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Written By macky on Friday, July 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Chances are, when you think about the movie Shrek, the first thing that comes to mind won’t be the green ogre the film is named after, but one of its funniest characters, Donkey. Donkey is an unlikely sidekick to Shrek, helping him out of tight spots throughout the entire Shrek series of films and providing the majority of comic relief moments.

The Donkey, more appropriately known as an Ass, first originated from the African Wild Ass, considered today as one of the world’s most endangered animals. Donkeys have deep roots of domestication with man, with evidence suggesting contact with humans as far back as 5,000 years ago.

Donkeys are affectionate animals, greatly enjoying the companionship of people. In fact, donkeys are such social animals that they quickly become depressed when left without any companions. And just as how Donkey in Shrek is portrayed as being stubborn, some donkeys in real life exhibit the same traits. However, this is due to an instinct of self-preservation, rather than stubbornness. A donkey will also show this behavior if it still has a strong prey instinct and spent little time with people.

And one other thing about donkeys. Though Shrek’s version isn’t exactly the brightest crayon in the box, numerous studies have shown that just like its distant cousins the horses, donkeys are also intelligent, friendly, playful and cautious, displaying an ability and interest to learn from their masters.

Another surprising fact about donkeys is how good they can be as guard animals. Indeed, a good donkey will be great at watching over an entire herd of goats, sheep or cattle. Caution however, must be exercised when exposing donkeys to goats, as the two don’t often mix together—donkeys are used to coyotes as their natural predator.

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