Donkeys are unfairly maligned, and many people are under the impression that they’re stubborn, mean animals. The good news is that this isn’t actually true, and donkeys make great pets, work animals, and riding animals.

In fact, donkeys are commonly used to deter coyotes, snakes, and other predators on farms. Their strong territorial instinct makes them excellent guard animals, along with their other senses. Let’s check out some more info below about donkeys as guard animals.


How Do Donkeys Deter Coyotes?

When they feel threatened, donkeys will loudly bray, bare their teeth, and stomp their feet. Coyotes correctly interpret this behavior as a threat and usually run away. If they’re in a pack or are hungry enough, they might take their chances and attack anyway. In that case, the donkey will charge and use its hooves to kick and stomp.

Braying donkey in a meadow
Image Credit: KarinR, Shutterstock

Can Donkeys Kill Coyotes?

With some over 500 pounds, full-sized donkeys are easily capable of fighting, fending off, and even killing a coyote one-on-one. Miniature donkeys are another story, however. While they won’t have any fear of coyotes, they can’t defend themselves as well.

Coyotes may even ignore more enticing livestock, like chickens, to attack a miniature donkey. If you have a miniature donkey, it’s important that you keep them penned up at night and not use them as a guard animal.

You’re probably wondering how donkeys can kill coyotes if they don’t have sharp teeth, and it’s a fair question. Donkeys primarily use their hard hooves to defend themselves and can easily stomp a coyote to death.

As herbivores, they have no incentive to attack other animals, but they will if they feel like their territory is threatened. Donkeys would much prefer to scare predators off rather than fight or kill.

Can a Coyote Kill a Donkey?

A single coyote is no match for a donkey, but as canines, they’re pack animals. If a large enough pack of coyotes attacks a donkey, they may be able to wound or even kill it.

Old, young, and infirm donkeys are especially vulnerable targets to predators like coyotes, so only healthy, full-sized adults should be used as guard animals.

Coyote looking straight at the camera
Image Credit: MoniCh647, Pixabay

Do Donkeys Get Along With Other Animals?

Donkeys are notoriously temperamental animals. They can coexist peacefully with livestock like goats, sheep, and chickens, but will require some adjustment before you can let them roam freely among livestock. Once adjusted, a donkey will protect livestock from predators like coyotes, foxes, and snakes.

It’s a different story with dogs, which are related to coyotes. While you can socialize donkeys to get along with dogs, they have an instinctual fear and hatred of canines in general. On farms, donkeys and dogs can both be used in separate areas as guard animals. Unless you’re absolutely certain your donkey isn’t aggressive toward dogs, we strongly recommend keeping donkeys and dogs separate when possible.

Donkeys are great companions for equine animals like horses, llamas, and mules. They might be cautious at first and will require some socialization, but donkeys will typically warm up to equines over time. As with any new animal, keep a new donkey separate from other animals and slowly introduce supervised interaction with other animals.

Will Donkeys Attack Human Intruders?

Some donkeys will attack human intruders in their territory, while others may only bray from a safe distance. If the person is behaving aggressively, the odds of a donkey attacking are much higher.

The good news is that it’s not likely for donkeys to kill people. If provoked or attacked, a donkey will typically only defend itself long enough to flee.

woman feeding donkey
Image Credit: BearFotos, Shutterstock

Why Donkeys Are Good Guard Animals

We mentioned that donkeys are good guard animals because they’re territorial, but that’s not the only reason. Donkeys have several key attributes that come together to make them an effective deterrent against predators. Let’s check those out below.

Why Donkeys Are Good Guard Animals:
  • Excellent Hearing: Donkeys can hear for miles around, so stealthy coyotes have no chance of going undetected
  • Great Vision: Donkeys have outstanding peripheral, binocular, and night vision
  • Keen Nose: As with most animals, donkeys have a keen sense of smell, which helps them sense nearby predators.



Donkeys get a bad rap, but they’re actually great pets, companions, and guard animals. With keen senses, a fearless attitude, and territorial instinct, donkeys are more than a match for coyotes and other smaller mammal predators.

Featured Image Credit: Pantea Adrian, Pixabay