- Common Name:
- Przewalski's Horse
- Scientific Name:
- Equus ferus przewalskii
- Group Name:
- Average Life Span In Captivity:
- 20 years
- Height at the shoulders 48 to 56 inches
- 440 to 750 pounds
These horses are smaller than most domestic horse species and have stocky bodies, large heads, thick necks, upright manes, and a dark stripe down their backs. Their underbellies and muzzles have pale white markings, and their legs are short and slender.
Przewalski's horses can use their sharp hooves to get at water in the ground. They eat mainly grass, as well as plants and fruit, and sometimes bark, leaves, and buds. Horses are an important part of Mongolian culture. However, Przewalski's horses have not been seen in the wild since 1968. Excessive hunting by people and the loss of grazing and watering sites to domestic animals like cattle and sheep lowered the horses' numbers dramatically. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several wild Przewalski's horses were caught and bred in captivity. Thirteen of those horses are the original ancestors of today's captive population.
Today there are about 1,200 Przewalski's horses living in zoos, private preserves, and protected areas in Mongolia. Small groups are gradually being reintroduced into the wild to once again roam the grasslands of Mongolia.