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Interesting Donkey FAQs to Keep You Kicking!

Q: Who is the oldest donkey ever reported?

A: The record for the oldest documented age for a donkey belongs to Bubbles, who celebrated her 60th birthday at Hatton Country World earlier this year. According to her pet passport, Bubbles was born in 1959 – age 180 in human years and around 20 years older than a donkey’s average lifespan. She was the first donkey at the farm, where she has been at home since the early 90s. The milestone birthday also means she has taken the crown from former record-breaker Suzy, who entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest donkey in 2002, aged 54. Bubbles celebrated her big day by tucking into carrots and cake, surrounded by staff and visitors at the family attraction. Manager Richard Craddock said: “Bubbles loves attention and is still going strong despite her grand old age. She is surprisingly very placid and not particularly stubborn like donkeys usually are. The average life span of a donkey is 25-30 years. The ratio for humans and donkeys is 1 to 16, so a 3-year-old donkey is 48.

Q: What animals do donkeys dislike the most?

A: The donkey's herding instinct combined with its inherent dislike and aggressiveness towards coyotes can make it an effective livestock guard animal if managed properly. Donkeys rely predominantly on sight and sound to detect intruders. Donkeys also have a natural dislike of foxes, wild dogs, and other members of the canid family. They do however love hummingbirds.

Q: Why do people call donkeys the 4x4 versions of horses?

A: Donkeys are much more all-terrain animal than horses are. Donkeys are in fact a highly intelligent animal despite popular misconception. A donkey is stronger than a horse of the same size. Donkeys have an incredible memory – they can recognize areas and other donkeys they were with up to 25 years ago.

Q: Why are donkeys such great pets?

A: For many reasons, but in short, they are typically very sweet and gentle and covet human contact. They are quite smart, however, and hate being yelled at or forced into anything. Donkeys naturally enjoy the company of their own kind and when other donkeys are not present, they may bond with horses, mules or other small stock. Due to their territorial nature, introduction to livestock must be supervised and take place over safe fencing.

Sources:, Wikipedia and BBC News

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I have had the pleasure of having two donkeys over the years. They were used mainly for backpacking with our family. They are not stubborn. When a donkey won't cross water or walk on a narrow trail, it is because he has assessed the risk and won't take it. The person has to earn the burro's trust and patiently train him to cross bridges, water, steep cliffs and so forth. Also, his pack bag must be weighed and carefully balanced within two pounds on each side. if the load is unbalanced or it slips and is too high on one side and too low on the other, he is likely to stop until the humans figure out the problem.


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