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Aruba, wild donkeys and cuteness overload

Did you know that donkey’s have been around since even before the dynasty of the Egyptian civilization we learned about in secondary school? It’s true, the modern donkey dates back over 6,000 years! While they are found in the murals of the tomb of the New Kingdom pharaoh Tutankhamun as hunted animals, their importance is much greater than that. Since even then the donkeys have been a desert-adapted animal, able to carry heavy loads.

donkey sanctuary aruba

Unfortunately, in some parts of the world these animals need to be protected. Introduced to Aruba by the Spanish around 1527, donkeys were originally used as transportation. Once cars and population picked up, many were simply just let go into the wild. Being domesticated animals, without proper care and feeding many died of disease and a safe haven was needed. In 1997, that safe haven opened and was aptly named the Donkey Sanctuary.

Since then, the owners have been committed to not only saving the donkeys on the island, but also making education about them a fun, family attraction in Aruba. In addition to being able to pet and cuddle the animals, if you arrive early enough, families can even help feed and care for them. During our visit to Aruba, this was easily my son’s most favorite activity along with the visit to the Butterfly Farm

donkey sanctuary aruba

If you’d like to take it a step further, through Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino‘s partnership with the Donkey Sanctuary, travelers can participate in the Support the Donkeys program by donating $10 towards maintaining sanctuary in exchange for a commemorative purse or backpack that makes for a great trip souvenir. Travelers can also adopt a donkey for $200 per year, which goes towards ensuring the donkeys receive food and water, shelter, quality medical care, and of course…lots of love.

donkey sanctuary aruba

Fun Facts about Donkeys

Because Donkeys are desert-adapted they can go up to four days without water! But, when water is available, the donkey drinks 10 to 15 liters of water a day – that’s a lot! Unfortunately, the rest of a donkey’s diet isn’t so great. They survive on grass, leaves, seeds and even cactus, but they actually prefer sweets like fruit and sugar lumps, even though it’s bad for their digestion and their teeth.

Given their poor diet decisions it’s surprising that the average life span is between 35 and 40 years but donkeys have lived as long as 50. Unlike people, a donkey becomes an adult at only five years old. You can determine the age of a donkey by it’s teeth; younger donkeys have oval teeth and older donkeys teeth are more round.

Donkeys are social animals who like to live in groups ranging in size from two to sixteen. They rarely leave these groups unless they are ill, recently had birth, or are too old to keep up.

How Donkeys and Horses Differ: The easiest way to tell Donkey from a Horse is the way they look. Donkeys are short and stout, whereas horses are taller and slimmer. Donkeys also have shorter manes and tails.

donkey sanctuary aruba

All of the fun facts and cool information written here is provided by the Donkey Sanctuary but they have so much more to offer. Be sure to check them out on your next trip to Aruba.

Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has led her to 38 countries in 5 years. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and building LEGOs with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in her husband's underwear drawer.

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27 Comments

  1. February 17, 2016 at 11:12 am — Reply

    When I think of donkeys I am reminded of the time of christ and how donkeys were used them. I have not heard of the donkey sanctuary but sounds like they are doing amazing work

  2. February 17, 2016 at 1:52 am — Reply

    This looks like such a fun place and I had no idea donkey’s lived to be so long.

  3. February 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm — Reply

    This would be so fun to visit! We live in a rural area where people keep donkeys in with the cows or goats as protection. And, they are so adorable when there’s a little baby. Baby donkeys are so cute!

  4. February 16, 2016 at 9:18 am — Reply

    This was fascinating. I had no idea about half of these facts. I like donkeys and it’s horrifying the way they are sometimes treated. The Donkey Sanctuary is a godsend for these animals.

  5. Chris Hoov
    February 16, 2016 at 4:33 am — Reply

    Such a lovely pics! I’m sure your son had fun with donkeys, my son would also love play with donkeys.

  6. February 15, 2016 at 10:33 pm — Reply

    It would really be fun to interact with the donkeys especially for kids. They would really love and learn a lot from their experience.

  7. February 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm — Reply

    awwww…. look at these donkeys!!!!! they’re so cute!!!!

  8. February 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm — Reply

    I clearly didn’t know much about donkeys after reading this. I’ve certainly learned a thing or two. I love to see kids with animals.

  9. February 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    I know this sounds crazy but I love donkeys! My husband is from a rural part of Italy and we go every summer. There are a few farms in the area with wild donkeys…they are so cute and so docile (at least the ones I came across!).

  10. February 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm — Reply

    I never would have thought that there was a donkey sanctuary like this!! What a great place to visit in Aruba.

  11. February 15, 2016 at 12:23 pm — Reply

    So much fun to see children interacting with different animals. That way they learn how to be around them and to appreciate them.

  12. February 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm — Reply

    Really cute pictures indeed & your kid adds more cuteness to them. I would love to take my kids to one such sanctuary & they are going to be really excited seeing those donkeys in huge numbers.

  13. February 15, 2016 at 10:58 am — Reply

    How awesome! I would love to see this and they are doing such great work. The donkeys look so sweet and Aruba would be wonderful to visit. Putting it on my bucket list!

  14. February 15, 2016 at 10:47 am — Reply

    This looks like such a cool place. My kids would love to get up close to the donkeys like this. I’d love to visit Aruba.

  15. February 15, 2016 at 10:01 am — Reply

    Oh my gosh, the Donkeys are so adorable, I love visiting zoo’s and wildlife parks. So much fun!

  16. February 15, 2016 at 8:33 am — Reply

    I didn’t realize that donkeys life span could be that long! Whistler looks like he was having a good time.

  17. February 15, 2016 at 7:14 am — Reply

    You’re totally right – that’s definitely cuteness overload right there! Gotta love donkeys.

  18. February 15, 2016 at 7:00 am — Reply

    My daughter would enjoy something like this. She just love animals and thanks for the facts. I had no idea donkey’s lived to be so long.

  19. February 15, 2016 at 6:45 am — Reply

    I’m so glad the Donkey Sanctuary offers a safe haven for donkeys. What a great place to visit with the kids. Your pics are adorable. Love the Donkey of the Week board!

  20. February 15, 2016 at 5:26 am — Reply

    wow, so interesting, very fun photos, looks like you guys had a blasting visiting that donkey sanctuary.

  21. February 14, 2016 at 7:22 pm — Reply

    Would love to visit Aruba! They usually have donkey’s in the mall around Easter time!

  22. February 14, 2016 at 1:11 pm — Reply

    I want to go to Aruba. That is cool that they are doing what they can to preserve donkies. I’ve seen a few donkies near where I live. I haven’t seen one up close though.

  23. February 14, 2016 at 8:01 am — Reply

    Oh how cute they are! I remember when we went to San Antonio Texas zoo, the kids were allowed to pet the donkeys as well.

  24. February 13, 2016 at 4:02 pm — Reply

    That looks like so much for for the little guys! And it looks like your little guy had so much fun!

  25. Stacey
    February 12, 2016 at 9:21 pm — Reply

    I’ve seen a lot of donkey’s in my life but never in Aruba! I hope I get to go there someday!

  26. February 12, 2016 at 6:45 pm — Reply

    Donkeys are cute and your son looked like he had a blast. These are good to know about donkeys.

  27. February 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm — Reply

    The cuteness is almost overwhelming. Your little man is so cute with that donkey. Adorable.

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