This week’s nature challenge was horses, and how they compare to another mostly-domesticated animal: dogs. Living in the country, the kids see horses all of the time (there aren’t any horses in our neighborhood, but we see them while driving. So of course, to get a picture for this week’s challenge, we pulled over on the side of the road and took a picture of some horses we saw while driving. LOL!)
Horses in a pasture
Similarities between dogs and horses:
-Both are mammals
-Both have tails (although a difference is that dogs have bones in their tails and horses have hair for tails)
-Both can be domesticated or wild
-Both can vary in color and markings (one difference is that dogs have more of a variability in size and appearance though, due to breeding techniques.)
-Both are herd animals and can show psychological and physiological distress when isolated for long periods of time.
-Both can be used for recreational, sport, show, therapeutic, transportation, and career-based activities.
Differences between dogs and horses:
-Horses can weigh between 840-2200 lbs, and dogs weigh between 1-100ish lbs.
-Horses have 2 ‘toed’ hoof, dogs have paws. (However, both are for stabilization and locomotive purposes, verses other animals who can also pick up things with their feet/hands. Both also require all four on the ground to move efficiently instead of being able to walk on just two.)
-Horses graze, and many do not have canine teeth (stallions and geldings do have 4). Dogs generally eat meat-based foods and have teeth adapted for meat eating.
-Domesticated dogs are able to live indoors, and horses are not able to.
-Horses can sleep laying down or standing up, dogs typically sleep laying down. Horses sleep in short intervals and only need a couple minutes to a couple hours of sleep each day. Many dogs sleep several hours a day or more.
-Horses are prey animals, strong fight-or-flight instinct, and usually flee. Dogs are predatory animals.
And just for comparison’s sake…here are some pictures I took earlier this year during two of our trips to The Wilds, a nature conservation safari in central Ohio. These are other animals who, like horses, are part of the Equus genus in the Equidae family.
The Zebra, while not considered a true wild horse, is in the same genus as domesticated and wild horses, as are donkeys and mules.
Persian Onagers, native to Iran
Przewalski's Wild Horse, native to Europe and parts of Asia. They were extinct at one point, but were reintroduced to Mongolia and China in recent years. This is the only true wild horse that still remains on earth.
Przewalski's Wild Horse