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International Donkey Week: 5 Facts About Donkeys We Now Know…

We’re big friends of The Donkey Sanctuary in Leeds following our personalised wrapping paper donation last year to local children that visited the sanctuary, so this year we thought we’d help promote The Donkey Sanctuary’s International Donkey Week 2016 at the Devon branch.

International Donkey Week is a chance for the public to get up close to the donkeys by grooming and cuddling them, as well as simply watching them calmly meander around their farmland. To celebrate this week, we thought we decided we’d try and brush up on our donkey knowledge and found these very interesting facts. If you love donkeys, now you can tell all your friends about these facts!

Fact 1: Donkeys in the UK have a Passport

This fact we found pretty hard to believe but yes, it really is true! Since 2005, it has been UK law that all donkeys must have a British passport. It’s not just donkeys though; all horses, ponies and related animals require a passport too.

Fact 2: Donkey Obesity is Actually Real…

The donkeys we have seen are all pretty trim but did you know it is actually very easy for a donkey to pile on the pounds and become obese? As grazing animals, they feed on hay and straw regularly and this can contribute to excess weight. According to research, the vast majority of donkeys are indeed overfed and really don’t need to be – these are animals that originate from conditions where there were limited food resources.

Fact 3: 40m Donkeys Exist Worldwide

That’s a lot of donkeys! Around 10m of these are believed to be in China where many are reared for their meat and many also become working donkeys in rural villages.

Fact 4: The Oldest Donkey in the UK is 51 Years Old

Most donkeys have a life expectancy of around 20 years but reports in recent years have shown that some live past 50 years old. There are sketchy facts on the oldest donkey currently living in the world, but according to The Telegraph, the oldest donkey in the UK is called Tessa and last year she celebrated her 51st birthday.  The previous record holder in the UK was Eeyore, who died in 2012 at the age of 55.

Fact 5: Donkeys and Mules are Different

As kids, we always thought a donkey and a mule were essentially the same thing. How wrong we were! Apparently a donkey is a descendant of the African wild ass whereas a mule is a cross between a female horse and a male donkey. There is also a “Hinny” which is a cross between a male horse and a female donkey. Wow, we never realised they were all so different! They all have unique characteristics too.

So there you have it, some interesting donkey facts in celebration of International Donkey Week! Donkeys really do rule :)