It can be easy to forget that mustangs run across the US. No, we’re not talking about the famous car, but the incredible animal that’s called the place home for hundreds of years. These wild facts about America’s wild mustangs certainly put the horses in a new perspective for many.
Where did America’s wild mustangs come from?
Believe it or not, but mustangs aren’t supposed to be a part of America. Although they are now an iconic animal to many, they weren’t in the States until the 1500s when Spanish explorers brought their horses to investigate the new land. This reason means the American Museum of Natural History doesn’t technically class mustangs as wild. Instead, they are considered to be feral animals.
How do mustangs live?
Perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering how mustangs live in the wild? Things are pretty simple as they live in herds that are around eight to ten adult horses strong. Each herd is run by a dominant stallion and around eight mares as well as they’re young. When they feel they are in danger, the lead mare will lead the others to safety, while the stallion will often stay and fight off whatever could cause them harm.
What do America’s wild mustangs eat?
Like every other breed of horse, wild mustangs eat mainly brush and grass, meaning they can travel several miles a day searching for food. The Bureau of Land Management in the US has designated 26.9 million acres of public land to wild horses and donkeys to ensure they always have enough to eat. Now, they are split into ten manageable herd areas found in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, Oregon-Washington, Montana-Dakotas, and Idaho.
Are there different types of mustangs?
Even though they were brought to the US from Spain, several mustangs have been bred with domestic horses throughout the centuries. This means that many have bloodlines back to their ancestors but are also related to thoroughbreds and draft horses. However, this varies between herds. Mustangs living in Oregon typically live in smaller herds and have a reduced gene pool. This means they are more closely related to their Spanish ancestors than most other mustangs residing across the nation.
Are America’s wild mustangs controlled?
They might be wild, but mustangs can be tamed and domesticated if they are given the proper training. Sadly, this has been highly debated over the years. Some argue they should be captured and retrained to ensure the populations never get too out of control. Others think they should be left on public land and controlled with a breeding program instead. One of the main reasons that America’s wild mustangs have thrived is because they no longer have natural predators, such as wolves. Some now consider them to be an invasive species as a result.
It turns out there is a lot more to America’s wild mustangs than first meets the eye. In fact, the species has come a long way since they first stepped hoof in the US all those hundreds of years ago.