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Meet The National Animal of Mongolia, The Przewalski’s Horse (Takhi)

Mongolia is a land of endless steppes, ancient traditions, and skies so wide you’d swear they go on forever. Now, if there’s one creature that truly represents the wild spirit of this majestic country, it’s got to be the Przewalski’s horse, or as the locals lovingly call it, the takhi.

Imagine a horse, but not the kind you see on farms or in movies; this one’s wild, truly wild. Roaming free across the vast landscapes of Central Asia, the takhi is Mongolia’s proud national animal, and boy, does it have stories to tell!

Ever seen a horse with 33 pairs of chromosomes? No? Well, you’re in for a ride (not literally, though—we’ll get to that part later). Stick around, and let’s delve into the world of these magnificent creatures. You might just find yourself booking a ticket to Mongolia by the time we’re done!

Quick Info About The Przewalski’s Horse

Scientific Name:Equus ferus przewalskii
Average Size:48 to 56 inches (122 to 142 cm) at the shoulder
Average Weight:Around 660 pounds (300 kg)
Average Lifespan:15-20 years, though some live longer in captivity
Geographical Range:Originally from Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan; reintroduced to Mongolia and parts of China
Habitat:Grassland steppes, semi-desert regions
Conservation Status:Endangered (IUCN Red List)

Meet The Przewalski’s Horse, National Animal of Mongolia

So, you’ve met the takhi in words, but what does this wild spirit truly look like? Picture a stout, robust horse, shorter and stockier than what you’d see on a farm. Their coat? A captivating dun shade, a sort of dark sandy color that just screams ‘wild’.

And their mane, it stands upright, proud and untamed, much like the spirit of the Mongolian steppes. Look closely, and you might spot some dark stripes on their legs, a feature that takes us back in time, reminding us of their ancient lineage.

Now, when it comes to telling the males from the females, it’s not all that straightforward. The males are usually a tad bit larger, but other than that, the sexual dimorphism in takhi is not as pronounced as in other species. But hey, that’s nature for you, always full of surprises!

In the grand tapestry of the ecosystem, the takhi plays a unique role. Grazing on the steppes, they help control the vegetation, ensuring a balanced environment.

Predators? Well, they used to watch out for wolves, but with their numbers dwindling, the takhi doesn’t have many natural enemies left. That said, their biggest threat? It’s us, humans.

Mongolia Przewalski's Horse

Where Does The Przewalski’s Horse Live?

The takhi feels right at home in the vast grassland steppes and semi-desert regions of Mongolia. It’s as if these horses were made for the harsh, unpredictable climate of Central Asia. Summers? Hot and dry. Winters? Brutally cold. But the takhi, it takes it all in stride, showcasing a resilience that has become synonymous with the spirit of Mongolia.

Originally, their range extended to parts of China and Kazakhstan, but things have changed. With conservation efforts in full swing, we’re trying our best to give these horses a fighting chance, reintroducing them to parts of their native land.

Today, you’ll find the takhi in various parks and reserves, roaming free, wild, and majestic, just as they should be. So, whether it’s the rugged terrains of the Hustai National Park or the remote wilderness of the Gobi Desert, the takhi stands tall, a living testament to the wild beauty of Mongolia.

Why and When Did The Przewalski’s Horse Become The National Animal of Mongolia?

Now, this is a story worth telling. The takhi didn’t just wake up one day and find itself as Mongolia’s national animal. It’s a title earned through centuries of survival, a testament to the enduring spirit of the wild. The takhi is more than just a horse to the Mongolian people; it’s a symbol of freedom, strength, and the untamed beauty of the steppes.

Think about it. In a land as vast and open as Mongolia, what better represents the spirit of the country than a wild horse, roaming free? The takhi embodies the nomadic culture of Mongolia, a culture that has thrived in harmony with the harsh beauty of the Central Asian landscape.

When it comes to the nitty-gritty details, the takhi was officially declared the national animal of Mongolia not too long ago. The government, recognizing the takhi’s importance in Mongolian culture and the need to protect this endangered species, bestowed upon it this significant title. It was a move that not only highlighted the takhi’s role in Mongolian heritage but also underscored the nation’s commitment to wildlife conservation.

But hey, let’s not pretend it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Conservation is a tricky business, and there have been debates and controversies along the way.

Balancing conservation efforts with the needs of the local communities and the pressures of economic activities? Not an easy task. Yet, the takhi’s designation as a national animal has played a crucial role in garnering attention and support for its conservation.

Mongolia Przewalski's Horse

Where is The Przewalski’s Horse Featured in Mongolia?

Wouldn’t it be something if the takhi graced Mongolia’s national flag or its currency? While that’s not the case, the takhi’s presence in Mongolian culture is undeniable.

You’ll find images and references to this majestic horse in various forms of art, literature, and folklore. It’s a silent ambassador of the steppes, a living, breathing reminder of Mongolia’s wild beauty.

In parks and reserves, the takhi is featured as a star attraction, drawing locals and tourists alike. It’s a symbol of pride, a piece of the Mongolian soul that has been preserved for future generations to marvel at.

And while you might not find the takhi on a banknote or a flag, its spirit, its essence, is a part of Mongolia, undeniable and strong. Just like the takhi itself.

Names of The Przewalski’s Horse

This beautiful horse goes by many names. In Mongolia, folks often call it “takhi,” which means “spirit” or “worthy” in Mongolian. But, wait, there’s more! It’s also known as the Mongolian wild horse or the Dzungarian horse.

And for those who fancy a bit of history in their horse names, it’s sometimes called Przewalski’s horse, named after the Russian geographer, Nikołaj Przewalski, who played a part in making this magnificent creature known to the world.

Now, if you dive into the world of science, you’ll find its official title: Equus ferus przewalskii. Some folks even debate whether it’s a distinct species or a subspecies. But whatever you choose to call it, this horse is undoubtedly a marvel of Mongolia.

Is The Przewalski’s Horse Endangered?

Here’s where the story takes a serious turn. The takhi, my friends, is indeed endangered. There was a time, not too long ago, when these horses were extinct in the wild. Can you believe that? Extinct. But thanks to some serious effort and dedication, they’ve made a comeback.

Today, they roam the steppes of Mongolia once again, but their fight is far from over. The takhi faces threats from habitat loss, competition with livestock for resources, and even hybridization with domestic horses.

But here’s the silver lining: there are people out there fighting tooth and nail to ensure the takhi’s survival. Conservation programs, breeding programs, and national parks have all been established to give these horses a fighting chance.

And guess what? It’s working. The takhi’s numbers are on the rise, and while they’re still considered endangered, they’re a shining example of what conservation efforts can achieve.

Mongolia Przewalski's Horse

Interesting Facts About The Przewalski’s Horse

  1. Unique Chromosomes: The takhi stands out in the horse world with 33 chromosome pairs, one more than domestic horses. This little genetic twist highlights their unique place in the equine family.
  2. Distinctive Looks: With a robust build, a short, upright mane, and a dark stripe down their back, these horses are hard to miss. Their dun color isn’t just striking; it’s a natural camouflage that blends perfectly with the steppes.
  3. Untamed Spirits: Despite the human touch across the world, the takhi remains wild, never succumbing to domestication. They represent the untamed spirit of nature, living free on the Mongolian plains.
  4. Survivors of Extremes: These horses are not just pretty faces; they’re tough survivors, enduring the extreme weather conditions and scarce resources of the steppes.
  5. Ecosystem Balancers: Grazing on the tough plants of their habitat, the takhi plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of the steppes.
  6. Vigilant Parents: While adult takhi have no natural predators to worry about, their foals need to stay vigilant as wolves are known to prey on them.
  7. Symbols of Freedom: Beyond their ecological role, these wild horses have become symbols of freedom and the untamed beauty of Mongolia, embodying the spirit of the vast, open plains.
  8. Conservation Success Story: From once being extinct in the wild, the takhi’s comeback story is a testament to the success of conservation efforts, showcasing what dedication and care can achieve for endangered species.

Other Beautiful Animals Native To Mongolia

  • Snow Leopard: This elusive big cat is a sight to behold with its stunning fur pattern and majestic presence, thriving in the mountainous regions of Mongolia.
  • Mongolian Saiga: A unique antelope with an extraordinary nose, playing a critical role in the grassland ecosystem.
  • Corsac Fox: A small fox with striking orange fur, adapting perfectly to arid environments and harsh climates.
  • Argali Sheep: The world’s largest wild sheep species, showing off impressive curved horns and roaming the Mongolian mountains.
  • Mongolian Gazelle: A swift and graceful animal, making up large herds and traversing the vast steppes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the national animal of Mongolia and why?

The national animal of Mongolia is the Przewalski’s horse, also known as the takhi. It symbolizes strength, freedom, and the untamed beauty of Mongolia’s vast steppes.

Can you ride a Przewalski’s horse?

No, Przewalski’s horses are wild animals and have never been domesticated, making them unsuitable for riding.

How are Przewalski’s horses different from domestic horses?

Przewalski’s horses have a different chromosome count, a sturdier build, and distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from domestic horses.

Is the Przewalski’s horse endangered?

Yes, despite successful reintroduction efforts, the Przewalski’s horse is still considered endangered due to limited habitat and other threats.

What other unique wildlife can be found in Mongolia?

Mongolia is home to unique wildlife including the snow leopard, Mongolian saiga, Corsac fox, Argali sheep, and Mongolian gazelle.

Other National Symbols of Mongolia


  • Susan Fox
    Posted October 30, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    I’ve had the good fortune to visit all three locations where the takhi has been reintroduced. I’ve been to Hustai National Park, only two hours from Ulaanbaatar, quite a few times. Twice to Khomyn Tal, which is in the north west and includes a river valley and once to Takhiin Tal in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area, which is in the south-western part of Mongolia. The latter was chosen as a release site because it’s in the general area of where the last wild takhi, a stallion, was seen at a waterhole.
    There is a fourth release site getting off the ground. It will be located in the grasslands of far eastern Mongolia.
    As a fine artist specializing in animals, I’ve done quite a few paintings of takhi.

    • Post Author
      Posted October 31, 2023 at 9:10 pm

      Wow that’s amazing! It’s defintitely a privilege to see these animals in their natural habitats


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