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Donkey

wild horse ass asinus

Donkey, herbivorous (plant-eating), hoofed mammal (Equus asinus), domesticated form of the wild ass. The donkey is related to the horse, but it is smaller and has long ears, a large head and short mane, a tuft of hair at the end of the tail, and no callosities (hardened skin) on the hindlegs. A dark band usually runs along the back and another over the shoulder. Several species of wild asses are found in Africa (E. asinus) and Asia (E. hemonius), particularly in northeastern India, where large herds wander about the desert regions. The donkey is descended from the African wild ass of Ethiopia. It is much used as a pack animal, and shows tremendous powers of endurance. It is surefooted and intelligent, well adapted to heavy loads over rough terrain. Crossbreeding with a horse produces the mule or the hinny, which are sterile.

J(ames) P(atrick) Donleavy [next] [back] Donjon

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