Why Is My Donkey Biting Me? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Donkeys exhibit different behavior. Biting is one of their behavioral traits. Understanding their behavior makes it easier to figure out why your donkey is biting you.

Nobody wants to get bitten by their donkey.

Even those expert donkey breeders get tired of having their animals munch on them.

 Let’s understand why your donkey keeps biting you.

What Does It Mean When My Donkey Starts To Bite Me?

Why Is My Donkey Biting Me

There are different reasons for your donkey biting you. However, most are things you must take notice of in order to correct.

The first reason could be:

1. The mouth of your donkey

Donkeys’ mouths are very mobile.

This makes it possible for them to use their mouth the way we use our hands.

For example, biting behavior frequently begins as a mouthy behavior, in which the animal tries to grab objects or explore with his lips.

This is common in young donkeys, which is a result of their curious behavior and may accidentally bite someone.

Just like other Equines, donkeys groom one another with their tongues, which is regarded as a sign of friendliness.

If your animal does this, the sensation may be similar to being bitten or nibbled on.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on why donkeys eat wood

2. Inadequate Training

If your donkey is still young, you’ll most likely be treating them as pets because of their small attractive stature.

Because they are still young, they haven’t been appropriately trained.

Young donkeys must be taught to avoid touching people with their lips or teeth. 

You can always tug on their halter or a firm “no”, which should be sufficient to admonish a curious young animal nibbling on you while exploring or attempting to get something, such as a reward.

This is also the most straightforward and most effective approach to teach your donkey that, while grooming him is acceptable, you do not want him to repay the courtesy with his teeth.

Because donkeys are intelligent, it typically takes only a small amount of remedial training to establish that biting is not acceptable behavior.

3. Dominance

Donkeys bite among themselves in order to establish dominance and preserve the pecking order.

If your donkey does not see you as his alpha, he may attempt to bite you in order to assert his control over you.

Same as before, a sharp no or tugging on the halter is sufficient to correct domineering behavior.

When dealing with an animal with an authoritarian trait, you’ll want to avoid giving the animal what he wants and instead force him to bow to your desires.

For example, let’s say you’re feeding your donkey, and he starts biting you to go faster.

Make him realize that you’re in charge, and he has to wait patiently until you’re ready.

How Do I Stop A Donkey From Biting?

Donkeys are more receptive to gradual, quiet approaches and require time to assess their surroundings.

Due to their reputation as stoic creatures, you may notice fewer immediate indicators that something is wrong with your donkey.

Although donkeys and horses are not the same, they have some behaviors that can be handled using horse biting control methods.

1. Recognize fundamental donkey behaviors.

Donkeys are renowned for standing their ground and confronting predators.

Biting may be induced in response to a perceived threat.

They also have blind spots in their vision and are opposed to people handling their sensitive ears.

So they can start biting you as a self-defense mechanism.

Also check out this article on donkeys and their big ears

2. Provide companionship for your donkey.

Animals benefit from exposure to other donkeys because they can develop social skills.

Social connection helps to minimize boredom and inappropriate behavior.

During their feeding time, it’s guaranteed that there will be pecking.

So if some of your animals are aggressive, ensure you have enough space for the submissive ones to hide away.

Provide feed in many locations to minimize issues.

3. Give room for your donkey to exhibit its natural behavior.

For example, it is usual for donkeys to bite each other, especially when introducing a male to a female. Most times, the females bite the male when they are ready to breed. 

4. Provide your animal with adequate nutrition.

Aside from the food, make sure it is parasite-free and allowed to exercise or have a period of unconfined movement.

These steps will reduce biting due to nutritional deficiency or boredom.

5. Create your own hegemony.

Humans become integrated into the social order and are required to defend their position at the top.

Demonstrate your dominance using non-violent means, such as controlling the animal’s mobility.

This will assist in reinforcing any lessons you communicate about acceptable behavior, like the need for discipline over biting.

Take note of your own behavior.

For example, your animal might bite you in response to fear or discomfort.

Likewise, painful occurrences may become connected with a human touch in an animal’s memory during harnessing or saddling donkeys.

Are Donkey Bites Poisonous?

Donkeys’ incisors and canines are highly sharp, making their bite particularly harmful. 

So their bites are not poisonous, but they are likely to cause infection (local/systemic) if the teeth break the skin.

This infection is a significant complication of animal bites (bacteremia/sepsis).

Therefore, the first obstacle is selecting the appropriate medications and creating the most effective infection prevention method.

How Do Donkeys Show Aggression?

Donkeys show aggression by snorting, stomping out their hooves and confronting perceived threats squarely.

Sometimes they’ll try picking up things and shake them.

But, unfortunately, they aren’t precisely predictable when it comes to their aggressive behaviors.

Why Do Donkeys Show Their Teeth?

Donkeys show their teeth’s when they smell a new scent—curling their lip aids in the absorption of the stimulus and transmission to the roof of their mouth.

Their olfactory system is nearby, sorting and processing scents and maybe generating memory associations in the same manner that humans do.

Other possible reasons include the following:

  • Post-birth: when they perceive the smell of newborn foal and the fluid that comes with it
  • Area: when male donkeys detect the urine of other animal near or within their area
  • Aggravate: When enraged or threatened, donkeys tend to expose their teeth and rush forward
  • Awaiting for food: when they are ready for their food, they expose their teeth’s
  • Tooth pains: if something gets stuck in the teeth of your animal, it can irritate, making them show their teeth

How Can I Teach My Donkey To Stop Biting?

While biting is not necessarily a terrible behavior, it must be corrected if it is done aggressively.

There are several techniques available you can use to prevent your donkey from biting without endangering them.

  • Pinching techniques: pinch the animal if you spot it biting 
  • Growl: produce a low-pitched growl that is neither too loud nor too quiet but just loud enough for them to hear. 
  • You might also try squirting lemon juice into the animal’s mouth. Consistently utilize these corrective strategies for the best results.

If they behave appropriately, you can reward them with goodies or praise.

Do Donkeys Nibble On Clothes?

Indeed, they do. Most times, they are trying to get food from you. Alternatively, the animal is playing with you.

As a result, they’ll gnaw at your clothing in order to gain your attention.

Does A Mini Donkey Also Bite?

Mini donkeys also bite; most of the time, it is out of curiosity that they bite. Alternatively, the young animal regards you as a friend.

This is one of their ways of expressing their relationship. As a result, it is entirely up to you to train them.

Beginning the animal’s training at a young age is far more beneficial and aids in their adaptation. 


Donkeys don’t just bite for no reason.

Therefore, it would help if you studied their behavioral pattern to understand them better.

This will also enable you to create a bond with your animal. 

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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