The Majestic Horse

Which creature has the scientific name of Equus ferus caballus?

And the answer is: the horse.

Photo courtesy: WIN-Initiative / Getty Images.

Equus is a genus of mammals that includes horses, donkeys, and zebras. The Latin term Equus ferus translates into "wild horse." When you add "callabus" to the end – Equus ferus callabus – that refers specifically to domesticated horses.

Horses and humans have a relationship dating back many thousands of years. In fact, according to the American Museum of National History, horses have been on the planet for over 50 million years. The first domesticated horses were likely brought at the hand of Asian nomads some 4,000 years ago.

Since then, horses are nearly all raised in domestication. While herds exist in pockets in almost every country in the world and every continent except Antarctica, their numbers pale in comparison to the some 400 breeds of domesticated horses used for everything from tractor pulling to competitive racing.

Wild and domestic alike, horses are herbivores. They typically spend most of the day grazing, as their digestive systems are far from efficient and require large intake to transfer sufficient nutrients. While most larger horses require multiple, substantial feeds a day, there are some breeds of pony and mini-horse that need much less. Average-sized horses eat approximately 15 to 20 pounds of food per day whereas mini horses eat just 2 to 4 pounds.

Did you know?

Half of all free-ranging horses in the United States live in Nevada. A region of the state called The Virginia Range is home to around 2,000 feral horses (feral is used to indicate horses that are the descendants of once-tame animals, but have run free for generations).

Question of the Day Mobile App


Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.