Meet Echo – the singing stripe-legged zonkey from Texas

  • Meet Echo the zonkey, or zedonk if you prefer.

    The weeks-old filly, who is by a Grevy’s zebra stallion and out of a mammoth donkey dam, lives in Texas, US, at Zebras R Us.

    Owner Dominique Ferraro told H&H she competed in eventing and dressage in her youth but it was “always zebras I was interested in”. She got her first aged 17 and has not looked back, now breeding zorses — zebra-horse crosses — as well as zonkeys, and providing a home for other African hoofstock.

    “Little Echo has been getting a lot of attention, that’s for sure!” she said, adding that the filly was born on 22 February, so her birthday is 22/2/22. “She’s very sweet and kind; she acts like her pictures look.”

    Picture by Zebras R Us

    Dominique said her zonkeys go to new homes when they are older; owners have to apply and are vetted to ensure the homes are good ones.

    “Some people have a horse who’s retired and they want an alternative companion, which they’re good at,” she said, explaining that the zonkeys are not high-maintenance in terms of care, and have good tolerance to cold weather.

    “We’re in Texas so it doesn’t really get cold but we try not to blanket them if possible as we try to keep them naturally but we’ve had some go to live in Canada, where it gets really cold. Some people blanket when they don’t need to; they over-care for them, but we try to keep them natural and they do well.”

    Some of the zonkeys are ridden; one Dominique sold is now doing beach rides and “all sorts of stuff”, and Echo, whom she thinks will make about 15hh, should be a good candidate for being ridden.

    “She’s going to be a lot of animal!” she said.

    “They’re very different to horses; I describe them by saying a horse is like a dog but a zebra or zonkey is like a cat. If you left your horse in without hay or water, he’d still whinny at you the next morning — a zebra or zonkey would never talk to you again!”

    The zebras and zonkeys are very intelligent, Dominique said, and can be sassy, and they “bring happiness and joy”.

    Echo will keep her striking striped legs, she added, and as she grows, the stripes on her body will become more distinct.

    “They’re really fun,” she added. “Echo already comes up to me when I call her name and honks, which we call singing. It’s a noise you can’t describe!”

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