Published: 13:09, 01 April 2003
NO, it wasn't an April Fool's joke. An ass with striped legs which arrived at Groombridge Place, near Tunbridge Wells, last week really is an animal in its own right.
The "zeedonk", is a half donkey, half zebra crossbreed, and together with a miniature donkey called Peaches, is the latest animal attraction in Groombridge Place's Enchanted Forest.
Groombridge Place director Roly Rickcord said: "Our zeedonk is about the size of a small donkey and is pale dun-coloured with black stripes on his ears and along his back, with very fetching black and white striped legs, rather like exotic stockings.
"He really has to be seen to be believed."
The zeedonk is one of only a few to be found in this country. The hybrid is only possible because zebras and donkeys are closely related and are both in the same genus, equus.
Zeedonks are sterile and are only found in captivity, but are otherwise like "normal" donkeys and zebras, eating a diet of hay and grass and living for around 30 years.
The as yet unnamed zeedonk will not be alone in the Enchanted Forest - he has brought along his constant companion and best friend, Peaches, a miniature donkey.
Mr Rickcord said: "They make a very magical couple and are absolutely inseparable, so we are going to keep them together."