Donkey Definition | Characteristics & Facts



Donkey Definition

A donkey is a domesticated member of the horse family, known for its characteristic long ears and braying sound. Donkeys are highly adaptable and have been used by humans for various purposes throughout history.

Donkey General Characteristics & Facts


Donkeys are generally smaller than horses, with a stocky build and long ears. They have a short, coarse coat that can be gray, brown, or black. Donkeys also have a tuft of hair called a forelock that grows from between their ears.


Donkeys are known for their intelligence, cautious nature, and a strong sense of self-preservation. They are social animals and can form strong bonds with other donkeys or even other species.


Donkeys have been used by humans for centuries as working animals. They are known for their strength and endurance, making them suitable for tasks such as carrying loads, pulling carts, and plowing fields. Donkeys are also used for recreational purposes, such as riding and trekking.


Donkeys communicate through various sounds, with their braying being the most distinctive. Braying is a loud, unique vocalization that can carry over long distances. Donkeys also use body language, such as ear position, tail movement, and facial expressions, to express their emotions and intentions


Donkeys are found in many parts of the world, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. They are valued for their ability to thrive in harsh conditions and their low maintenance requirements compared to horses. Donkeys are especially prevalent in areas where agriculture and transportation depend on them.


In some regions, donkeys are considered an endangered or threatened species due to factors such as habitat loss, overworking, and illegal trade. Efforts are being made to protect and conserve donkey populations, promote responsible ownership, and ensure their welfare.

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Donkey Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Perissodactyla

Family: Equidae

Genus: Equus

Species: E. africanus

Donkey Physical Characteristics

  • Size: Smaller in size compared to horses. They can range from around 36 inches (91 cm) in height for miniature donkeys to about 56 inches (142 cm) for standard-sized donkeys.
  • Body Shape: Donkeys have a sturdy and compact body shape with a straight back.
  • Head: Donkeys have a long, narrow head with a blunt muzzle. They possess large, expressive eyes and long ears, which are their most distinctive feature.
  • Ears: Donkeys have long ears that are proportionately larger than those of horses. These ears serve several purposes, including enhanced hearing and heat regulation.
  • Coat: Donkeys have a short coat of fur, which can vary in color. Common colors include shades of gray, brown, black, and sometimes white. The coloration can be solid or have variations like spotting or stripes.
  • Mane and Tail: The mane of a donkey is typically short and upright, standing straight up or slightly leaning to one side. The tail is covered in short hair and may have a tuft at the end.
  • Hooves: Donkeys have hooves similar to those of horses. Their hooves are hard and tough, enabling them to traverse various terrains.
  • Voice: Donkeys produce a distinct vocalization known as a bray. The braying sound is characterized by a loud, distinctive, and sometimes melodious tone.

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Key Locations of Donkey

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Central-America
  • Eurasia
  • Europe
  • North-America
  • Oceania
  • South-America

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Donkey FAQs

What Donkey Eats?

  • Grass
  • Hay
  • Forage
  • Straw
  • Pasture plants
  • Leaves
  • Bark
  • Fruits (in moderation)
  • Vegetables (in moderation)

What’s a male donkey called?

A male donkey is called a “jack” or a “jackass.”

What is the scientific name for the Donkey?

The scientific name for the donkey is Equus africanus.

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