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The Zonkey is a hybrid animal that is created by cross-breeding two different species of animal that belong to the same genetic group. It is a hybrid cross between a zebra and a donkey. Technically, a zonkey is the hybrid of a zebra father (sire) and a donkey mother (dam). Hybrids of a donkey father and zebra mother are called a “zedonk,” or sometimes a “donkra.”
See the fact file below for more information on the zonkey or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Zonkey worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Charles Darwin wrote about zonkeys in the “Origin of Species” (1859), so we know that there were at least some around then. And a man by the name of Lord Morton experimented with hybrid horses as early as 1815.
- Zonkey hybrids have been bred in captivity since the 19th century.
- The Zonkeys Lifespan ranges from 15-25 years and a weight range of Zonkeys is 227kg – 318kg.
ZONKEY ANATOMY AND APPEARANCE
- The zebra and the donkey are closely related to one another and both belong to the horse family which means these two species share a number of similar characteristics, including their size.
- The Zonkey tends to be of a similar size to these animals but takes on a more definitive donkey-like appearance, with the obvious exception of inheriting the uniquely-striped pattern on their fur from their zebra parent.
- Zonkeys have a typical small horse shape. They are tan, brown, or gray in overall color, but with a lighter underside. The Zonkey’s darker stripes are most prominent on the lighter parts of the body and their legs.
- They have a black mane which runs the entire length of the ridge of their back to the tip if their tail, which is also usually black. Their head and ears are both large, looking more like a donkey than a zebra.
- Generally preferring to inhabit savannas and open woodlands throughout their historical range, zebras are often found in enormous herds particularly on the Serengeti plains where they migrate thousands of miles following the rains that bring new grass.
- Some are also found in close proximity to Human settlements where they are known to have to compete with domestic livestock, such as donkeys, for food.
- It is in these areas where Zonkeys are most likely to be produced naturally in the wild as it gives the two separate species the opportunity to mate. Sadly, however, the world’s Zonkeys tend to be found in zoos and animal institutions where they are generally bred deliberately.
HEALTH AND DIET
- Zonkeys are herbivores, eating only plant material. The vast majority of their diet consists of grasses and herbs that grow on the ground.They have flat, broad teeth for grazing and grinding down the fibrous grass.
- Zonkeys also like to browse for other types of food including fruits and berries which are found growing more commonly in less arid areas. In less arid areas, they sometimes browse in trees and shrubs for other types of food, including fruits and berries.
- There are many other animal species which have very similar feeding habits to wild zonkeys, so they spend much of their time moving from area to area to find better food sources.
ZONKEY BEHAVIOUR AND LIFESTYLE
- The Zonkey is a typical equid, in that they are grazing animals, and are active during the day (diurnal). They are a herd animal that seeks other zonkeys or equids.
- Along with their stripes, the other thing that Zonkeys seem to inherit from their zebra parent is their wild streak as they too are known to be fairly aggressive towards humans and sometimes other animals.
- One of the Zonkey’s most favourable characteristics is their sheer power which is made up of the stamina of the donkey mixed with the speed and strength of the zebra, which has led to them to being used as work animals mainly to pull heavy loads.
REPRODUCTION OF ZONKEY
- For a Zonkey to be produced, a male Zebra must have mated with a female Donkey (if the parents are the other way round the offspring is known as a Zedonk).
- After a gestation period that can last for more than a year, the female donkey gives birth to a single Zonkey foal that, like zebra and donkey foals, is able to stand up just minutes after birth.
- The Zonkey foal would generally remain with its mother until it was between five and six months old when it would become independent and join another herd.
- Like numerous other hybrid animals, the Zonkeyitself cannot produce offspring of its own, as the cross-breeding of two different species often results in their young being sterile and unable to continue a population.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Zonkey across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Zonkey worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Zonkey which is a hybrid animal that is created by cross-breeding two different species of animal that belong to the same genetic group.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Zonkey Facts
- Facts about Zonkey
- Animal Hybrids
- A Visit to the Zoo
- Crossword Puzzle
- News Flash
- Tell a Story
- Zonkey Message
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Link will appear as Zonkey Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 21, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.