The Equidae family is comprised of horses, donkeys, and zebras with only one existing family, Equus, which is made up of seven living species. The Equidae family most likely originated in North America, however, domestic zebras, horses, and donkeys now exist worldwide while wild horses and zebras exist only in Asia and Africa. All members of the Equidae family are herbivores, most of which graze on low quality vegetation to survive. In the wild Equidae, either live in close-knit herds led by a stallion or in fluid groups where the females float between males who possess resources. While only seven species currently exist, about 60 more species are known from fossils.

What are equines?

Equines are part of the mammal family, Equidae, that includes the modern horse, zebra, and ass. The equine family has 7 living species. Equines are odd-toed ungulates and have long, slender legs, long heads, long necks, manes, and long nails. All species of equines are herbivorous.

When did equines branch into horses and mules?

Mules are the result of breeding a female horse, and a male donkey. They were intentionally bred to bring out the best characteristics of horses and donkeys while eliminating any undesirable characteristics. Mules have been bred since 3,000 BCE.

What is the Coggins Test in equines?

The Coggins Test is a blood test in equines that is used to diagnose Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). This disease causes equines to have fevers, anemia, edema, weight loss, and muscle wasting. Infected horses carry the disease for life, and there is no vaccine nor treatment for EIA.

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Horses
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Donkey
Dimensioned drawing of an average donkey with measurements for height and length compared to a human farmer for scale

Donkeys, also known as asses or burros, are members of the horse family (Equidae) that are distinguished from horses by their stockier stature and floppy ears. With variations that include wild, feral, and domestic, donkeys are herd animals found around the world that are most commonly kept as beasts of burden that have assisted in the transportation of goods for thousands of years. On farms, donkeys are often bred as pets and for producing milk but they have also been found to act as guardians that help protect the other livestock. Male donkeys are called jacks, while female donkeys are known as jennies or jennets.

The average Donkey has an overall height of 43.0”-57.0” (109-145 cm), withers height of 36.0”-48.0” (92-123 cm), and body length of 57.0”-76.0” (145-193 cm). A typical Donkey weighs between 400-500 lb (180-225 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25-40 years.

Illustrations of a donkey as viewed from the side, front, and laying down
Donkeys, also known as asses or burros, are members of the horse family (Equidae) that are distinguished from horses by their stockier stature and floppy ears.

The average Donkey has an overall height of 43.0”-57.0” (109-145 cm), withers height of 36.0”-48.0” (92-123 cm), and body length of 57.0”-76.0” (145-193 cm). A typical Donkey weighs between 400-500 lb (180-225 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25-40 years.

Illustrations of a donkey as viewed from the side, front, and laying down
Donkey
Height:
43.0”-57.0” | 109-145 cm
Width:
Length:
57.0”-76.0” | 145-193 cm
Depth:
36.0”-48.0” | 92-123 cm
Weight:
400-500 lb | 180-225 kg
Area:

Uses: Milk, pack (transport), guardians

Equus asinus
Lifespan
25-40 years

Drawings include:
Donkey side elevation (standing), side (male farmer), front, side (laying down)

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Zebra
Drawing comparing the dimensions of a zebra to a human

Zebra are a variation of the horse family known for their uniquely distinct coats of black-and-white stripes. Typically traveling in herds, zebra are found in many different habitats throughout Africa including grasslands, savannas, mountains, hills, and woodlands. Not unlike a fingerprint, the coat patterns on every individual zebra are different and are used as a form of camouflage that makes it difficult for predators to target a single zebra in a herd.

The average Zebra has an overall height of 51.0"-75.0" (1.3-1.9 m), withers height of 42.0"-60.0" (1.1-1.5 m), and body length of 64.0"-96.0" (1.6-2.4 m). A typical Zebra weighs between 440-990 lb (200-450 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25 years.

Assortment of zebra illustrations from the side, front, back, and laying down
Zebra are a variation of the horse family known for their uniquely distinct coats of black-and-white stripes. Not unlike a fingerprint, the patterns on every individual zebra are different and are used as a form of camouflage that makes it difficult for predators to target a single zebra in a herd.

The average Zebra has an overall height of 51.0"-75.0" (1.3-1.9 m), withers height of 42.0"-60.0" (1.1-1.5 m), and body length of 64.0"-96.0" (1.6-2.4 m). A typical Zebra weighs between 440-990 lb (200-450 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25 years.

Assortment of zebra illustrations from the side, front, back, and laying down
Zebra
Height:
51.0"-75.0" (4’3”-6’3”) | 1.3-1.9 m
Width:
Length:
64.0"-96.0" (5’4”-8’) | 1.6-2.4 m
Depth:
42.0"-60.0" (3’6”-5’) | 1.1-1.5 m
Weight:
440-990 lb | 200-450 kg
Area:
Equus quagga
Lifespan
25 years

Drawings include:
Zebra side profile, front profile, back profile, laying down side profile

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