The donkey is a herbivorous animal and the smallest member of the horse family.
Ass is the correct term for the animal known as the donkey, burro, or jackstock. The young of a donkey is called a foal. A young male is a colt and a young female a filly. The correct name for a female donkey is jenny and the correct name for a male donkey is jack.
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. A hinny is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey.
There are three categories of donkeys. Miniatures are 36 inches and under. Standards are between 36 and 54 inches. Mammoths are over 54 inches. All measured to the shoulder.
Donkeys originated in the African Desert and are a descendant of the African Wild Ass. The African Wild Ass is one of the most endangered animals in the world.
Wild donkeys, called burros, live in desert plains, where they can survive on little food and water for long periods.
The weight of donkeys ranges up to 570 pounds. They have gray to reddish brown hair, long ears and small feet, with sharp hooves.
Donkeys are very affectionate animals and enjoy the companionship of people. Donkeys need companions or they will become very depressed.
Donkeys can live for 25 to 35 years of age. However, donkeys in third world countries seldom live over 10 years.
Jennies are pregnant for one full year and usually give birth one foal. Twins are very rare.
Donkeys are used as guard animals for goats and sheep against the threat of coyote attack. They are also used to protect cows while calving. The coyote is the only natural threat to donkeys. Donkeys therefore do not like any canines.
Donkeys can easily carry 30% of their body weight in live load and 20% in dead weight.
The donkey's favorite pastime is rolling.
Miniature donkeys (36 inches and under) are native to the Mediterranean Islands of Sicily and Sardinia. They have been extensively bred in the United States and are almost extinct in the land of their origin. The breed is called the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey.
The rare French Poitou donkey is characterized by a huge head and ears and very thick, shaggy curled black coat. The Poitou can stand 56 to 60 inches high./p>
George Washington owned the first donkeys born in the United States.
Spanish explorers during the 1600 brought many standard donkeys to the Americas as pack animals.