5 things you probably didn’t know about Donkeys.

By Rhys L Griffiths

A few weeks ago, we at science made simple decided to celebrate Donkey Fact Friday. We posted donkey facts on our Facebook page throughout the day so people could learn what wonderful and fascinating creatures donkeys are. If you did miss Donkey Fact Friday then not to worry as we have collected all the facts from the day and posted them here for you to enjoy.


donkey-fact-1Donkeys have been working animals for over 5000 years, first being domesticated in Ethiopia and Somalia. They were used for transportation long before the horse. By the end of the 4th millennium BC, the donkey had spread to Southwest Asia. It didn’t make it’s way to Europe until the 2nd Millennium BC.

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Chromosomes are important because they contain genetic information. The Donkey’s DNA is contained within it’s 62 Chromosomes. People used to believe that the more chromosomes you have then the more DNA you have, but the truth is it’s not quite that simple and nobody really knows why some animals have more chromosomes then others.

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Horse-donkey hybrids are nearly always sterile because horses have 64 chromosomes where as Donkeys have 62. That means that the offspring will have 63 making it incapable of producing babies. Horses and donkeys are different species and it is very rare for the offspring of two different species to be fertile.

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Donkeys have a reputation of being stubborn. When they are confronted by danger they stand still, refusing to move, and bray loudly. Whereas when horses sense danger they run away scared.

donkey-fact-5If you approach a donkey and both their ears are forward then that means the donkey is tuned in to something on or behind you. One ear forward and one ear back means they are very curious, whereas both ears flat to the side means the donkey is resting.  If you see a donkey with their ears back and down then there is something wrong so do not approach.


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Posted in Biology