ass, hoofed, herbivorous mammal of the genus Equus, closely related to the horse. It is distinguished from the horse by its small size, large head, long ears, and small hooves. There are three living species: Equus hemonius, the Asian wild ass; E. kiang, the Tibetan wild ass; and E. asinus, the African wild ass. The last species includes the domesticated variety, E. asinus asinus, commonly known as the donkey. A male ass is called a jackass and a female, a jenny. Wild asses are swift desert animals that may attain speeds of up to 40 mi (60 km) per hr. They can live in herds of up to 1,000 animals, though in most subspecies populations are now much reduced.
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