PRZEWALSKI’S HORSE – Equus caballus przewalskii

PRZEWALSKIS HORSE

Przewalski’s horse facts: This horse stands 4 to 4.8 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) tall and weighs around 772 pounds (350 kilograms). Its legs are rather short while the head is large. During summertime, the coat is short and reddish brown, a color also known as “dun.” The hairs grow thicker and longer during the winter to provide insulation from the cold. The mane is short and stands straight up, and the top of the tail has short hairs. The muzzle is white with gray around the nostrils.

Geographic range: Przewalski’s horse is considered Extinct in the Wild, but has been reintroduced in certain areas of Mongolia.

Przewalski’s horse habitat: Like the kiang, this horse lives in grassland and steppe regions. It was last seen in the steppes of the Gobi desert.

What does przewalski’s horse eat: Przewalski’s horse eats whatever grasses are available.

Behavior and reproduction: These horses form a stable family composed of one male, numerous females, and their offspring. Other males form what is called “bachelor” groups.

After 340 days of pregnancy, females deliver a single foal, usually in April, May, or June. Foals are weaned (removed from mothers’ milk) around six to eight months and are ready to breed around the age of two years. Wolves are the primary predators of Przewalski’s horse, and it is believed they live to an average age of twenty years.

Przewalski’s horse and people: This horse is of great significance to the people of Mongolia as it is their national symbol.

Conservation status: Listed as Extinct in the Wild, though reintroduction into Mongolia has begun. They became extinct due to overhunting, capture by zoos, and loss of habitat. Today, reintroduction is difficult because there are so few left that genetic diversity (variation of genes that create distinct differences within a species) is nearly gone.