Zoo Paints Donkey To Look Like A Zebra, Then Tries To Deny It After Getting Caught Red-Handed

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Zebras are one of the coolest-looking animals in the animal kingdom, but unfortunately, they can be pretty feisty and hard to transport.

What’s a zoo to do? Just paint another animal with some zebra stripes and call it a day, apparently.

Student Mahmoud Sarhan visited a zoo in Cairo, Egypt, where he saw an animal that looked, in some ways, like a zebra. It had black and white stripes and a short, spiky mane.

But upon a closer look, Mahmoud saw that the animal was different in some key ways. It was much smaller than a zebra, and its ears were longer and pointier. Oh, and it had paint smudges on its face.

The animal was, evidently, not a zebra at all, but a donkey. The zoo had painted its body and mane with black and white stripes to make it look like a zebra. From far away, at least.

Mahmoud posted the photo of the donkey on social media, where it gathered attention from all around the world.

It seems that there was another donkey-turned-zebra in the enclosure, too.

And while the donkey’s upgrade from “farm animal” to “exotic African animal” is cute and all, people are pretty worried about an animal being covered in paint.

They can’t imagine that the donkey is happy about the situation.

And the paint job clearly isn’t fooling anyone, anyway.

For reference, here’s what a zebra actually looks like:

And here’s a donkey:

It’s all in the ears. And the snout. And the lack of paint smudges.

Some people did find the humor in this situation, though.

They came up with a new name for the knockoff.

And they can kind of relate.

Then people started to imagine what other trickery this zoo was pulling.

Really, what’s next?


It’s a fair point, because this isn’t the first time a zoo has been accused of faking an animal. A zoo in Gaza used hair dye to paint two donkeys like zebras.

“The children don’t know, so they call them zebras and they are happy to see something new,” the owner of the zoo said.

Meanwhile, the owner of this particular “zonkey” denies that the animal is a fake.

OK, sir. Whatever you say.

What do you think?