Can Donkeys Laugh? 3 Sounds

Can Donkeys Laugh

Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them.

It is believed and even observed that there are dozens of animals out there who happen to laugh. Surprisingly, some animals produce an audible laughing sound as well.

However, most of the animals who can laugh live in the wild. There is only one domestic animal who is believed to have a spectacular laugh. That domestic animal is the beast of burden; the donkey.

Donkeys do not just display their teeth but produce a Hee-Haw sound as well. However, if you judge the animal more keenly, you would probably have a different story to tell.

Can Donkeys Laugh?

No donkeys do not laugh. The facial expressions and the sound they produce trick us into thinking that the donkey’s laugh has a different meaning.

It’s common for animals to communicate through gestures. Therefore, the facial expression and the Hee-Haw sound might be a donkey’s way of warning, expressing pain or joy.

If donkeys can not laugh, is the Hee-Haw sound and the facial expression misleading?
Yes, the facial expressions and the Hee-Haw sound is misleading.

The Hee-Haw and the Yee-haw are both known as braying. Donkeys brays for a variety of reasons.

The braying that appears like a laugh is made when the donkey is feeling lonely, territorial, or unwell.

Some donkey keepers have also noticed that donkeys bray upon the sight of predators. Besides that, donkeys can bray in a state of hunger and discomfort as well.

Therefore, half of the reality has been exposed, now the display of teeth is Flehmen’s response, flehmen’s position, flehmen’s reaction, flehmen’s grimace, or flehmening.

A donkey is flehmening when he curls up the upper lip, puts his teeth on display, and tries to inhale through the nostrils.

Flehmen’s response appears a lot like a laugh, however, the purpose of this response is quite surprising.

The donkeys do so to transfer the smell to an organ situated above the mouth. This organ’s job is to process new smells.

Some experts also suggest that the flehmen’s response is simply an intra-species communication.

Donkeys can neither smile nor laugh

Donkeys are one of the most unfortunate animals that can neither smile nor laugh. It’s chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, and baboons that can “actually” laugh or smile.

Out of all these animals, baboons have the most obvious laugh. However, the other animals do a visible laugh but not as obvious as baboons.

Hee-Haw sound or the flehmen’s response

If you try to judge the situation whenever the donkey produces a hee-haw sound or give a flehmen’s response, it would be the toughest moment for the poor little fella.

They never display their teeth and produce a hee-haw sound in funny situations. That’s proof that donkeys do not laugh or smile.

Related How Much Does A Donkey Cost?

Why Do Donkeys Not Laugh or Smile?

They are not made so. Only animals that are made to laugh, happen to laugh and smile.

They are naturally not that expressive. They hardly show appreciation, affection, and happiness.

However, the pain and discomfort can easily be seen. Being a tough dude, donkeys do not find anything laughable.

Most of the fellas out there are living a tough life, they have to carry burdens on their back every day and got to perform tough duties. Therefore, they have forgotten to laugh or smile.

There might be one or two more reasons as well. However, these reasons are yet to be discovered.


Are donkeys “really” laughing?

No, donkeys can not be laughing. They can neither smile nor laugh, what you might have been taking as a laugh is a flehmen’s response.

What does the donkey’s laugh sound like?

Most people think the Hee-Haw sound that donkeys produce is their laugh. However, the reality is that donkeys do not laugh. The Hee-Haw sound is flehmen’s response, not the laugh.

Can donkeys laugh like humans?

No, donkeys can not laugh and even smile like humans. It’s Chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans that can laugh. No other animal can laugh or smile.

If donkeys do not laugh, why do they say Hee-Haw?

The Hee-Haw sound is known as bray. It is often made when the donkey is lonely, territorial, sick, or in pain. Therefore, it can not be associated with laughing.


In brief, donkeys are not one of those animals who can laugh or smile. The hee-haw sound is bray and the display of teeth that is known as flehmen’s response.

It is given at the time of discomfort, pain, or sickness. Sometimes, the reaction is given upon the sight of predators as well.

It’s chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, and baboons that can laugh, not donkeys. Donkeys are tough dudes, they either do not find anything funny at all or have forgotten to laugh because of the rough and tough lifestyle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.