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Because of this and the longer gestation period, donkey breeders do not expect to obtain a foal every year, as horse breeders often do, but may plan for three foals in four years.
Like other inter-species hybrids, mules and hinnies are usually sterile.The hybrid between a jack and a mare is a mule, valued as a working and riding animal in many countries.Some large donkey breeds such as the Asino di Martina Franca, the Baudet de Poitou and the Mammoth Jack are raised only for mule production.As beasts of burden and companions, asses and donkeys have worked together with humans for millennia.Traditionally, the scientific name for the donkey is Equus asinus asinus based on the principle of priority used for scientific names of animals.Working donkeys in the poorest countries have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years; Donkeys are adapted to marginal desert lands.
Unlike wild and feral horses, wild donkeys in dry areas are solitary and do not form harems.
Other words used for the ass in English from this time include cuddy in Scotland, neddy in southwest England and dicky in the southeast; Donkeys vary considerably in size, depending on breed and management.
The height at the withers ranges from 7.3 to 15.3 hands (31 to 63 inches, 79 to 160 cm), and the weight from 80 to 480 kg (180 to 1,060 lb).
However, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled in 2003 that if the domestic species and the wild species are considered subspecies of one another, the scientific name of the wild species has priority, even when that subspecies was described after the domestic subspecies.
This means that the proper scientific name for the donkey is Equus africanus asinus when it is considered a subspecies, and Equus asinus when it is considered a species.
Remains of domestic donkeys dating to the fourth millennium BC have been found in Ma'adi in Lower Egypt, and it is believed that the domestication of the donkey was accomplished long after the domestication of cattle, sheep and goats in the seventh and eighth millennia BC.