A zonkey is a hybrid animal breed that is part zebra, part donkey. Zonkeys are known for being very strong pack animals.
Zonkeys are rare animals because the two breeds that are necessary to create the hybrid do not share the same number of chromosomes. Zebras have approximately 26 to 30 fewer chromosomes than donkeys making conception almost impossible. Zonkeys look like donkeys with stripes. The zonkey itself is usually sterile and cannot reproduce on its own.
Other names for zonkey include:
- Zedonk (the name given to one with a zebra mother and donkey father)
Zonkeys have been around since approximately 1859, when they are first mentioned in the writings of Charles Darwin, and breeders have been experimenting with zebra/equine hybrids as early as 1815. The majority of zonkeys are the result of the successful mating of a donkey mother and a zebra father. Zebra mothers successfully mating with a donkey father are even more rare.
Zonkeys are herbivores, eating plants to survive. Zonkeys in the wild are found in areas of Africa where herds of zebras compete with domestic animals for food.
While they make great pack animals and are strong, zonkeys can be somewhat aggressive toward humans and other animals due to the genetic makeup of the non-domesticated parent. Zonkeys can run up to 25 mph. They live anywhere from 15 to 25 years and can reach weights of up to 318 kg (700 pounds) and can stand as tall as 1.5 meters (5 feet).