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Miniature Donkey


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Equus asinus domestic
Length: 6.6 feet (200 centimeters)
Tail length: 17 inches (42 centimeters)
Shoulder height: Under 36 inches (under 92 centimeters)
Weight: 225 to 350 pounds (102 to 159 kilograms)
Life span: 25 to 35 years
Gestation: 12 months
Number of offspring: 1 foal
Size at birth: 19 and 30 pounds (8.6 to 13.6 kilograms)
Age of maturity: 2 years
Conservation status: Domestic donkeys are not threatened, but their close African cousin is critically endangered with only 23 to 200 adults left.



Donkeys make loud “hee-haw” sounds that last several seconds. The animal brays to communicate with other animals and their owners.

Stubborn donkey!

Originally, donkeys were called stubborn because of their caution and curiosity. If something scares a donkey, it will first freeze, then investigate the source. If a situation feels dangerous, they dig their heels into the ground and won’t budge. This gave them their stubborn reputation. Usually, donkeys are obedient. Some farmers train donkeys to protect other animals by stomping at predators.

One big family

As a part of the equidae family, donkeys are related to horses and zebras. Donkeys can be a wild range of colors to look similar to their cousins. Donkeys are smaller and more sturdy than horses with longer floppy ears. Male donkeys are called “jacks;” females are “jennys.”

Prefer lots of plants

Donkeys love to eat grass, shrubs, and other short plants. They can eat up to 6,000 pounds (2,722 kilograms) of food every year! Donkeys don’t use their teeth to uproot plants; instead, they grip the the plant between their lips, pull it into their mouths, then use their teeth to chew.

Not always domestic

Over 5,000 years ago, donkeys only lived in Africa and the Middle East. Humans tamed donkeys for domestic purposes. In poor countries, many people own donkeys to help plow fields, draw water, travel, and carry heavy objects.


Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.