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The "Ragusano" donkey
Ages ago, the donkey was an important presence in the countrysides: 30, 40 years ago in the Southern Italy it was frequent to meet donkeys that transported cargos, made grinders rotate or hauled plows.
The original donkey of the Sicily belonged to native race such as the Sicilian race or the race of the isle of Pantelleria, being this latter extinguished by now.
The race of Ragusa is one of the youngest: in 1953 the Institute of Horse Increment of Catania succeded in fixing some of its characteristics.
The "Ragusano" donkey has a dark bay coat with the stomach "of grass snake or of deer", grey snout with shaved hairs, black mane and tail, light head, nearly rectilinear profile, wide and flat forehead, large eyes circled of white hair, straight and of medium length ears, wide rump and sturdy limbs and it can live up to 45 years old.
In ancient times its main function was the hard work in the farms, but in the latest years a new, good and important characteristic has been discovered thanks to its milk.
The milk has characteristics very similar to the human one milk. As a matter of fact it is indicated as a substitution of the maternal one when babies have an alimentary intolerance.