The donkey is a descendant of the African wild ass, which is now rare in the wild and found in only a few remote parts of north-eastern Africa.


A Donkey/Horse Comparison

  • Donkeys are slower and less powerful than horses but they are extremely intelligent animals. They have a strong sense of survival and if they deem something as dangerous they simply won’t do it, hence they would not make steeplechasers or three-day eventers! They are particularly patient and persistent animals and as a result make excellent pack animals.
  • Horses and ponies are native to lush grassland regions. Donkeys however, are adapted to marginal desert lands and therefore their food needs are much less than that of a horse. In fact many domestic donkeys tend to be overfed and as a result suffer from a disease called ‘Laminitis’  also known as ‘fever in the feet’. It is an inflammation of the sensitive tissue lining the inside wall of the foot. It can occur at any time of the year but more often occurs in spring with the growth of the rich, new grass.
  • Donkeys do not have natural ‘waterproof’ coats like horses and so must have access to shelter.
  • Donkeys require just as much care and attention as horses. For example, their feet must be trimmed around every 8 weeks, they must be wormed regularly, have yearly tetanus and flu vaccinations and regular grooming.
  • Horses are flight animals, i.e. in times of panic or danger they will run away, donkeys, however, will simply freeze when frightened. Donkeys evolved in rugged desert terrain and fleeing in times of danger simply wasn’t possible.
  • Donkeys do not have a flowing tail like a horse but a tufted tail more like that of a cow.
Read More: Donkeys and Humans

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