HORSE

Scientific name     

Equus ferus caballus

Adult Weight

54 - 998 kg

 

Diet

Herbivore. Mainly feeds on aquatic plants, grass and leaves.

 

Gestation Period

11-12 months

 

Lifespan

25 – 30 years

 

Uses        

Horses were historically used in warfare. They are mainly used for riding, as transport, racing, and just plain riding, carrying things or pulling carts, or to help plow farmer's ­yields in agriculture. Horses have also been used for meat, milk, and glue. Today, horses are mostly used for entertainment and sports. They are also still used for work and transportation in some places.


Characteristic         

The horse is a hoofed mammal with four long limbs and a barrel-shaped body. It has a long neck that supports a large, long head, and the eyes and ears are large. The tail is short but covered with long, coarse hairs that extend its length. Long hair also grows along the top ridge of the neck. These hairs can be many di‑erent colours, as can the horse's coat: brown, black, grey, spotted, or a combination of two di‑erent colours. The horse’s long neck enables it to eat short grasses without lying down and also to raise its head high to improve its range of vision as it looks for danger. Its eyes are set in the sides of the head for increased all-around vision. Horses have large nostrils to smell danger, large ears to hear everything around it, and large eyes that detect movement very well.

They have a circulatory system, a respiratory system, a nervous system and have developed a large strong band of connective tissue, called the nuchal ligament, to provide support for their relatively long and heavily muscled neck. Their slower metabolism than other companion animals, with slower resting heart and respiratory rates is associated with a longer life span than that of many other companion animals.

Horses generate considerable heat during exercise. They lose heat primarily by evaporative cooling (usually sweating). Horses are large, bulky animals that are good at conserving heat during periods of colder weather. The equine leg is designed for rapid movement over a variety of surfaces. The upper part of the leg is heavily muscled, while the lower part acts as a springboard to enhance the stride. The leg is supported by a suspensory apparatus of tendons and ligaments. The tendons, which can be felt along the back of the lower leg, run the length of the limb, while the many joints are held together and protected by ligaments and joint capsules. Horses have good memory.

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