Pack animal

A pack animal or beast of burden is an individual or type of working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back, in contrast to draft animals which pull loads but do not carry them.

Traditional pack animals are diverse including camels, goats, yaks, reindeer, water buffaloes, and llamas as well as the more familiar pack animals like horses, donkeys and mules.

Pack Horse 2
Horse packing with traditional Australian pack saddle

Pack versus draft

The term pack animal is traditionally used in contrast to draft animal, which is a working animal that typically pulls a load behind itself (such as a plow, a cart, a sled or a heavy log) rather than carrying cargo directly on its back.[1] For instance, sled dogs pull loads but do not normally carry them, while working elephants have been used for centuries to haul logs out of forests.[2]


Traditional pack animals include ungulates such as camels,[3] the domestic yak, reindeer, goats,[4] water buffaloes and llama,[5] and domesticated members of the horse family including horses, donkeys, and mules.[6] Occasionally, dogs can be used to carry small loads.[7][8]


A nomad's pack camel in Eyl, Somalia

Reindeer and pack, with Lapp driver

Pack reindeer with Sami driver from The land of the midnight sun, c. 1881

Fleischextrakt 0002773 m

1900 advertisement showing pack yaks in Tibet

Lloyd the Llama

Pack llama, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Bimanees met lastkarbouwen Res. Timor Soembawa TMnr 10013888

Pack water buffalo, Sumbawa, Indonesia, early 20th century

Pack donkeys, Bucks Mills, Devon

Pack donkeys, Devon, England, c. 1906


Hortus Deliciarum 40-3m
Medieval pack horse and donkey in Hortus Deliciarum, Europe, 12th century, when packing was a major means of transport of goods
Marines train resupply techniques with pack animals 140831-M-ED261-010
US Marines training in resupply with pack mules. Bridgeport, California, 2014

Hauling of goods in wagons with horses and oxen gradually displaced the use of packhorses, which had been important until the Middle Ages, by the sixteenth century.[9]

Pack animals may be fitted with pack saddles and may also carry saddlebags.[10]

While traditional usage of pack animals by nomadic tribespeople is declining, a new market is growing in the tourist expeditions industry in regions such as the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, allowing visitors the comfort of backpacking with animals.[6] The use of pack animals "is considered a valid means of viewing and experiencing" some National Parks in America, subject to guidelines and closed areas.[11]

In the 21st century, special forces have received guidance on the use of horses, mules, llamas, camels, dogs, and elephants as pack animals.[12]

Load carrying capacity

The load for oxen is their body weight (1500-2500 pounds) at walking pace and 2X for short hauls. [13]

The maximum load for a camel is roughly 300 kg.[14]

Yaks are loaded differently according to region. In Sichuan, 75 kg is carried for 30 km in 6 hours. In Qinghai, at 4100 m altitude, packs of up to 300 kg are routinely carried, while up to 390 kg is carried by the heaviest steers for short periods.[15]

Llamas can carry roughly 1/4 of their body weight, so an adult male of 200 kg can carry some 50 kg.[16]

Loads for equids are disputed. The US Army specifies a maximum of 20 percent of body weight for mules walking up to 20 miles a day in mountains, giving a load of up to about 150 kg. However an 1867 text mentioned a load of up to 800 pounds (about 360 kg). In India, the prevention of cruelty rules (1965) limit mules to 200 kg and ponies to 70 kg.[17]

Reindeer can carry up to 40 kg for a prolonged period in mountains.[18]

Pack animals by region

See also


  1. ^ "Our Right to be Outside: Three Mules". No Tech Magazine. 24 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Elephants in Logging Operations in Sri Lanka". Food and Agriculture Organization. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  3. ^ "The Best Invention Since The Wheel". No Tech Magazine. 4 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Pack Goats". No Tech Magazine. 13 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Llamas as Pack Animals". Buckhorn Llama Co. 1997. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Pack-animal welfare checks introduced for the expeditions industry". The Donkey Sanctuary. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Gear for Your Dog: Backpacks, Saddle Bags, Harnesses, and More". WebMD. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  8. ^ Barbara Fitzgerald. "The Modern Bark - Dog Training Tips: Find Your Ideal Dog Backpack - 5 Best Dog Backpacks Reviewed". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  9. ^ Aston, T. H. (2 November 2006). Landlords, Peasants and Politics in Medieval England. Cambridge University Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-0-521-03127-1.
  10. ^ "How Much Weight Can My Horse Carry?". Outfitters Supply. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Horse & Pack Animal Use". National Park Service. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  12. ^ "FM 3-05.213 (FM 31-27) Special Forces Use of Pack Animals" (PDF). Headquarters, Department of the Army. June 2004. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  13. ^
  14. ^ CSIRO (2006). Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals The Camel (Camelus dromedarius) (2nd ed.). CSIRO Publishing. p. 8.
  15. ^ "Draught performance". Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about Llamas and Alpacas". Touch the Heart Ranch. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. ^ Bonner, Laurie. "How Much Weight Can Your Horse Safely Carry?". Equus Magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  18. ^ Nickul, Karl (1997). The Lappish Nation. Psychology Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7007-0922-9.

External links

Animal-borne bomb attacks

Animal-borne bomb attacks are the use of animals as delivery systems for explosives. The explosives are strapped to a pack animal such as a horse, mule or donkey. The pack animal may be set off in a crowd.

Projects of bat bombs and pigeon bomb have also been studied.

Animal transportation

Animal transportation may refer to:

Transportation of animals:

Transportation of animals

Livestock transportation

Animal transporter

Animal Transportation Association

Transportation by animals

Animal-powered transport

Pack animal

Bosnian Mountain Horse

The Bosnian Mountain Horse (Serbo-Croatian: Bosanski brdski konj, Босански брдски коњ), also known as "Bosnian Pony", is the only indigenous breed of domestic horse in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it constitutes about 70% of the horse population. It is a small horse and is used both as a pack animal and for riding. Breed numbers were severely reduced during the Bosnian War of 1992–1995, and, unlike populations of other farm animals, continued to fall after the end of the war.

Bourbonnais Donkey

The Bourbonnais Donkey, French: Âne bourbonnais, is a breed of domestic donkey from the historic region of the Bourbonnais, which corresponds roughly with the modern département of Allier, in the Auvergne region of central France. It was in the past used as a pack animal, for hauling barges, and to pull light gigs. The breed was recognised by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, the French ministry of agriculture, in 2002. The stud book is kept by the Association de l'Ane Bourbonnais, an association of breeders.

Cotentin Donkey

The Cotentin Donkey, French: Âne du Cotentin, is a breed of domestic donkey from the Cotentin peninsula, in the département of la Manche, in the Lower Normandy region in north-west France. It is found mostly in that region, but is distributed through much of north-western France. It was in the past used as a pack animal in agricultural work, mainly for carrying milk churns; it is now used in leisure sports and tourism. The breed was recognised by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, the French ministry of agriculture, in 1997. The stud book is kept by the Association de l'âne du Cotentin, an association of breeders.


The Fariñeiro or Galician: 'Burro Fariñeiro' is a breed of small domestic donkey indigenous to the autonomous community of Galicia, in north-west Spain. Its name derives from its former use as a pack animal to transport sacks of flour (Galician: fariña). It may also be referred to as the Spanish: 'Asno Gallego'. It does not have official recognition, and its numbers are severely reduced. It is found mainly in the Península del Morrazo in the province of Pontevedra, in the area surrounding Betanzos in the province of A Coruña, in the comarcas of the los Ancares and O Caurel areas of the province of Lugo and in the mountains of the province of Ourense.

Folk taxonomy

A folk taxonomy is a vernacular naming system, and can be contrasted with scientific taxonomy. Folk biological classification is the way people traditionally describe and organize their natural surroundings/the world around them, typically making generous use of form taxa like "shrubs", "bugs", "ducks", "fish" and the like, or of economic criteria such as "game animal" or "pack animal". Folk taxonomies are generated from social knowledge and are used in everyday speech. They are distinguished from scientific taxonomies that claim to be disembedded from social relations and thus objective and universal.

Anthropologists have observed that taxonomies are generally embedded in local cultural and social systems, and serve various social functions. One of the most well-known and influential studies of folk taxonomies is Émile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

Folk taxonomies exist to allow popular identification of classes of objects, and apply to all areas of human activity. All parts of the world have their own systems of naming local plants and animals. These naming systems are a vital aid to survival and include information such as the fruiting patterns of trees and the habits of large mammals. These localised naming systems are folk taxonomies. Theophrastus recorded evidence of a Greek folk taxonomy for plants, but later formalized botanical taxonomies were laid out in the 18th century by Carl Linnaeus.

Critics of the concept of "race" in humans argue that race is a folk taxonomy rather than a scientific classification.Scientists generally recognize that folk taxonomies conflict at times with Linnaean taxonomy or current interpretations of evolutionary relationships, and can tend to refer to generalized rather than quantitatively informative traits in an organism.

Hank Chapman

Henry P. Chapman (living status unknown), who is credited in comics under both his formal name and as Hank Chapman, is an American comic book writer for Marvel Comics' two predecessors, Timely Comics and Atlas Comics, and later for DC Comics, where he specialized in war fiction. Though much of his Timely/Atlas work went unsigned, comics historians estimate that Chapman, a staff writer, penned several hundred or more stories.Among Chapman's works is an early self-reflexive comic-book story, in 1951, in which he and editor Stan Lee appear; and the creation, with artist Jack Abel, of the DC Comics character Sgt. Mule, a pack animal that helped its Allied keepers fight the Nazis in a variety of World War II stories.

Hunky and Spunky

Hunky and Spunky are fictional characters, appearing in the series of animated short subjects produced by Fleischer Studios for Paramount Pictures from 1938 to 1941. Filmed in Technicolor (three-strip), the series revolves around a mother burro and her son.

Lash cinch

In the field of animal packing, a lash cinch is the piece of tack used optionally on a pack animal to further secure a load onto a pack saddle.


Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consumption, while other times it refers only to farmed ruminants, such as cattle and goats. Horses are considered livestock in the United States.The breeding, maintenance, and slaughter of livestock, known as animal husbandry, is a component of modern agriculture that has been practiced in many cultures since humanity's transition to farming from hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animal husbandry practices have varied widely across cultures and time periods. Originally, livestock were not confined by fences or enclosures, but these practices have largely shifted to intensive animal farming, sometimes referred to as "factory farming". Now, over 99% of livestock are raised on factory farms. These practices increase yield of the various commercial outputs, but have also led to negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment. Livestock production continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous rural communities.


The llama (; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʎama]) (Lama glama) is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era.

The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 1.7 to 1.8 m (5 ft 7 in to 5 ft 11 in) tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 130 and 200 kg (290 and 440 lb). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 9 and 14 kg (20 and 31 lb). Llamas typically live for 15 to 25 years, with some individuals surviving 30 years or more.They are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, they can carry about 25 to 30% of their body weight for 8 to 13 km (5–8 miles).The name llama (in the past also spelled 'lama' or 'glama') was adopted by European settlers from native Peruvians.Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America about three million years ago during the Great American Interchange. By the end of the last ice age (10,000–12,000 years ago), camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over seven million llamas and alpacas in South America, and due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.

Lone wolf (trait)

A lone wolf is an animal or person that generally lives or spends time alone instead of with a group. The term originates from wolf behavior. Normally a pack animal, wolves that have left or been excluded from their pack are described as lone wolves.

Norman donkey

The Norman donkey, French: Âne Normand, is a breed of domestic donkey from Normandy, in north-west France. It is found mainly in the present-day Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy regions, and is also present in Brittany and the Pays de Loire. It is the smallest of the seven recognised French donkey breeds. It was formerly used as a pack animal in agricultural work, mainly for carrying milk churns; it is now used in leisure sports and tourism. The breed was recognised by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, the French ministry of agriculture, in 1997. The stud book is kept by the Association de l'Âne Normand, an association of breeders.

Private transport

Private transport (as opposed to public transport) is transportation service which is not available for use by the general public. Often public transportation service providers are privately owned; notwithstanding, any and all services provided by such companies that is available to the general public is considered public transport. While private transportation may be used alongside nearly all modes of public transportation, private railroad cars are rare. Unlike many forms of public transportation, which may be subsidized, the entire cost of private transportation is born directly or indirectly by the user.

Private transport is the dominant form of transportation in most of the world. In the United States, for example, 86.2% of passenger miles are by passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and trucks.Examples of private transport are listed below.




Electric bicycle

Electric skateboard




Motorized wheelchair

Private jet

Motor ship



Horse-drawn vehicle

Hot air balloon

Ice skates

Inline skates

Pack animal

Roller skates




WheelchairCycling and walking, above all, have been recognized as the most sustainable transport systems. In general, all muscle-driven mobility will have a similar energy efficiency while at the same time being almost emission-free (apart from the CO2 exhaled during breathing).

The negative environmental impact of private transport can be alleviated by choosing the optimal modal share for a given environment and transport requirements.

Provence Donkey

The Provence Donkey, French: Âne de Provence, is a breed of domestic donkey from Provence, in south-eastern France. It is now distributed through much of central and south-east France, with the highest concentration in Provence and the Rhône-Alpes region. For hundreds of years the Provence donkey was used by transhumant shepherds of the area as a pack animal in the seasonal movement of flocks of sheep between their summer pastures on the high Alps of Haute-Provence and the Dauphiné and their winter grounds in Basse-Provence.


For the dragonfly genus, see Tramea.Saddlebags are bags that are attached to saddles.


A sommelier ( or ; French pronunciation: ​[sɔməlje]), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. The role in fine dining today is much more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter. Sommeliers Australia states that the role is strategically on par with that of the chef de cuisine.

Sweetwater Mountains

The Sweetwater Mountains (highest peak Mount Patterson 11,654 feet (3,552 m)) is a small mountain range in northern Mono County, California and western Lyon County, Nevada, separating the West Walker River from the East Walker River. Most of the range is only accessible by four wheel drive vehicle, on foot, or pack animal. Most of the range is contained in the Toiyabe National Forest. The place name appears on the 1874 California Geologic Survey map of California and Nevada.

The ghost towns of Belfort and Clinton are small gold mining camps on the south-eastern slope of Mt. Patterson. The Sweetwater post office existed on the eastern boundary of the range in the 1920s. The Fales post office existed on the south-western boundary in 1877. Both Clinton and Belfort had post offices in the 1880s. There are several other inactive small gold mining camps and gold mines in the range, including Boulder Flat, Montague Mine, Angelo Mission Mine, Kentuck Mine, Frederick Mine, Longstreet Mine, Lilly Mine, Deep Creek Mine, and Tiger Mine. The area roughly forming a SE quadrant from the summit of Mt Patterson, bounded by Sweetwater Canyon (easterly line) and Frying Pan Canyon (southerly line), is known as the Patterson Mining District of Mono County according to the 1888 report of the State of California Mineralologist. The 1888 report also records the Cameron mining camp, which is now unknown. At least one mining company issued stock: Monte Cristo Consolidated Mining Company, 100,000 shares issued in 1887 at $10 each.

The Sweetwater Mountains geology largely consists of a pluton surrounded by volcanic flow from the Little Walker Caldera. Mt. Patterson is a volcano of uncertain age which is capped with white rhyolite.

Besides Mount Patterson, other peaks in the Sweetwater Range include Middle Sister and East Sister.

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