Can Donkeys Defend Themselves?

Although donkeys are herbivores and therefore prey animals, they have been known for their ability to defend themselves better than the majority of other prey animals. It’s not uncommon to hear stories from the owners of donkeys, of just how well they defended themselves against a mountain lion, coyote and in some cases even killing smaller predators.

While they can defend themselves against some smaller predators, they are still prey to other predators all over the world like Pumas, jaguars, wolves, leopards, bears, lions, tigers, alligators and crocodiles. Donkeys cannot deal with multiple canine attackers or against mountain lions, bears, wolves, or feral hogs. Donkeys also won’t typically protect against smaller predators, like raccoons, or against large birds.

Will All Donkeys Defend Themselves?

Although Donkeys have an innate ability to defend themselves from small predators like coyotes, some donkeys may naturally go into flight rather than fight mode. Some donkeys could become skittish, resulting in the donkey running away from predators leaving them more vulnerable when trying to escape.

Why Are Donkeys More Aggressive?

Donkeys are semi-solitary in the wild, somewhat like deer. Desert animals, need to go far from each other in order to search for food. As donkeys can’t run as fast, they often need to face down their predators. Even mountain lions and wolves will usually back off by the donkeys’ un-prey like behavior.

“The donkey species has evolved over time to mask their discomfort or anxiety as a means of survival from prey animals”

How Do Donkeys Defend Themselves?

Donkeys that decide to attack a predator will become very aggressive, with their main weapons being their teeth and hooves. They may bray loudly. One of the first things a donkey will do will be to charge at the threat attempting to chase it away. If the donkey is angry and confident enough to confront the predator, they will typically attempt to bite at the predator’s neck, back, chest or buttocks. A donkey that’s in attack mode will also slash out with its hooves or turn and kick the predator, causing serious damage. Experienced owners strongly suggest that you shouldn’t attempt to stop a donkey that is charging or attacking and that afterwards. It’s best to first allow a donkey to calm down before approaching it.