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Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) Fact Sheet: Summary

Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii)

Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) Fact Sheet

Przewalkski's Horse trotting

Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii)

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

 

Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Perissodctyla

Family: Equidae — horses, asses, zebras

Genus: Equus — horses

Species: Equus ferus — wild horse, Eurasian wild horse

Subspecies: Equus ferus przewalkskii — Przewalski's horse

Body Weight
200-300 kg (400-700 lb)

Body Length
Male: 1.42 m (4.65 ft)
Female: 1.37 m (4.50 ft)

Tail Length
90 cm (3 ft), average

Pelage
Two color types: bright yellowish-red-brown and pale grey-yellow. Mane dark brown (stands upright with no forelock). Thin stripes on legs.

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Range
Mongolia and northwestern China

Habitat
Semi-arid and steppe grasslands; semi-desert habitats

IUCN Status
Endangered (2014 assessment)

CITES Appendix
Appendix I

Populations
Free-roaming and semi-wild: approximately 1,200 individuals
Managed care: approximately 640 individuals

Activity Cycle
Little known; some studies from managed care.

Social Groups
Engage in mutual grooming.
Little known about wild herd dynamics. Dominant stallion leads harem group.

Diet
Wild populations: opportunistically feed on wild grasses and other vegetation within the limits of their habitats (constrained by agriculture).
Managed care: hay and water requirements similar to those of domestic horses.

Predators
Wolves

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
4-5 years old; may be earlier or later

Gestation
About 320-343 days

Litter Size
1 foal

Birth Weight
Approximately 30 kg (66 lb)

Age at Weaning
Varies

Longevity
Wild populations: unknown
Managed care: approximately 20-25 years

Feature Facts

  • Last surviving wild horse (not descended from domestic horses)
  • Named for a Russian explorer, who collected an early specimen
  • Grow thick, warm coats to cope with cold winters of Mongolia and China
  • Members of a herd spend a lot of time grooming each other
  • Communicate through a variety of vocalizations
  • Dramatic population declines during World War II
  • Extinct in the wild by late 1960s. Reintroduced after successful breeding programs in managed care. All descended from 12-16 founding individuals.
  • World-renowned breeding program at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. More than 130 foals born since mid-1970s.

About This Fact Sheet

© 2008-2021 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor updates 2012, 2013, 2017. Content update Feb 2021.

How to cite: Przewalski's Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) Fact Sheet. c2008-2021. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ przewalskishorse
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

 

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sdzwa.org.

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Amanda Lussier who shared her knowledge of Przewalski’s Horse husbandry for the Managed Care section of this fact sheet.

Amanda Lussier, Senior Keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, has been working with Przewalski’s horses since 2016. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a Master’s degree in Biology, with particularly research interests in hoofstock social structure and dynamics. She is particularly interested in applying knowledge of herd animals in human care to protect wild populations.

Amanda most admires Przewalski’s horses for their strength, spirit, and sweet yet wild temperament.

Close Contact

Two Przewalski's horses stand with necks touching

Przewalski's horses are highly social, spending much of their day feeding, grooming, and in close contact with one another.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

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