Pack animal

Pack animal

A pack animal is a beast of burden used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back; the term may be applied to either an individual animal or a species so employed.

Many ungulate species are traditional pack animals, including elephants, camels, the yak, reindeer, goats, water buffalo and llama, and many of the domesticated Equidae (horse family).

The term is not routinely applied to humans carrying loads on their backs except to make a pejorative point about the injustice of so employing them, or about the privation that usually occasions accepting such work without explicit coercion. (The 1978 Rolling Stones song Beast of Burden refers to a sense of abuse, accepted within a romantic relationship.) Nevertheless, from a physical point of view, certainly many considerations apply equally to human and other pack animals, without considering the range of social conditions ranging through slaves, abused women and children, Himalayan and African natives employed as expedition porters, vacationing students whose duties as staff of mountaineering huts include packing heavy loads of supplies up steep slopes, and purely recreational hikers and backpackers including both short-trip ones, and long-trip backpackers who court injury and emaciation in carrying their heavy loads.

Another unconventional form of draft animal may be the dogs that are brought along on hikes carrying their own supply of drinking water and snacks on their backs, whether to provide them more exercise, or in pursuit of a hiker's ethic of "everyone carries his own gear".

In addition to referring to a backpack ("burden"), a "pack" also means a large number of wild animals of the same kind. Thus "pack animal" is occasionally used to mean animals who live in packs (i.e., social animals). In this sense, dogs are also classified as pack animals because they live, feed, and travel as a group.

Traditional pack animals by region

* Andes - llama
* Central Asia - Bactrian Camel, Yak
* North Africa & Arabic countries - Dromedary camel
* Central Africa & South Africa - ox
* Eurasia - the ox, horse
* South Asia and South East Asia - Indian elephant, Water buffalo, Yak
* Arctic - dog, reindeer

ee also

*Pack saddle
*Pack goat
*Pack station
*Working animal

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pack animal — Pack Pack, n. [Akin to D. pak, G. pack, Dan. pakke, Sw. packa, Icel. pakki, Gael. & Ir. pac, Arm. pak. Cf. {Packet}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A bundle made up and prepared to be carried; especially, a bundle to be carried on the back; a load for an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pack animal — ► NOUN 1) an animal used to carry loads. 2) an animal that lives and hunts in a pack …   English terms dictionary

  • pack animal — pack animals N COUNT A pack animal is an animal such as a horse or donkey that is used to carry things on journeys …   English dictionary

  • pack animal — pack .animal n an animal used for carrying heavy loads, for example a horse …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pack animal — pack ,animal noun count an animal used for carrying heavy loads, such as a horse or DONKEY …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pack animal — n. an animal used for carrying packs or loads …   English World dictionary

  • pack animal — noun an animal (such as a mule or burro or horse) used to carry loads • Syn: ↑sumpter • Hypernyms: ↑beast of burden, ↑jument • Hyponyms: ↑packhorse * * * noun, pl ⋯ mals [count] : an animal …   Useful english dictionary

  • pack animal — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms pack animal : singular pack animal plural pack animals an animal such as a horse or donkey that is used for carrying heavy loads …   English dictionary

  • pack animal — pack′ an imal n. zool. agr. an animal, as a mule or horse, used for carrying loads • Etymology: 1840–50 …   From formal English to slang

  • pack animal — noun 1》 an animal used to carry packs. 2》 an animal that lives and hunts in a pack …   English new terms dictionary

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