What Do Donkeys Eat: All of the Facts around Physical Appearance, Habitat, Diet


Almost everyone knows donkey. It is so easy to find this animal across the world, most likely is becoming a pet but few of donkeys still live in wildlife. Its body shape probably reminds you with horse and zebra.

Turns out, it is still part of the Equidae family. Curious about what do donkeys eat and the other facts also? Here’s for you!

What Do Donkeys Look Like?

Donkeys Look Like

Its appearance is quite similar to the fellow Equidae family. The ultimate difference is its long and floppy ears that look like stockier than zebras or horses.

Regarding the size, the donkey is divided into three main things: feral, wild, and domesticated. The wild donkey can grow until approximately 125 cm or 49 inches and the weight is about 250 kg or 550 lbs.

Unlike the wild one, the domesticated donkey has more variety in shape and size depending on how the method of breeding.

From eight different kinds of domesticated donkeys, all of them have diverse weights from 180 to 225 kg or 400 to 500 lbs and the heights are roughly from 90 to 125 cm or 35 to 50 inches.

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Where Do Donkeys Live?

Where Do Donkeys Live

You can find wild donkey only in savannahs and dessert in Arabian Peninsula, northern Africa (alongside Morocco to Somalia), and around the Middle East. On the other hand, we can see domesticated donkey all over the world especially in warm and dry regions.

Take an example: Anatolia donkey is born in Turkey while Abyssinian donkey is born in Ethiopia. A well-known species, which is Tibetan or the king is found in northern India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and China.

Donkeys Interesting Habit

Donkeys Interesting Habit

Both female and male donkeys have different “nickname” or typical popular name. Female is called jennies or jennets while the male is called jacks. This animal has a good social life through its flock named herd. The herd is usually driven by a jack and consists of few jennets in the wildlife.

Even though it is usually only consisted of one male, it’s still open for more males to join the colony. The only thing should be followed by this additional male is becoming more submissive compared to the existing dominant male in the group. Moreover, everything will be well run.

The donkey does not look for a strong bond through its colony. Instead, the herds will be apart and then regularly reform again with new individuals.

During the hottest time, a donkey will spend its time to rest. When the weather becomes less hot, it will travel, eat, and become active in the dusk and dawn with a fellow member inside the colony.

According to The Global Invasive Species Database, human tend to utilize donkey as a transport animal, especially domesticated donkey. It is useful to carry milk, animal, or any other stuff. Sometimes, donkey also can take a role as guardian for human’s livestock from an outside potential predator.

Donkeys Breeding Season

Donkeys Breeding Season

Like its behavior inside the flock that always welcome every donkey to join its herd, male donkey turns out also never picky in choosing the female to breed with.  Moreover, the more shocking fact is, it can take a horse and zebra to mate with. How can it happen across two different species?

The offspring are considered as a hybrid between two kinds of Equidae species.  A jennet with a male horse result in a hinny and a jack with a female horse produces a mule.

And if a donkey takes a zebra as its mate, then the result is a zonkey, zeedonk, or zebroid. This hybrid becomes sterile and impossible to get a baby.

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Donkeys Diet

Donkeys Diet

In the most common cases, what donkeys eat is including shrubs, desert plants, and grasses. As a voracious eater, a single donkey can grab for almost 2,722 kg or 6,000 lbs food each year. This huge quantity of food is needed especially when it has to deal with the feral donkey.

It’s not only about amount and type of food that deserve a concern but also how a donkey process a food. We know that most of the typical animal will directly use its teeth to rip the plants properly. However, it does not apply for the donkey.

Donkey will use its lip to grab the food and then pull it inside its mouth. Then, the food still needs to be ripped with the flat teeth and then ground it down to ease swallowing.

Beside plantation, it also likes to take straw and hay as food. Indeed, it is very different from horse and zebra. The digestion process is also different.

A donkey has a sweet tooth and very easy to increase its weight every time it takes the wrong diet. Potential health issues will come when the grass is too much lush or the hay is too rich. Either way, donkey likes to graze all day long but eat everything around within its insight and its ability.

Based on those explanations, now you not only know donkey has similar appearance with zebra and horse but also what do donkeys eat, habit, offspring, and many more. I hope that it is enough to expand your knowledge about animal.

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