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Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Przewalski's Horse FactsPrzewalski's Horse: 5 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Przewalski's Horse facts are fun to read.

The Przewalski horse is the only truly wild horse seen in the world. These horses are native to Mongolia and have a very distinct look. Even though they are in the same family as other horses, they appear shorter when compared to domestic horses. These horses are known to live in a herd and display complex social behaviors.

These horses were once completely extinct in the wild. However, breeding programs conducted with 12 Przewalski's horses slowly increased their population. Hence, all the horses of this species present today descended from those 12 Przewalski's horses. They have been re-introduced in the Khustain Nuruu National Park,  Khomiin Tal, and the Takhin Tal Nature Reserve. All three of these places are in Mongolia, the native place of these horses. Their population has also been established in various areas of eastern Europe and central Asia. Genetic studies have shown that Przewalski's horses have descended from domestic horses belonging to the Botai culture. But they became feral soon after and did not retain any domesticated attributes in their lineage. Since Przewalski's horses are the last extant wild horses in the world and play a crucial part in the Mongolian culture they hold special importance. This is why continued efforts are being made to sustain them in the wild.

To know more interesting and fun facts about Przewalski's horses, read on! If you like this article, then check out the leopard seal and the fennec fox.

Przewalski's Horse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Przewalski's Horse?

Przewalski's horse is a kind of wild horse. It is the last remaining truly wild horse.

What class of animal does a Przewalski's Horse belong to?

Przewalski's horses belong to the class Mammalia. They are part of the Equidae family, like zebras and donkeys.

How many Przewalski's Horses are there in the world?

Currently, there are 178 Przewalski's horses in the world. This population is spread out throughout the wild, where the horses were re-introduced, and also in captivity.

Where does a Przewalski's Horse live?

In the wild, Przewalski's horses were mostly seen in steppes and habitats that displayed semi-desert characteristics. But due to the expansion of agriculture, their species became limited to only semi-desert areas and also lowland steppe regions. Currently, they are also seen in zoos and various breeding programs in captivity.

What is a Przewalski's Horse's habitat?

Przewalski's horses were mainly found in the Gobi desert region in Mongolia. This place was characterized by the Mongolian steppes. Steppe is a kind of habitat where there is mostly grassland. Usually, there is a lack of trees in steppes, and trees can only be found near water bodies. Even though the climate there is very dry, there is also the presence of forests, springs, and some mountains. Apart from this, in captivity, these horses are used to living in zoos and other enclosures, where their habitats are recreated.

Who do Przewalski's Horses live with?

Przewalski's horses live in groups known as herds. Usually, in these herds, there is one dominant stallion, several mares, and their babies. Younger stallions are also present sometimes in a herd, but they can only breed when they defeat the dominant stallion. Mostly, the young stallions are seen in a bachelor herd of their own. Since these horses are also bred in captivity, they can live with humans too.

How long does a Przewalski's Horse live?

Przewalski's horses usually have a life span that ranges about 20 years of age. However, sometimes they can live up to 36 years as well.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for horses belonging to this species is usually in the early summer or late spring. The stallions generally have a group of mares of their own. Sometimes, they can also challenge another stallion for dominance. However, stallions do not start mating until they are five years old. The females of this species are able to give birth once they are three years old. These horses have a gestation period of 11 months or a year. Following this, only one foal is born. The foals learn to stand on their feet within an hour after they are born.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Przewalski's horses has been listed as an Endangered species under IUCN or the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List. During the 1960s, these horses became extinct in the wild. Before that, they were found mainly throughout Central Asia. However, through sustained conservation efforts and with the help of science, the species was again successfully re-introduced in the wild in places like China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. In the year 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed Przewalski's horses as Critically Endangered. As of now, their population is showing growth and is being re-introduced in several places. Loss of habitat, climate change, and loss in their own genetic diversity are major causes of concern for their population. They also have some predators in the wild like the Himalayan wolf.

Przewalski's Horse Fun Facts

What do Przewalski's Horses look like?

Przewalski's horse was named after Nikolaj Przewalski.

When compared to domesticated horses, Przewalski's horses appear much shorter and stockier. Their coat is a beautiful shade of beige to reddish-brown. Their mane is a shade of dark brown and remains erect, with pale brown on the flanks. The fur in the underside of their body, in the belly region, along with the fur around their eyes and muzzles appear lighter in color, when compared to the rest of the body. Sometimes, these horses also have primitive markings on their legs. Unlike feral horses, these wild horses have much longer hooves along with thicker soles.

How cute are they?

Przewalski's horses appear very cute. Since the horses of this species are a bit shorter and stockier, they kind of resemble a pony. The Przewalski's foals are also very adorable and cute.

How do they communicate?

Przewalski's horses have a wide range of methods through which they communicate. These methods include olfactory signals, vocalizations, and visualizations. In the case of vocalization, they produce sounds like neigh, nicker, and snort to indicate the expectation of food or another horse, show affection, and alarm other horses in the herd, respectively. Visual communication includes a stallion lowering its head to the ground, when very angry. They also mark their territory with urine, to communicate through olfactory signals.

How big is a Przewalski's Horse?

Przewalski's horses have a height of about 48 in - 56 in or 122 cm - 142 cm. Animals belonging to this species have a length of 6 ft 11 in or 2.1 m. Przewalski's horse size appears smaller in comparison to domestic horses.

How fast can a Przewalski's Horse move?

This species of horse is pretty fast as they usually cover a wide distance in the wild in search of food and water. They can run as fast as 40 mph (64 kph).

How much does a Przewalski's Horse weigh?

These horses can weigh anywhere between 440 lb - 750 lb or 199.5 kg - 340 kg.

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male horse belonging to this species is known as a stallion, while the female is known as a mare.

What would you call a baby Przewalski's Horse?

A baby Przewalski's horse is known as a foal.

What do they eat?

Przewalski's horses are herbivorous in nature. In the wild, they mainly depend on vegetation for their food. They are mostly seen chewing on grasses and leaves of various shrubs. Like other domestic horses and donkeys, these horses also require lots of water in their diet. In captivity, like in a zoo, they are also fed hay, alfalfa, and carrots.

Are they dangerous?

Being a truly wild horse, this Mongolian wild horse species cannot really be tamed. Hence, they might show aggressive behavior if agitated. Unlike domestic breeds, it is best to maintain a safe distance from these horses.

Would they make a good pet?

Przewalski's horses are said to be truly wild horses. This species has never really been domesticated. Hence, their nature tends to be wild and that does not make for a good pet. Apart from that, these horses have a lot of requirements and aren't as easy to maintain as domestic horses. They are also endangered in the wild and should not be kept as pets.

Did you know...

Przewalski's horses are also known as 'Takhi'. In the Mongolian language, this translates to 'holy horse' or 'spirit'. Some legends also say that these animals were ridden by Genghis Khan and his army to conquer territories. This species was introduced in European science by Nikolaj Przewalski. Przewalski was a Russian explorer. Subsequently, this species was named after him. Their genetic analysis showed that these horses and domestic horses diverged nearly 160,000 years ago while evolving. In the year 2013, the National Zoo, which is located in Washington D.C, in the United States, introduced the first Przewalski's horse which was born through artificial insemination. More recently, in 2020, the San Diego Zoo welcomed a Przewalski's foal, who was created through cloning.

Why is Przewalski's Horse endangered?

During the 1960s, this species of horses became extinct in the wild. The cause behind this extinction included habitat loss, climate change, hunting, and interbreeding. This interbreeding led to a loss in genetic diversity as well. Fortunately, there were a few horses left in captivity, and they were used to bring back the population of this species in the wild. This population growth led to them being enlisted as Critically Endangered in 2008 and subsequently in 2011, as Endangered, by the IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature. Currently, breeding programs in various facilities and zoos are being carried out to ensure they return to having a stable population in the world. Science is playing a major role in stabilizing the population of these animals. The 'Return of the Wild Horses', a conservation project carried out by Prague Zoo is one of the most notable in-situ programs of this kind dedicated to increasing the population of these animals in the wild.

Can you ride a Przewalski's Horse?

Unlike a domestic horse, a Przewalski's horse is truly wild. They have never really been domesticated. So, it is not possible to ride these animals, like other domestic species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the zonkey and the plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Przewalski horse coloring pages.

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