Equus hemionus onager
The Persian onager has a weight of 440 to 575 pounds and a height of approximately 50 inches at the shoulder. Their legs and belly are usually light beige or tan with darker markings on the neck and sides. There is a dark brown stripe along the back. They have a short (2 to 3 inch) mane, and have tails with a small tuft of hair at the end.
Class: Mammal (Mammalia)
Range: Two protected areas of Iran
Habitat: Harsh semi-arid desert with hot days and cool nights
Lifespan: Insufficient data
Wild Diet: Mainly grasses. In the dry season, they break woody plants with their hooves for succulent portions and seed pods. They also may dig up to 2 feet deep for water
Zoo Diet: 1/2 pound herbivore pellet and 1/3 bale of hay
Onagers are most active at dawn and dusk. They get most of their water from food but live near water if possible. A territorial system is common, with males guarding prime territories and females moving among guarded territories depending on habitat and male preference. Immature males sometimes form all male groups.
Reproduction is seasonal with births between April and September in North America. Males and females reach sexual maturity at about 2 years. Males do no usually breed until about 4 years of age.
Gestation: 11 months
Conservation Status: Endangered
- Persian onagers are extremely rare. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists them as endangered.
- There are only about 600 in the wild and 26 in North American zoos.
- Onagers can withstand temperature extremes from 120 degrees to bitter cold.
- The ancient Roman catapult was called "the onager" because the recoil kicked upward with such force, much like the onager.
- The onager is thought to be the world's fastest wild equid.