Donkeys, Half donkeys, and Zebras

donkey
They are related to horses and probably evolved in the Pliocene from a Hipparion. Genus: Equus Family: horses (Equidae), suborder: odd-toed ungulates, order: ungulate (Ungulata), subclass: Placental (Placentalia) in class: Mammals (Mammalia).

Donkey (Equus asinus)

People don´t have a good opinion about donkeys. They represent ineptness. Although donkeys were appreciated in the history of humankind.

Modern breeds can be divided into three categories:
- Equus asinus africanus – North African Donkey. Donkeys of some Mediterranean islands and local, Balkan donkeys
- Equus asinus somiliensis – East African Donkey (Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia), Egyptian, Nubian and Arabic donkey which live in South Asia.
- Equus asinus europaeus – Spanish, Italian, French and South American donkey.

Equus asinus africanus and Equus asinus somiliensis are mainly primitive breeds of the Ethiopian, North African, Asian and the Balkan donkey. On average, they are 100 cm tall, while the trunk girth is only 110 cm.
The Egyptian and Cyprian donkeys are categorized as a cultural donkey. By selecting specific types for breeding they became taller – 135 cm. Other cultural donkeys are Apulian donkey from South Italy – height: 135 – 145 cm; Catalan donkey – 160 cm; and French breed Poitou donkey – if bred with a proper mare, they produce the best mules.

The Balkan donkeys are recognisable by their small and hard hoofs. They are spread around Istria and Dalmatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Hungary.
Pinto donkey is very popular in the USA. The one common feature that they have is their colourful fur.
It´s estimated that around 43.3 million donkeys live on our planet.

Donkeys can be crossbred with horses. A combination of a donkey and a mare produces a mule. If you crossbreed a jenny donkey and a stallion, you get a hinny.

Mules are more endurable and frugal. Because they are larger and can carry bigger loads. They work efficiently even when thirsty, withstand insect bites and aren´t prone to hip-related illnesses. Their average lifespan is 25 years, sometimes even 50 years. Hinnies are especially suitable for inaccessible areas with steep roads. Opposed to horses, mules don´t suffer from vertigo.
In Africa, they tried to crossbreed a male donkey and a zebra. They got a Zebroid. They have a characteristic common to mules and hinnies – infertility.


Dusan Kreslin
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