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Rainn Wilson is perhaps best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on The Office. Dwight is a peculiar guy. He’s a beet farmer with a militaristic attitude. He knows a lot about bears, and he’s loyal to a fault (well, until he gets a taste of power). He’s the type of person who may own, for some reason or another, an exotic animal. While Dwight seemed to only have experience with your average farm animals, Wilson does actually own something quite exotic: a zonkey.

Rainn Wilson at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival
Rainn Wilson | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

How Rainn Wilson ended up with a zonkey named Derek

“I have a zonkey. I really give credit to my wife. She is the zonkey lover,” he said on Good Morning America in 2018.

Wilson’s zonkey is named Derek. And, apparently, he was surprisingly easy to track down and purchase.

“My wife saw a zonkey. She fell in love with zonkies. They’re, of course, half zebra, half donkey. This is an absolutely true story: She Googled ‘zonkey,’ and what came up was Top, number 1 in the bullet listing. So she called them and was like, ‘Do you sell zonkies?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, yeah! In fact, we just had a little baby zonkey. $3,500 and six months from now we’ll deliver him to your door.’ And my wife was like, ‘Done.’ Six months later, a tailer rolls up and this wild, horrible, little, but very cute, little creature pulls up to our house,” he shared.

Wilson was asked if zonkies appear in the wild.

“No, there’s a reason God didn’t make zonkies. Because they have the worst qualities of both a zebra and a donkey,” he responded.

Wilson says he had to show Derek ‘who’s boss’

Wilson said that Derek arrived “wild.”–”Zebras are wild animals.”

An arduous breaking in period followed.


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“I had to alpha male the zonkey. He was trying to be aggressive and dominate me. And so I had to scare him. We had a fight, we had a battle. It was kind of like Jason Statham and the megalodon [Wilson starred in The Meg along with Statham in 2018, the time of the interview]. I had pots and pans and I would come down when I would feed him and he’d come at me and buck my way, and I’d go [pot banging noises]. He’d run away and I’d literally do what you’re supposed to do when you see a bear. For those of you who don’t know this–what you do if you see a bear–I’d just go ‘Grrrr!’ and dominate him. And I showed him who’s boss,” said Wilson.

Wilson and his wife (Holiday Reinhorn) still have Derek today. He fits right in with the rest of the Wilson clan, which includes guinea pigs and pit bulls.