Donkeys are surprisingly intelligent creatures

May 15, 2017 9:39 pm Last Updated: May 15, 2017 9:39 pm


These videos may change your opinion of donkeys, which are often considered a lowly beast of burden. But many people may not know how intelligent and beneficial donkeys are.

A separate species from horses, donkeys are very strong and mild-mannered animals that have long been used by humans for transportation and carrying supplies throughout the world.

Nora Matthews, a veterinarian at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University, has spent the last 15 years studying donkeys. She said the term “horse sense” should have been applied to donkeys instead.

“Many people think—and I am one of them—that donkeys are smarter than horses,” she said.

“In fact, they are very intelligent creatures who don’t scare as easily as horses. When threatened, they tend to freeze, which is probably how they got the reputation of being stubborn.”

Donkeys can also withstand heat better, they can go longer without water than a horse, and they are more resistant to many diseases than horses. Donkeys can live longer than horses too, said Matthews. It’s not uncommon for donkeys to live 40 years or more.


Another useful trait of donkeys is they can guard a herd of sheep against predators such as coyotes and wolves.

Additionally, donkeys are very affectionate, easily trainable, and respond well to voice commands.

Maybe next time you see a donkey, you will remember the benefits of this remarkable animal!