-Nikolaus the foal was born at Berg Zoo in Halle, Germany, at just 8.3kg
-Birth came as Germany prepared to mark inspiration for Father Christmas
By Alex Gore
This little donkey is plodding on towards Christmas after taking zookeepers by surprise when he was born premature.
Worried staff at Berg Zoo in Halle, east Germany, kept a round the clock vigil for two days when Nikolaus was born weighing just 8.3kg.
But after plenty of love, attention and bottle feeding, the foal pulled through and became strong enough to join his mother in her stables.
Nikolaus was born just minutes after midnight on December 4, with donkeys born before 11 months considered premature.
His arrival came as many Germans were preparing to celebrate St Nicholas of Myra two days later.
St Nicholas was a Greek Christian bishop who became a patron saint of children, sailors, merchants and students, and is widely accepted as the primary inspiration for Father Christmas.
He lived during the lived during the 3rd Century and became known for his generosity and secretly giving gifts to children.