butter (Donkey donkey) the donkey has been a domestic animal for about 5.000 years, from Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somalicus) native to northeast Africa. Its domestication quickly spread throughout the world due to its enormous utility for the time, it could transport heavy loads and goods over long distances.

Currently, there are about 40 million donkeys in the world, the majority in underdeveloped countries that continue to be used as pack animals. Donkeys are often associated with underdeveloped countries and in developed countries it was a common farm animal, although a small population is still kept for reproduction or for use as pets.

Donkey looking at camera.
Donkey looking at camera.

Features

The donkey is a vertebrate animal belonging to the mammals It varies in size considerably depending on the breed and handling. The height at the withers ranges from 79 to 160 cm and the weight from 80 to 480 kg. The hardest working donkeys in poor countries reduce their life expectancy by 12 to 15 years. in richer countries the donkey can live between 30 to 50 years.

They have large ears that can pick up distant sounds and help cool their blood.

They are adapted to the desert lands and their high temperatures. Unlike wild horses, wild donkeys do not form harems. Each adult donkey establishes a range. The loud braying usually lasts twenty seconds and can be heard for more than three kilometers, it is used to keep in contact with other donkeys throughout the desert.

Behavior

The donkey is a solitary animal of daytime habits, although it can live with other donkeys. Donkeys are believed to have a stubborn temperament but in reality they are not. Humans must earn the animal's trust in order to earn its loyalty and friendship. They are also very good at taking care of themselves, strong and will refuse to do anything dangerous or carry more than their share. It is also believed to help distressed horses and they are often brought together to help them.

There are few studies on their behavior and cognition, but donkeys appear to be quite intelligent, cautious, friendly, playful and eager to learn. However, if they detect danger they can defend themselves by biting, hitting with their front hooves or kicking with their hind legs.

Donkey carrying humans
Donkey carrying humans

Habitat

The donkey is of African origin, but they spread to all parts of the world, especially in warmer countries, because of their character and strength they were very useful to humans for agricultural activity.

Specimens can be found in southern and western Europe, in almost all of Asia and Africa. Some can also be found in South America. Most of the existing donkeys are found in Asia specifically in China, Afghanistan and India. In the American continent it is still possible to find it in Mexico and Colombia. In Spain it is concentrated in the south (Andalusia) although it is rapidly disappearing.

Food

Is a herbivorous animal and in its natural habitat or in arid climates the donkey can feed on poor quality bushes. Their digestive system is so hard that it is able to effectively break down hard, dry food.

When under the care of humans in farms, the donkey feeds exclusively on grass or forages, although some farmers have included specialized feed for donkeys to provide them with a good source of protein. It is important to balance your protein supply as it can cause digestive problems that can lead to diarrhea. Normally, farmers choose to free them to graze, and then provide them with protein.

Predators

The donkey, like terrestrial animal, has as predators coyotes, Wolves y domestic dogs. When in danger, it doesn't hesitate to use its teeth and hind legs to protect itself from predators.

Reproduction

The female donkey is pregnant for about 12 months, although the gestation period can vary between 11 to 14 months and usually gives birth to a single proto. Twins can rarely be born, about 1,7% and 14% of them both survive.

Even if the donkeys go into heat at 9 or 10 days after giving birth, their fertility is quite low, and it is likely that the reproductive tract has not returned to normal and it is necessary to wait two cycles for them to become pregnant again. They may not go into heat while they have a proto by their side, as they are very protective. All these factors combined result in them having only one proto per year.

Donkeys can interbreed with other members of the equid family, and often interbreed with horses. The resulting hybrid between a donkey and a mare is a mule (which cannot reproduce), which is highly valued as a riding and working animal in many countries. There are certain species of donkeys that are only used to create mules.

State of conservation

In 2006, around 41 million donkeys were registered worldwide. The largest amount is in China with about 11 million, followed by Pakistan, Ethiopia and Mexico. However the population in 2007 it was detected that the population fell by 3 million. And it continues to decrease, although many researchers believe that there are more, but not all are accounted for.

The donkey population has always depended on humans, when they increased their population, the donkeys did too, but as machines began to be used, the donkey's usefulness is less, therefore, its population decreases.

In some areas it is a species of least concern and in Europe donkey populations have declined dramatically. In native species of Spain, they are in danger of extinction.

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