But what is more interesting is that you can produce a hybrid striped like a zebra with
colorful background with a donkey crossing a donkey and a zebra (though of course this will
not be fertile, because they are different species) . The curious experiment results in the
creation of a cebrasno or ceburro.
In English this curious animal obtained from an artificial cross between two different species
is known by the names "zonkey" or "zebrass" French "donzèbre". As seen, the resulting
hybrid is well preserved not only the physical, but the names of species parents.
Around this enigmatic animal, hide curious stories that make you even more beautiful. For
example, the Spanish writer Juan Ramón, in 1914, paid tribute to the work "Platero and I".
The donkey also appears as a faithful companion Sancho Panza the adventures of the work
of Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote. "
And this animal has most recently spoken to the big screen as a secondary character in the
animated film Sreck.
However, not everything has been told over the story about the donkey is positive. The
Romans, for example, linked the presence of the donkey with the appearance of
However, the bad reputation has followed him to the donkey until very recently. The
popular language makes visible the unjustified reputation of the donkey stupid and ignorant
to the point of becoming the name of this unfortunate animal an insult, as when we tell
someone who is a donkey.
Despite all the prejudices that exist around the donkey and behind the appearance of an
animal rude, in fact, lies an animal quite intelligent, very patient and above all, resilient, able
to withstand the harshest conditions of dryness and heat . These qualities translate into a
lower requirements in terms of food and care, which has earned him the name of the
donkey of the poor horse.