Are unicorns just magical horses with a horn? Today, we are going to answer this question!
We will discuss the similarities and differences between horses and unicorns; their lifestyle, diet, appearance and so on. We are also going to learn some surprising facts about how different unicorns have looked in history and in different countries.
Are Unicorns Equines?
Let’s begin with the similarities between the unicorn and the horse. Unicorns are equines, just like horses. To be exact, they belong to the horse family in the classification of animals.
So, technically unicorns are part of the horse family. But other than that, what do unicorns actually have in common with horses?
The Unicorn Diet – Horse Food or Not?
First, let’s have a look at the unicorn’s diet. Unicorns don’t actually have to eat to survive. This is not the case with horses, of course. But unicorns do eat horse food, like hay, grass and flowers.
Then, unicorns like to eat foods like strawberry ice cream, chocolate cupcakes and rainbows. None of these are part of an average horse’s diet. But it is believed that unicorns are mostly herbivores. The same applies to horses.
So, we can say that unicorns have the same diet as equines, but the unicorn diet has more variety.
Unicorns and Horses – Herd Life and Swift Gallop
Let’s have a look at other areas of horse life. Horses are herd animals adapted for running to escape from predators. Unicorns also live in small family groups, and they are swift runners. In fact, unicorns are able to run at the speed of sound. This is far faster than horses can run, of course. Nevertheless, both unicorns and horses normally live in a herd and are fast runners.
When it comes to sleep, unicorns only sleep around 3 hours per day on average. Grown-up horses need approximately the same amount of sleep. Unicorns sleep standing up, taking brief deep sleep sessions lying down. This is also how horses sleep.
You Can’t Domesticate a Unicorn.
It seems the lifestyle of unicorns has many similarities to horse life. But there are many differences too. First of all, unicorns live for hundreds of years. An average horse lives only for 25 to 30 years.
While there are still few wild horses left, most horses are domesticated. People can’t domesticate unicorns. This is a key difference between unicorns and horses.
Some unicorns are known to have befriended humans, but this can only happen on the unicorn’s terms. Even if a unicorn and a human become friends, the human can’t own the unicorn or keep it as a pet. Unicorns were born to be wild.
As fascinating and beautiful animals as horses are, they don’t have magical powers or a magical horn on the forehead. This is an obvious difference between unicorns and horses.
Unicorns have many magical powers, such as the ability to use their magical horn for healing and purifying water. Other parts of the unicorn body are healing too, such as their tears, hair and blood. Unicorns can magically grant wishes, stay perfectly clean and run at the speed of sound.
Unicorns Didn’t Always Look Like Horses.
So, unicorns are different from horses in many aspects. However, we have to admit the appearance of the unicorn is very similar to that of the horse, apart from the unicorn horn. Unicorns have the muscular body shape of the horse, the hooves and the fluttering mane and tail.
The undeniable similarities in the appearance of the unicorn and the horse is most likely the reason, why it’s easy to think of the unicorn as a magical horse with a horn.
But unicorns didn’t always look like horses, at least not in people’s imagination. The medieval unicorn was more like a one-horned goat with a lion’s tail. This bearded unicorn was the size of a goat too, not as large as a horse.
Then, there are unicorn species around the World which are still different from the horse-like modern Western unicorn. For example, the Chinese unicorn resembles a dragon with an ox’s tail. The Japanese unicorn looks more like a one-horned deer than a horse.
So, the horse-like appearance of the unicorn is mostly a modern, Western concept. All unicorn species don’t look like a horse. People didn’t even always imagine the European unicorn as a one-horned magical horse.
Are Unicorns Horses with a Horn?
I think we are ready to reach the conclusion. As we have learned, both unicorns and horses are equines, but that alone doesn’t mean unicorns would be horses.
When it comes to their diet, unicorns eat horse food. On the other hand, the unicorn diet has more variety than the horse diet, and unicorns don’t even need food to survive.
Unicorns are herd animals, and extremely fast runners. Horses are herd animals as well, and fast runners to escape from predators. The sleeping habits of unicorns are also very similar to those of horses.
On the other hand, unicorns live for much longer than horses. Also, unicorns can never be domesticated. When it comes to horses, most of them live with humans. There are only few wild horses left.
The obvious thing that makes unicorns different from horses, is the magical unicorn horn. Unicorns also possess many magical powers, while horses don’t.
Apart from the horn, unicorns do look very similar to horses. But unicorns haven’t always looked the same, at least in people’s imagination. The medieval unicorn resembled a bearded, one-horned goat rather than a one-horned horse. And there are many different unicorn species in the World, which don’t look like a horse very much.
Based on all the information we have gathered by now, I think we can safely say unicorns are not horses. Yes, there are many similarities between these noble, hoofed animals. Nevertheless, unicorns are not magical, one-horned horses, just like zebras are not horses with stripes.
What do you think, are unicorns horses, or not? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinion in the comment section below. Have a magical day!