MY WHAT BIG EARS YOU HAVE!
Often we get the sweetest inquiries from children asking, “Why do donkeys have such big ears?”. It is a really good question.
Donkeys are desert dwellers and are native to dry, hot climates with sparse, woody vegetation. Unlike horses, donkeys do not cluster in tight herds for grazing in abundant grass lands. Donkeys spread out over large dry environments browsing and rooting up woody vegetation. Often a specific donkey herd will be spread out over a mile or more browsing. It has been determined that Mother Nature, in all of her wisdom, designed donkeys with large ears so they could communicate at great distances. Literally, donkey ears act as long distance antennas receiving vital communication from other herd members. This information is imperative to the survival and safety of the herd.
Secondly, research has shown that donkey’s ears act as a cooling agent. Due to their large surface area donkey ears are able to sweat and cool a donkey’s overall body temperature. These automatic cooling devices are critical to survival in hot desert temperatures.
So, ‘long ears’ are not simply adorable, but they are inherently functional and vital to donkey survival.