Wild horses in nature are rare but amazing
The progenitors of modern horses are threatened with extinction. Wild horses in nature have become a real rarity, but you can see them if you wish. Subspecies that have survived to our time (for example, Przewalski’s horse) are found in central Europe, as well as Asia. Mustangs (North and South America), Bramby (Australia) and Camargue (France, Mediterranean) do not belong to this genus, although they look very similar to them. The reason is that they used to be pets, but over time they became feral.
Wild horses in nature in all their glory
Representatives of this species are distinguished by their small stature and rather stocky physique. Short legs in tandem with a disheveled mane serve as invariable signs of wild horses. They have highly developed hind and forelimbs, so endurance is their hallmark..
Human economic activity and rapid urbanization have led to the disappearance of pastures for animals, and hence the species themselves. Finding wild horses today is very problematic.. Herds are most often found in nature reserves or parks protected by people. A detailed description will help you get to know them better..
His Majesty Tarpan
Central Europe was the habitat of the subspecies. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Narpans inhabited the southern and southeastern part of Russia. Mention was found that they met in the western regions of Siberia and Kazakhstan.
The characteristic features of the appearance of wild horses are:
- low growth (at the withers 136-140 cm);
- short tail;
- thick, standing mane;
- no bangs;
- Aquiline nose;
- pointed ears.
Today, only the descendants of the Tarpan have survived. Mestizos, obtained from the mating of a subspecies with a domestic breed, became the progenitors of the Heck and Polish horse varieties.
A distinctive feature of Narpanov was a unique mouse suit. Smoky ash color (blue in the British classification) is still very rare. Closer to winter, their fur began to grow intensively, which allowed individuals to survive the harsh months. This ancestor of the domestic horse was distinguished by shyness and caution..
What are the names of wild horses of the Tarpan subspecies? When their population was not threatened with extinction, then two forms of the species were distinguished: forest and steppe. The people called them wild European horses..
Since the breed was not at all adapted to taming, it became an object of hunting. Animal meat was considered a delicacy, and the hide was an excellent material for the tanner. For this reason, and also as the land was domesticated, the subspecies began to die out. Today tarpan can only be found on the pages of history..
Irresistible Przewalski’s horse
Perhaps these are the only wild horses in nature that have preserved their population. However, even they are threatened with extinction. The revival of the breed began with a few wild individuals raised in captivity. Until now, they are crossed with closely related species. This negatively affects the gene pool, but zoologists do not lose hope.
Despite the fact that the country of the wild Przewalski horse is Mongolia (steppe), today the subspecies is found in:
- Orenburg region;
- Chernobyl zone.
In these areas, they successfully take root thanks to the painstaking efforts of scientists. Although animals are closely monitored by humans, over time they can return to their natural habitat. Przewalski’s horse has a playful character, animals run very fast. Individuals are still shy and very sensitive to extraneous noise..
You can find them out by the following features.:
- the only color is savrasaya (red or light sandy wool);
- mane, tail and legs of a dark shade;
- short protruding mane;
- the nose and belly are light;
- the physique is compact, but strong and dense;
- the head is large;
- the neck is straight and thick;
- well-developed muscles and bones;
- the height at the withers is 150 cm.
The fur of animals becomes longer with the onset of cold weather. So, they tolerate winter better than domestic breeds. The mane of the subspecies is erect, but, unfortunately, there are no bangs. A dark belt and zebra stripes on the legs are in perfect harmony with contrasting stockings. The horse’s tail is unusual, as short hairs grow in the upper part.
Today, there are up to 2 thousand of these wild horses in nature. They have an excellent quality – the ability to adapt to the local diet. In winter, herbivores get their food directly from under the snow cover. The life expectancy of the subspecies is on average 25 years..
Earlier, the herds of Przewalski’s horses thrived in high-mountain valleys (at an altitude of 2,000 m), as well as in dry steppes. There was not only enough cereals for them, but also water. Now they are only in nature reserves and zoos..
Mustang – turning a domestic horse into a wild one
Inhabitants of the prairies of the American continent are considered the descendants of the Andalusian horses. Long-term presence of domestic animals in their natural environment has led to a change in the character and appearance of horses..
- more hardy;
The color of the breed is quite diverse. Due to the fact that the blood of the horses was constantly mixed, there is a red, bay and piebald color in the genus. There are also bucks, palomino and appaloosa. Black mustangs look particularly majestic. The height at the withers of an adult stallion varies from 130-150 cm.
The name mustang comes from the Spanish word for “untamed or wild animal.” This is due to the fact that the Spaniards brought the domestic ancestors of the Mustangs to North America..
A day in the life of wild horses
Representatives of the Equidae family are herd animals. Individuals gather in herds, which often consist of 4-5 females and their offspring. At the head of such a “harem” group is always an adult leader stallion (his age is about 6-10 years). However, the role of “scout” of nutritious pastures and a guide is performed by an experienced or the oldest mare. It is the alpha female that obeys the entire herd, with the exception of the main stallion. He, in turn, is responsible for the procreation and safety of horses in the wild when they graze or rest. The herd may be threatened by single males who left the group when they reach 3 years of age..
In the future, young “bachelors” can:
- live alone (this also applies to old males unable to hold a harem);
- organize a bachelor herd;
- create your own family or fight off someone else’s herd;
- develop a monogamous relationship (horse, mare and their offspring).
At 1.5 years old, the animals are ready for mating. Spring and the first month of summer are favorable times for this. The duration of bearing the fetus in females is 11 months.
During the day, wild horses have several periods of wakefulness and rest. Although they usually graze during the day, they are especially active in the morning and evening. To protect their stallions from predators, the herd forms a ring around the young. Such defensive tactics are rarely used, since every rustle or noise is perceived by animals as a threat, and they rush to flight. During the fight with a competing male, an experienced mare also takes the herd to a safe place. These are what they are – wild horses in their natural habitat.