Animalia > Chordata > Mammalia > Perissodactyla > Equidae > Equus > Equus asinus

Equus asinus (ass; burro (feral); burro; African wild ass)

Synonyms: Asinus vulgaris; Equus africanus asinus; Equus asinus asinus; Equus asinus palaestinae

Wikipedia Abstract

The donkey or ass (Equus africanus asinus) is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years. There are more than 40 million donkeys in the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries, where they are used principally as draught or pack animals. Working donkeys are often associated with those living at or below subsistence levels. Small numbers of donkeys are kept for breeding or as pets in developed countries.
View Wikipedia Record: Equus asinus

Invasive Species

Equus asinus (donkeys) resemble horses and are characterised by their large head, long ears and cow-like tail. They can be found in tropical savannas and arid hill country in Australia and other arid and desert habitats elsewhere in its range. In its invasive range, Equus asinus have deleterious and potentially irreversible impacts on native flora and fauna. Damage has been documented in plant communities, soils, wildlife and water quality. Management of this species can be difficult. Cultural pressures prevent lethal methods of management from being used. Typical management techniques involve removing the species from their natural habitat and placing them in reserves where they will not pose a threat. The growing number of feral donkeys, roaming free across Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia propitiate extensive hybridisation with their wild relative Equus africanus and thus contribute to the extinction of the E. africanus.
View ISSG Record: Equus asinus

EDGE Analysis

The African wild ass is a hardy animal which is well adapted to desert life. It can sustain water loss of up to 30% of its body weight, and can drink enough water in two to five minutes to restore fluid loss. The species was domesticated about 6,000 years ago, and is mentioned frequently in the Bible. Domestic donkeys are now found all over the world, yet only a few hundred of their wild ancestors survive. Populations of wild asses are decreasing as a result of hunting, competition with livestock for limited desert resources, and hybridization with domestic donkey.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 11.33
EDGE Score: 5.28
View EDGE Record: Equus asinus


Adult Weight [1]  363.76 lbs (164.998 kg)
Birth Weight [1]  66.139 lbs (30.00 kg)
Diet [2]  Herbivore
Diet - Plants [2]  100 %
Forages - Ground [2]  100 %
Female Maturity [1]  1 year 11 months
Male Maturity [1]  2 years 9 months
Gestation [1]  11 months 29 days
Litter Size [1]  1
Maximum Longevity [1]  47 years
Weaning [3]  1 year 1 month


Protected Areas

Prey / Diet

Cercidium floridum (Blue Palo Verde)[3]
Plantago ovata (desert Indianwheat)[3]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Callipepla gambelii (Gambel's Quail)1


Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture)[4]
Coragyps atratus (Black Vulture)[4]


Institutions (Zoos, etc.)


Africa; Australia; Europe & Northern Asia (excluding China); North America; Oceania; South America; Southern Asia;

External References



Attributes / relations provided by
1de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
2Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
3Equus asinus, Martha I. Grinder, Paul R. Krausman, and Robert S. Hoffmann, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 794, pp. 1-9 (2006)
4Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
5Species Interactions of Australia Database, Atlas of Living Australia, Version ala-csv-2012-11-19
6Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
7International Flea Database
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
Le Saout, S., Hoffmann, M., Shi, Y., Hughes, A., Bernard, C., Brooks, T.M., Bertzky, B., Butchart, S.H.M., Stuart, S.N., Badman, T. & Rodrigues, A.S.L. (2013) Protected areas and effective biodiversity conservation. Science, 342, 803–805
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License