The Wild Burro was first introduced into the Desert Southwest by Spaniards in the 1500s. Wild Burros have long ears, a short mane and reach a height of up to 5 feet at the shoulders. They vary in color from black to brown to gray.
Burro is the Spanish and Portuguese word for donkey. In Spanish, burros may also be called burro mexicano (‘Mexican donkey’), burro criollo (‘Criollo donkey’), or burro criollo mexicano. In the southwestern United States, “burro” is used as a loan word by English speakers to describe any small donkey used primarily as a pack animal, as well as to describe the feral donkeys that live in Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, Texas and Nevada.
Wild Burros can tolerate a water loss as much as 30% of their body weight, and replenish it in only 5 minutes drinking. (Humans require medical attention if 10% of body weight is lost to dehydration and require a full day of intermittent drinking to replenish this loss.)
In the barren, nearly waterless hills, burros adapted well and became indispensable to prospectors. Burros were used as pack animals by the prospectors. They worked in the mines hauling ore and carried supplies, water and even machinery into desolate mining camps. The lone prospector and his trusty pack burro became a legendary symbol of the old west.
Wild Burros feed on a variety of of plants, including grasses, Mormon Tea, Palo Verde and Plantain. Although some moisture is provided by these plant materials, Wild Burros must have drinking water throughout the year. They can usually be seen foraging for food during daytime, except for summers, when they will forage only at night and in the early morning.