The Burro Suitor

During our time in Death Valley, especially when we were staying at the Geologists’ Cabin, we were able to witness a wide variety of natural behaviors of the Wild Burros who called the Park their home. One such memorable encounter happened as we were sitting out behind the Cabin under our sunshade just taking in the majesty of our surroundings.

About 15 meters below where we sat is the outflow of Anvil Spring which, in the confines of the Park, make the area a much-needed gathering spot for a wide variety of wildlife. The pack of burros that regularly frequented the area was about 15 strong and they stopped by numerous times throughout each day to quench their thirst, catch up on the day’s events in the burro world and meet up with friends and try to make new ones.

This 91 second video shows one such attempt at an amorous encounter between a male burro and the object of his affections, a female who had a recently born baby in tow. As mother and baby try to relax in the shade of the brush surrounding the spring the suitor approaches her from behind and tries to mount her several times. She indicated her displeasure at that idea with verbal retorts at first and then, when they had no effect, she resorted to that tried and true technique of kicking her pushy suitor in the face. Hard. Several times. At first she had several close misses, possibly to be nice and try to scare him off. When that didn’t work she hauled off and connected solidly with a sound that we could easily hear up at our vantage point.

When even those solid smacks upside the head didn’t stop the unwanted attentions she ran off with her baby, suitor in close pursuit, carefully slowing down to keep herself between her baby and the unwanted pursuer while giving several more kicks on the run just to make sure the point was well taken.

Scenes like this played out several times each day as well as the obvious power struggles for dominance in the herd. Not what we originally came to the Valley to see but an interesting addition to our experiences while in the park.

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