Don’t Feed the Donkeys!

Posted on: Monday, December 22nd, 2008
Posted in: Travelog, 1st Stop: St. John, Latest Trip | Leave a comment

Yep, there are wild donkeys on St. John. They’re not that wild, actually, and sometimes look lazier than statues. But they’re feral. And even though most tourists are tempted, it’s best not to to feed them. Or pet them. Or even get close. They’re aggressive and have bad breath.

Beware the feral donkey, and their do-do.

Beware the feral donkeys, and their do-do.

Why are they here? Like so many locals, they arrived long ago and got stuck.  Like being on island time. Not that donkeys have anywhere else to go.  

Most folks say they were used for farming—way back in the 1700s and 1800s, when 75% of this hilly place grew sugar and spices for shipping back to Denmark.

Nowadays, they mostly harangue tourists, nosh on dumpster chow, chomp on landscaping, and have loud sex in the middle of the night. (While two procreate, the others cheer them on.)

They’re not entirely useless. Local “bush doctors” watch them for clues on what bark they chew on when arthritis sets in. St. Croix (USVI) requested and imported some for their own local color. And one enterprising US escapee used to offer rides on a tame one to gullible vacationers.

She went out of business and moved back to New Jersey. As for the donkeys, they’re still here, providing an moving-target driving hazard and making asses of themselves.

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