• Considered to be similar to the horse.
  • But the donkey’s large ears have an added sound-gathering advantage.
  • Like the horse, the donkey has the ability to move its ears to locate the source of the sound.
  • Donkeys DO NOT like their ears pulled – their ears are very personal!
  • The feral donkey is a very alert animal, aided by its acute hearing. 


  • The donkey’s sense of smell is considered to be similar to the horse.
  • Donkeys greet each other by smelling and blowing in each other’s noses.  The smell of breath imparts important information to the donkey.
  • So greeting donkeys by blowing up their noses is an effective way to reassure them that you are friendly. 


  • Sight is not as good as the horse, and like the horse, they have a blind spot immediately in front of the nose and behind the head.
  • They have good peripheral vision with their head down when grazing, but poor ability to see high objects.
  • They have good binocular vision.  Donkeys like the horse view any threats with their binocular vision.
  • It is thought they have the same colour vision as the horse.  They can clearly differentiate between the major colours.
  • Donkeys don’t seem to bother with direct eye contact.  It seems to be less important than in horses. 


  • Donkeys have a very sweet tooth and are very partial to fruit.
  • They love walnuts and will crack them and spit out the shells.
  • Like the horse, they will not eat musty feed, and will not eat out of dirty containers so their ability to smell must be acute. 

Donkey’s gait

  • Donkeys are naturally slow movers and impatient humans find this frustrating.
  • They do not show all the varied gaits of the horse.
  • At speed, they move like a zebra or a sheep in a bouncy gait and appear to have all four feet off the ground at the same time.