Wild Burro (Equus asinus) - Bare Mountains, Beatty Nevada

11/18/2013 Trip Notes: As I was exploring the eastern side of the Bare Mountains, just south of Beatty Nevada, in an area once known as the Fluorine District, a.k.a. Bare Mountain District, when I came upon two small bands of Burros, as seen in (Figs. 02-04 below). (Click on picture to enlarge)  Using the maximum telephoto setting on my camera, I was eventually able to capture several close-up pictures (Figs. 01, 05 and 06)) before they decided to scamper off into the desert. I especially like the family portrait in (Fig. 06).
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Description: Wild Burro (Donkey) (Equus asinus). There is no formal cutoff between the terminology "donkey," "burro" and "ass". A small donkey is sometimes called a burro (from the Spanish word for the animal). Burros grow to be about half the size of a horse and weigh between 400 and 600 pounds. Burros also "bray" instead of "whinny". Males are called jacks, and females are called jennies. The differences between horses and burros are generally easy to see. Burros have longer ears and short manes and tails. Babies are born once per year usually between March and July. In the wild, mountain lions are the only natural predator. Nevada is home to most of the nation's wild burros.
In fiscal year 1988 the estimate was 1,318 burros, which has grown significantly since then. Wild burros can quickly overpopulate an area. They have long life spans and are not very susceptible to predation or disease. Left unchecked, wild burro numbers can double in four years. That can severely impact desert rangelands with scattered, small water sources like we have in Nevada. To bring wild horse and burro numbers in balance with the available food and water, BLM gathers hundreds of excess wild horses and burros from Nevada ranges every year. Once captured, excess animals are transported to BLM corral facilities where they are vaccinated to prevent illness or disease and given lots to eat and drink. BLM also assigns each animal a unique number – or freeze mark. Once they are ready, they are made available for adoption through BLM’s Adopt-A-Burro Program.
The burro prefers Indian rice grass and four-wing saltbush, but will eat whatever it can to survive. During the hot summer months, the burros are usually within two miles of water, especially females with young foals. As fall approaches, the burros disperse and are found at the higher elevations and up to six miles from water. Wild burros have been known to walk 15 miles without water and then drink five gallons in two and a half minutes, a capability surpassed only by the camel.