|The Donkey (Latin: Equus asinus) or African donkey is from the family of horses of the order perissodactyla. All domesticated donkeys belong to African donkeys, while the domestication of Asian donkeys was never possible.
Unlike the horse, the donkey has hooves, which are adaptable to stony and uneven surfaces. The hooves help the donkey to move more safely but are not suitable for fast races. Nevertheless, in isolated cases, a donkey can accelerate momentum up to 70 km/hr. Donkeys originate from countries with an arid climate. The hooves of adonkeys badly endure the moist European climate and quite often form deep running cracks and holes, in which rot clumps hide. Therefore, the care of a donkey's hooves is extremely important.
The color of a donkey can vary from gray, brown or black and occasionally white breeds are also encountered. The stomach is usually light and also the front portion of the muzzle and the area around the eyes. Donkeys have a rough mane and tail ending in a brush. The ears are much longer than the ears of horses.
Depending upon the breed, donkeys can grow up to a height of 90 to 160 cm and reach puberty at the age of 2 to 2.5 years. Basically, pairing is possible all year round, however usually, as a rule, in occurs in the spring. Pregnancy lasts for 12 to 14 months, after which one or two offspring, at between 6 to 9 months become independent.
The peculiarities of Donkeys:
Apart from the external differences from horses, several peculiarities also exist, which are not noticeable at first sight. One of them is the different number of vertebras. Also, donkeys have only 31 pairs of chromosomes while there are 32 pairs in horses. The body temperature of donkeys is a little less and it is 37 °C instead of 38°C. Also, donkeys have longer pregnancy periods.
Two sterile (infertile) hybrid forms are possible through the inter-specific hybridization of donkeys and horses:
* Mule (hybrid of a donkey and mare);
* Hinny or ass (hybrid of a stallion and jenny)
Wild and feral populations
As in the case of horses, it is necessary to distinguish the primordially wild and feral donkeys. Once the wild donkeys existed divided into several subspecies in northern Africa and Asia near the East; however as a result of domestication, the donkeys almost disappeared already during the Roman Era. Presently, donkeys are found in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan; a small population managed to get accustomed to the reserves of Israel. In 1980, the total number of wild donkeys was estimated to be one thousand individuals and since then, the number has dramatically reduced. In Somalia, wild donkeys, as a result of civil war and anarchy, could have completely disappeared, in Ethiopia and Sudan, the same destiny probably awaits them in near future. The single country with a rather stable population of wild donkeys is Eritrea, where the total number is somewhere around 400.
Feral once domesticated donkeys still exist in many regions of the world. Countries in which the wild donkeys are still present are also the natural habitat for feral donkeys and zoologists are of the opinion that both the groups of donkeys may mix up, which may destroy the “genetic purity” of wild donkeys. About 1.5 million feral donkeys wander on the steppes of Australia. In the southwest of the USA approximately 6 thousand feral donkeys live, which are called burros and are under protection. One of a few European populations of feral donkey is encountered in Cyprus on the peninsula Karpasia. They are dark-brown or black in color and are much larger than other donkeys. Often, zebra-type stripes are observed on the legs.
* The donkey is considered as symbol of “asinine” obstinacy and foolishness;
* The ass is a Symbol of the democratic party of the USA;
* The donkey is also associated with piracy on internet (eMule, eDonkey).
The cart or carriage is the most common collective name of the various transport vehicles which are dragged by animals, independent of design features, number of wheels , usage area etc.
According to the field of application, carts are divided into passenger and cargo (earlier military carts also existed) and according to the number of wheels — two-wheeled (uniaxial) and four-wheel (biaxial).
The load carrying capacity of a cart is up to 750 kg (for uniaxial) and up to two tons (for biaxial).
The modern cart vehicles are quite often equipped with pneumatic tires and sometimes with pneumatic or hydraulic brakes.|