Donkeys have made the news recently because of the work which organizations such as the ISPMB are doing in Texas. Currently many planes and ranches in Texas have been overrun by burros, which are doing great damage to the eco-systems down there, because those are not their native lands. Sadly they are having a negative impact on the species which are protected by the state, so there is a big push on rounding up the burros and relocating them. These are much more fascinating creatures than many realize, and here are some cool facts about donkeys which you may not know.
Donkeys, Burros and Mules
These three words are all used to refer to donkeys, but they are all slightly different from each other. The donkey is the domesticated donkey which we have all seen in feeding parks and zoos, the burro is the word we use to describe a feral or wild donkey. A mule however differs greatly from both of those donkeys, as these are the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey, which can successfully procreate. The mule is larger and has features of a donkey as well as an horse. The word ass can be used to describe any donkey, as it is derived from the lain word to describe them, equus asinus.
Are They Stubborn?
The term ‘stubborn as a mule’ comes from the fact that donkeys are incredibly cautious. Prior to undertaking a challenge or a task, donkeys will spend a lot of time surveying the situation. This resulted in many humans believing that they were unwilling to do things, when in fact they simply wanted to make sure that they had it all sussed out.
Donkeys can consume as much as 6,000lbs of grass and plants each and every year. Not only do they digest such as a large amount, they are also incredibly efficient with what goes into their bodies. Donkeys will use 95% of the nutritional value of the food which they consume. This is helpful for them when they are in native habitats which are often dry and when food is sparse.
What Did You Say?
Donkeys have an incredible ability to hear, and they have been shown to hear calls from as far away as 25 miles, under the right conditions. This is not – as many think – because of their big, floppy ears however. Those ears actually work to maintain the body temperature.
Seriously Impressive Memories
Studies have shown that donkeys can remember places and people from as far back as 60 years, which is an incredible feat for any animal. We may look at the donkey as a very simple creature but their ability to hear and to remember proves that there is much more than meets the eye with these animals.
The next time that you see a donkey remember that they are very intelligent and interesting creatures, with a lot to offer the animal kingdom.