Many have never crossed paths with a donkey. These special animals deserve to have more light shed on them - positive light. Here's my list of 5 things I think are really special about the donkey.
1. Their intelligence
You might be surprised to know that it has been proven that donkeys are more intelligent than horses. Oftentimes mistaken for stubbornness and general lack of cooperation, a donkey will not put itself in any situation that it decides is unsafe. Donkeys are survivors, and in order to survive in the wild, they are able to reason and think independently. Reasoning is a higher level of cognition that horses have not been proven to have. Donkeys are able weigh their options and decide what might benefit them the best. Donkeys also have an excellent memory and are able to remember other donkeys and humans they have met up to 25 years ago.
2. Their "fight" instinct
Also contributing to that idea of the stubborn donkey is the fact that a donkey has a higher "fight" than "flight" instinct, which is the opposite of the horse. Donkeys do not get startled easily, and are much more likely to stand their ground and put up a fight - if needed. It isn't unheard of to see a donkey fighting a predator. This is why many farmers will put a donkey in with their livestock herd.
3. Their browsing ability
A donkey is incredibly efficient with it's diet and does not require much food. Up to 95% of the food they consume can be utilized. Additionally, donkeys are much less picky than horses because they are browsers, not grazers. A browser will eat leaves, bark, stems, etc. - which gives them an advantage in places like the desert or in the snow when ground vegetation is sparse or covered.
4. Their ears
Of course, their ears are adorable. But that isn't all. Donkeys are endemic to the Middle East and parts of Africa (the desert). Their large ears not only help them hear other donkeys up to 60 miles away, but also help them dissipate heat.
5. The connection they form with humans
My personal favorite. I think the best thing about donkeys is the bond they are able to form with humans. Because of the donkey’s high level of intelligence, they do not blindly trust and take some winning over. With that being said, once you have made friends with your donkey, you have a friend for life. One that will never forget you!