Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wild Burro

Wild burros in the western United States are descendants of donkeys that the Spanish brought. They were prized by prospectors in the southwest because of their hardiness in arid country. The name "burro" comes from the Spanish word for donkey. Unlike wild horses which live together, burros live separate from each other. They communicate by braying which can be heard three miles away. They can defend themselves by powerful kicks of their hind legs, biting and striking with their front hooves. They adapt well to the desert because their digestive system can break down near-inedible vegetation and extract moisture from food efficiently. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gives them protection in the United States and they are managed by the BLM. I have seen burros on only two occasions. First was last year, when Chris and I climbed Boundary Peak, the tallest mountain in Nevada.
The burro above was off by itself, but near a herd of wild horses. In November 2010, while retracing George Q. Cannon's 1849 route, I found four burros in Blue Diamond, Nevada. I fell in love with them. They were just off the road, and as I rolled my car window down to take a picture, two came quickly over and tried to put their heads in my window.
So I got out of my car to take the picture, and they came up to me, nuzzling me with their noses and crowding me so closely that I couldn't photograph them. I ultimately had to wait for them to move away a bit, then take a couple of pictures before they again came up to the car.
I was ready to adopt a wild burro then and there (the BLM, in managing wild horses and burros, does auction some off every year).
I love the black stripe off the shoulder and the faint black stripes on the legs.


  1. Oh yes, A Burro in the Backyard sounds like a wonderful title for your next book!

  2. Or how about, I wish I could give my son a wild burro.

  3. Funny... I love to drive out to Blue Diamond just to pet the burros when I want to get out of the house for a few minutes! They're always so darn happy to see me and look forward to whatever I bring along. (To my disappointment a couple of weeks ago I picked up a brochure from Red Rock Canyon and it talked about how feeding them is against the law however.)