Do donkeys like their ears rubbed?

Yes, according to 6 sources. One excellent source says that donkeys like their ears to be rubbed provided (1) they trust you and (2) you rub their ears gently.

Donkeys enjoy having their ears rubbed. They enjoy being petted generally but it should be done gently and trust needs to be established beforehand, as mentioned.

You might start by rubbing the donkey’s head and you can then extend that petting to his or her ears.

Donkey enjoys his ears being rubbed and smiles
Donkey enjoys his ears being rubbed and smiles. Screenshot.

When you rub the donkey’s ears slowly and gently the donkey may lower their head signifying that they are enjoying the attention and the contact.

Donkeys are very affectionate and they may ask for more by gently head-butting.

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.


The video, I think, is excellent in demonstrating how pleasant the experience is to a donkey. You can see the smile on his face while he gently rests his head on the woman’s shoulder.

By the way, donkeys have big ears because their origins are the African desert where vegetation is sparse. This means that they are dispersed over a wide area which in turn means that they need large ear flaps in order to pick up calls at a distance. These calls might be to warn of the approach of a predator.

Donkeys don’t graze in herds but spread out to graze because, as mentioned, the sparsity of the grass to graze on. One website states that donkeys can hear a call as far as 60 miles away in the desert.

The large ear flaps also assist in cooling the body because the blood is near the surface of the skin which allows heat to be dissipated through the skin. The difference between horses and donkeys in terms of their ears comes about because of their adaptation to the desert.

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Post Category: Horses > donkeys