Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Miniature Mediterranean Donkey

Equus asinus

Miniature Mediterranean donkeys are considered a separate breed of donkey hailing from the Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily. This breed is valued for being tame and gentle.

Range & Habitat

Originated in the Mediterranean area of northern Africa, and have been established in the areas of Sicily, Sardinia, and the United States.  


In the Wild: Grasses, shrubs, and desert plants.

At the Zoo: Hay and mineral supplements.

Life Span

In the Wild: 25-30 years; In Human Care: 30-35 years.

Fun Facts about the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey

  • There are 3 categories of donkeys: Miniature (36 inches tall and under), Standard (37-54 inches tall), and Mammoths (greater than 54 inches tall.)
  •  The miniature Mediterranean donkey uses vocalizations to communicate with other donkeys. Some of their vocalizations are so loud that they can be heard from over a mile away.
  •  Miniature Mediterranean donkeys curl their top lip up and show their front teeth when they discover a new or interesting smell. This response is called a “flehmen response,” and it helps to move smells to an organ that processes new smells.


Meggitt, J. (2017, November 21). The Habitat of the Sicilian Donkey. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Miniature donkey. (2018, July 11). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

Updated September 26, 2020