De Santis, M., Seganfreddo, S., Galardi, M. et al. 2021. Donkey behaviour and cognition: A literature review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 244, 105485.

Despite their diffusion worldwide, many aspects of donkeys’ behaviour and cognitive abilities are still poorly understood and overshadowed by a corpus of commonplaces. The possibility of better knowing this species is of key relevance for its wellbeing and to establish a good human-donkey relationship. This review aims to investigate scientific literature on donkey behaviour and cognition, along with the behavioural tests that have been used so far to explore these topics. Searches of Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection, Scielo and Medline (through the WoS platform) and Google Scholar performed prior to March 2020 resulted in 75 records dealing with the question outlined in the present review. This research allowed us to delineate a qualitative synthesis of the studies’ characteristics, as well as a narrative summary of the topics covered by the investigated scientific literature, and to identify the behavioural tests used for donkeys. The hope is that a deeper knowledge of this species in regard to of the abovementioned aspects would allow donkeys to benefit from an improvement of human respect for their welfare.

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