Asiatic Wild Ass


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Asiatic Wild Ass

 

(Equus hemionus), an odd-toed ungulate of the family Equidae. The height at the shoulder is approximately 125 cm; the body measures about 2 m long. Its head is larger than that of the horse; it also has longer ears and more slender legs. The Asiatic wild ass has narrow hooves, the mane is short and stiff, and there is no forelock. Long coarse hair covers the lower third of the tail, forming a brush. The coloration is sandy yellow, with a dark streak along the spine. The brush of hair at the tip of the tail is black, and the legs and underparts are white.

The Asiatic wild ass is found in the deserts and semideserts of Southwest, Middle, and Central Asia. In the USSR it once inhabited the steppes of the Ukraine (including the Crimea), Transcaucasia, and Kazakhstan. Its numbers and range have sharply declined; today it is found only in the Badkhyz Preserve in southern Turkmenia. It lives in herds of three to 50 head and feeds on grasses and bushes. The Asiatic wild ass is able to drink salt water (from the Caspian Sea). It is a fast runner, reaching a speed of 70 km per hr. Mating occurs in the spring; the gestation period is 11 months. This species is protected in the USSR.