Animals

Mustang Horse: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

One of the most interesting mustang horse facts is that they are feral and free-roaming horses.
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Mustang horses are free-roaming and feral horses that are found mainly in the USA in North America. They are considered wild horses but are actually feral horses since they have descended from domesticated horses that originally came from Spain. They are found roaming free in the wild in herds in a range of different places like Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Idaho. 'Wild' mustangs mostly live in the grasslands and use grass and shrubs as food. Ever since their numbers declined drastically in the late 1800s and the 1900s, they have been given 26.9 million acres (108,860 sq. km) of public land by the Bureau of Land Management in the USA to roam and live in. These ownerless horses usually live in herds led by mares. A single herd has just one stallion, multiple females and the rest are snares. Mustangs can be dangerous if they feel their herds are threatened and they live for 36 years on average. Since they are not one of the true wild horse breeds, mustang horses have a status of Not Evaluated by the IUCN.

Read on to know more mustang horse facts for kids. For more relatable content, check out these Arabian stallion fun facts and draft horse facts for kids.

Mustang Horse

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Grass, brush, flowers, leaves, berries, seeds, and fruits

What do they eat?

Herbivore

Average litter size?

1

How much do they weigh?

800 lb (363 kg)

How long are they?

N/A

How tall are they?

56-64 in (1.4-1.6 m)

What do they look like?

Bay (reddish-brown), sorrel (chestnut), black, brown, cream, gray, pinto, palomino, and pinto

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Humans, mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, and bears

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Grasslands

Locations

North America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Equus ferus caballus

Family

Equidae

Genus

Equus

Mustang Horse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mustang horse?

The mustang horse is a feral and free-roaming horse.

What class of animal does a mustang horse belong to?

The mustang horse belongs to the Mammalia class of animals.

How many mustang horses are there in the world?

According to the American Mustang program, there are presently around 70,000 free-roaming 'wild' mustangs in the USA.

Where does a mustang horse live?

Mustang horses are found in the western parts of the United States in North America. Herd management areas of mustangs are in places like Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Montana-Dakotas, Idaho, Oregon-Washington, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. The mustang horse range also includes the coasts of the Atlantic and on islands like Shackleford, Sable, and Assateague.

What is a mustang horse's habitat?

Mustangs live in the grasslands of the USA. They, along with Burros, are allowed 26.9 million acres (108,860 sq. km) of public land by the Bureau of Land Management.

Who do mustang horses live with?

Mustangs live with other horses in groups or herds. A single herd of these Spanish horses contains one stallion, eight females, and their children. In times of danger, different herds may mix together. A single female is the leader of the herd and the sole stallion is over the age of six years. In most dangerous situations, the head mare's responsibility is to lead the herd to safety and the stallion has to stay back and fight.

How long does a mustang horse live?

Mustang horses live for 36 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

Mustang horses reproduce by mating and giving birth to live foals. The foals are carried by the mares for a gestation period of 11 months. Mares give birth to foals in the months of April to June. This is so that the foals have ample time to grow before the colder months.

What is their conservation status?

Since the mustang is a feral horse species descended from domesticated Spanish horses, this horse cannot be considered a truly wild species. It has not been included or listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List and has a status of Not Evaluated.

Mustang Horse Fun Facts

What do mustang horses look like?

When measured in hands like other horses, mustangs are 14-16 hands tall. These wild horses come in a variety of distinctive colors like black, brown, and cream. Mostly, they have a bay-colored or reddish-brown coat. Sorrel or chestnut is another very common color for mustangs. They also sport many different colors of spots, patches, and stripes.

Mustangs exhibit a full range of coat colors which includes a completely black mustang horse-coat.

How cute are they?

Mustangs are very cute animals. These Spanish horses are beautifully even-coated and come in almost every color possible for a horse. The coats of these animals are smooth and mostly monochromatic, but sometimes they come in striped patterns too. Also, they are intelligent creatures who are free to roam the land and form harmonious social structures.

How do they communicate?

Mustangs communicate through body language, sound cues, and even facial expressions. Like other horses, they can convey messages with a simple sound or even by a flick of their ears. These skills are learned by these originally Spanish horses from birth. These free-roaming 'wild' mustangs also move their ears to communicate where to go next or to alert their herds of coming danger. Communication among feral horses like mustangs is mostly quiet since they do not want to alarm predators.

How big is a mustang horse?

Mustang horses are 56-64 in (1.4-1.6 m) tall which makes them five to six times bigger than Miki dogs.

How fast can a mustang horse move?

Mustang horses gallop and run at speeds of 25-30 mph (40-48 kph), but they can reach much higher speeds of 55 mph (88.5 kph) over short distances.

How much does a mustang horse weigh?

On average, a mustang horse weighs 800 lb (363 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Like other horses, the male of the mustang horse species is called a stallion, and the female is called a mare.

What would you call a baby mustang horse?

A baby mustang horse is called a foal.

What do they eat?

Mustangs mainly eat grass and brush for food but they may also eat flowers, leaves, berries, seeds, and fruits.

Predators of mustang horses include mountain lions, coyotes, wolves, and bears.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, mustangs are feral and not wild horses, but still dangerous. If a human or their dog is perceived as a threat to the herd or a foal, these horses can become aggressive. 'Wild' mustang horses are known to charge, bite, or even kick someone they perceive as a threat. Horses that have been separated from their herds are even more dangerous. However, attacks on humans by feral horses such as Spanish mustangs are rare, but one should keep their distance because they are massive and powerful animals that can cause debilitating injuries. Riding a feral, untamed animal like a mustang is a bad choice.

Would they make a good pet?

Mustangs are essentially wild, but they do have the potential to be tamed. Mustangs caught in the wild take a longer time to be tamed than animals bred in captivity.

From the 1850s to the 1900s, there were cowboys known for catching, taming, and selling mustangs. They were known as 'mustang runners'.

Did you know...

Mustangs are great horses and they are known for being wild and feral. They are one of the most sturdy horse breeds and are not afraid of different terrains because of their feral nature. They can be aggressive but can also be tamed.

Mustangs can be adopted from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and they can cost anywhere between $125-$5,000. $125 is the starting price for a feral horse with some training and untrained horses can be adopted for $25. Amount of training, gender, and age influence the cost of a mustang. The $25 price tag comes from an incentive run by the BLM, wherein people can receive a total of $1,000 for adopting a mustang 'wild' horse for the nominal fee of $25. The BLM also runs online and in-person auctions for buying mustangs.

The English name for the animal, 'mustang' probably comes from the Spanish word 'mestengo' which translates to 'strayer' or 'having no master'. Another word 'mostrenco' also has the same meaning and was used to refer to a 'stray horse'.

What is so special about a mustang horse?

Mustangs are widely known as wild horses, but they are actually feral and free-roaming horses descended from Spanish domestic horses. They originally came to the United States from Spain.

Mustangs are also known for being very tough, surefooted, and hardy. This is because they have a wild heritage and are comfortable navigating lands and terrains that other horses may struggle with. This makes them ideal as trail and working horses.

What are mustang horses used for?

If mustangs can be caught and tamed, they may prove very useful. They are also comfortable with many terrains and are very hardy, swift, and agile. They can be used for trail riding or leisure riding, or for working on the ranch, riding on the racetracks, or even in the show ring.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our Przewalski's horse fun facts and Tarpan fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Andalusian horse coloring pages.

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