Elephants vs. Donkeys: Who Would Win?

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Tampa, Florida, is crowded with “elephants,” and Charlotte, North Carolina, will soon be filled with “donkeys” as Republicans and Democrats gather for their respective national conventions. But which real animal would win in a showdown between an elephant and a donkey? PETA takes stock of the competition:


© iStockphoto.com/Francois6

Physical prowess: Elephants are active for 18 hours a day and can travel up to 30 miles a day. But donkeys are no couch potatoes, either. They can run up to 30 miles per hour and are sure-footed on rocky mountain crags.

Compassion: Elephants wince when they see another elephant in pain, and an entire group will pitch in to help a mother elephant rescue her drowning baby. But donkeys are often prized companion animals because they are affectionate and are patient with children. Donkeys are also often tasked with watching over herds of sheep or goats.

Beauty: Standing up to 13 feet tall with trunks that can reach for 7 feet, elephants make for quite a majestic sight. Donkeys, the smallest members of the horse family, are beautiful in their own right, with soft coats of fawn, chocolate, red, or black fur and a graceful gait.

Intelligence: In an experiment to see if elephants could figure out that they had to work together, both pulling opposite ends of a rope, in order to move food close to them, the elephants not only succeeded but also figured out a shortcut that researchers hadn’t thought of. Donkeys aren’t short on smarts, either. Companion donkeys answer to their names, go for walks off leash, and can even learn to pull carts through obstacle courses.

Enjoying leisure time: Elephants like to cool off by using their trunks to spray water all over their bodies. They also flirt with other elephants they are interested in. Donkeys know how to relax, too, by finding a shady spot in which to curl up to escape the afternoon heat or rolling on their backs in the grass or dirt. Companion donkeys also love receiving treats and ear rubs.


© iStockphoto.com/mihaperosa

As close as it is, I think we have to call this one a tie. Please “cast your vote” in favor of protecting elephants by refusing to support circuses and zoos and protecting donkeys by opposing donkey basketball games and the roundup and slaughter of wild horses and donkeys

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind