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Hidden Wonder:  The Zonkey

One hybrid you can’t purchase this holiday season.


Peter Crooks

We love our pets in the East Bay: Cats, dogs, rabbits . . . zonkeys. Wait, zonkeys? Make that zonkey, singular. Because there’s only one, and her name is Zsa Zsa.

Zsa Zsa, who turns seven this month, is the uncommon offspring of a zebra stallion and a donkey mama, belonging to Jim and Kathryn Stewart, owners of a 450-acre cattle ranch near San Ramon’s Bollinger Canyon Road.

So what side of the family does Zsa Zsa take after?

“She is extremely sweet and friendly,” says Jim, a veterinarian. “She definitely has more of the donkey personality than zebra. Zebras tend to be flighty, and you do not want to stand right behind them.”

While the Stewarts do breed and sell zebras “for about the price of a horse,” Zsa Zsa is definitely not on the market for any enterprising gift givers.

“I was there when she was born, in the middle of a rainstorm,” says Kathryn, a research coordinator for Children’s Hospital Oakland.

“We fell in love with her right away. This will always be her home.” 

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