I’ll never forget seeing my first donkey roll. Years ago, at the Donkey Sanctuary in Devon, I was walking a sweet little brown donkey called Peanuts. We were plodding along gently, down a specially made track covered in wood shavings, Peanuts only pausing now and then to munch on the hedgerows.
All of a sudden he stopped and stamped his front hoof. He dropped to the ground, turned over and started writhing around on his back. I panicked, let go of his rope and ran over to tell the grooms that something terrible was happening to Peanuts. They smiled and said, “Oh he’s just enjoying a roll, it means he’s really happy”.
Donkeys love to roll on dry, dusty ground. In the desert, where donkeys originated, dust provides excellent insulation and protection from hot and cold weather. Donkeys will stomp and paw with their hooves to remove grass in areas with sandy soil, in order to create the perfect rolling patch.
After a donkey rolls he retains the dust in his coat. You will see a donkey shake his head when he stands up after rolling but not his body. This explains the wonderful dust clouds that greet you whenever you stroke a long-eared friend.
Copyright 2016 Amy Swift