About the Przewalski’s horse

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Przewalski’s horse was discovered in Central Asia in 1879 by Nikolai Przewalski, and was described as a new species by Ivan Polyakov in 1881.

Under protection:

Przewalski’s horse registered in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. It is now extinct in nature.


Historically, the habitat Przewalski’s horse in the West reached river Volga, and in the East - Daursky steppes. Within their habitat horses mainly stayed in the dry steppes and high valleys - up to 2000 m above sea level. The main habitat of the Przewalski’s horse in this region was in the steppes and semi-deserts, rich with grass. Last natural habitat of the Przewalski’s horse was limited by Jungar Gobi, where with the oases around fresh and salty waters, the horses could find water, food and shelter.

Currently Przewalski’s horses are preserved only in zoos and wildlife reserves around the world. Attempts to restore population of the Przewalski’s horses in the wild are made in Mongolia and China. There are also plans to launch an experiment of reintroduction of Przewalski’s horses in the Orenburg steppe.


Length: up to 200cm

Height at the shoulders:  up to 136cm

Weight: 300-350kg


Horses have solid build with short but strong legs, big head, thick neck and small ears.

Coat of Przewalski’s horse is sandy-red color (roan) and lighter belly. Tail, mane and "stockings" on the legs are brownish-black. In winter coat is longer and warmer than in domestic horses. On the head they have a short standing mane and a dark strap on the back. 

Behavior and lifestyle:

Przewalski's horses lead gregarious lifestyle. They tend to stay in harem groups, led by an adult stallion with 4-5 mares and several foals and in bachelor groups, consisting mainly of young stallions. Old males, unable to keep a harem, live alone or join the bachelors.

The Przewalski’s horses during the day have several cycles of wakefulness and rest. The horses are grazing most of the day, but prefer morning or evening twilight. An experienced adult mare usually leads the group of horses in the pasture and the harem stallion closes the group

During the day they rest, choosing a place on the hill for a better view of the surroundings, as these species have good eyesight, hearing and sense of smell. 

When resting, mares are usually half-asleep standing up and the stallion looks around to for any danger to warn the others as early as possible.


In the wild their diet was mainly grass: feather grass, wheatgrass, fescue, reeds.

Horses, which now live in wild reserves on other continents, are perfectly able to adapt to the local grass.

During grazing, several horses are monitoring the surroundings while the rest are eating. In winder they get the food from under snow by using their front hooves.

Life span

Usually up to 25 years 

Cause for extinction


Direct extirpation, active exclusion from the pasture and habitat.