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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a "burro" and a "donkey"?"
    The short answer? Nothing! They're both "equus asinus." The word "burro" is the Spanish word for "donkey" although commonly in the Southwestern United States the word burro is used for wild/feral (and formerly wild) donkeys while the word donkey is reserved for domestically bred animals (miniatures, standards, and mammoths). There are no native species of "wild" donkeys in the United States: the donkeys found roaming in the United States are descendants of domestic equus asinus released (often after boom-mining towns died out). There are several species of true wild donkeys in African and Asia: Equus Africanus (African Wild Ass) Equus Somalicus (Somali Wild Ass) Equus Hemionus (this includes the Asian Wild Ass and subspecia of Kulan and Onager) Equus Kiang (Kiang) Many of the above species are endangered and none are domesticated.
  • How do I know if I have a burro or a donkey?
    The word "burro" is simply the Spanish word for a donkey. In the Southwestern United States the word burro is used for wild/feral (and formerly wild) donkeys while the word donkey is reserved for domestically bred animals (miniatures, standards, and mammoths). All burros are donkeys, but depending on your geogrpahical location, not all donkeys are burros. If your donkey was formerly wild then rounded up and adopted out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) it will have a freezebrand on the left side of its neck. This freezebrand is a unique code that states the estimated year your donkey was born, what state it was processed in, and its 4-digit ID number. An example of a freeze brand on a brown burro is pictured.
  • What is a mule? What is a hinny? How about a zedonk and a zonkey? How do I tell them all apart?
    Mule, hinny, zedonk, and zonkey are all donkey hybrid animals. This means that one parent was a donkey and the other was a horse or a zebra. Which animal is the sire (father) and which is the dam (mother) is what determines the name of the hybrid. A mule is a donkey sire (father) and horse dam (mother). A hinny is a horse sire (father) and donkey dam (mother). A zedonk is a zebra sire (father) and donkey dam (mother). A zonkey is a donkey sire (father) and zebra dam (mother). All of the hybrids are generally sterile, though there have been a few instances of female mules being able to reproduce. This is due to the number of chromosomes of the hybrid. Horses have 64 chromosomes, donkeys have 62, and zebras have between 32 and 46 (it depends on the species of zebra). Mules and hinnys recieve 32 chromosomes from their horse parent and 31 chromosomes from their donkey parent, resulting in 63 chromosomes. Zedonks and zonkeys can be differentiated from mules, hinnys, and donkeys by their zebra characteristics (typically they inherit large amounts of body striping from their zebra half - mules may have leg striping, dorsal stripes, and even "cobwebbing" on their face). When it comes to mules and hinnys only a genetic test, or knowing their parents/breeding, can be used to tell them apart. Mules are far more common than hinnys as conception is far higher when the lower chromosome parent is the sire (father). Breeding hinnys is hit and miss.
  • How can you tell the difference between a mule (or hinny) and a donkey/burro?
    To tell the difference between a donkey-hybrid and a donkey/burro start by looking at the tail: a donkey has a tufted tail while a mule (or hinny) has a tail like a horse. The other key piece is to look at the chestnuts: donkeys only have chestnuts on their front legs while mules, like horses, have them on all four.
  • Do I need to own a burro, mule, hinny or other long ear to participate in BRAY events?"
    While most partcipants are owners some people lease animals or volunteer at rescues. BRAY does not offer rental animals.
  • How can I get updates for events with BRAY?
    Follow us on Facebook or keep watch of our events page for updates.
  • I'm looking to adopt a donkey, do you have any available?"
    BRAY does not have animals available for adoption or sale, however, we know of several rescues that can assist you in your search. Feel free to email us for more information.
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