If you like to be beside the seaside in the UK, chances are you’ll find a line of children on the beach queuing to have a ride on a donkey.
With their soulful eyes and snuggly fur, these cute creatures have been our sturdy helpers in times of peace, war and work. We even have donkey sanctuaries dotted around the country to give them a comfortable place to retire and spend their twilight years.
Such is our affection for these animals that they have their own special date in the calendar, on 8 May it is World Donkey Day.
So we thought we’d share some little-known facts about them.
Did you know if you were to challenge a donkey to a memory game the chances are that you’d lose? It seems they are able to remember places they’ve been to before and recognise pals they haven’t seen for 25 years.
Cautious is their middle name. Donkeys are extremely safety conscious and if they fear a situation is likely to be dangerous, they do their best to stay away from it. It’s a trait that is often mistaken for stubbornness.
They may only have a fur coat to their name but like humans, they love to look good and when the need arises will help clean and groom each other.
If someone they love is moved or taken away from them, like any of us, they get very upset. They’re social animals who get lonely when they’re by themselves because they form deep bonds with their friends and family.
- Offer them a drink of water that’s dirty and it will be a definite no as they pride themselves on being hygienic.
- The world is home to 44 million donkeys and with 186 different breeds of donkey, they come in all shapes and sizes. Their natural habitats are deserts and savannahs so prefer dry, warm places.
- In their natural habitat they dig their hooves into the ground to access water which in turn provides birds, chipmunks and other small animals with life-saving hydration.
- Their big ears enable them to hear from long distances and they communicate by braying, grunting, squealing, snorting and even growling.
- Unfortunately, in many countries donkeys are exploited, treated badly or even killed, so May 8 is all about raising awareness and showing that behind the pretty face they really are hee-haw-some.