Difference WikiAnimals

Difference Between Donkey and Mule

Main Difference

The main difference between Donkey and Mule is that Donkey is a fertile animal that belongs to species of Equus Africanus Asinus, whereas mule is the sterile hybrid that belongs to species named Equus Asinus or Equus Caballus, produced by the cross-breed between the male donkey and female horse.

Donkey vs. Mule

Donkey belongs to the species of Equus Africanus Asinus, while mule belongs to the species of Equus Asinus or Equus Caballus. Donkey is the pure breed, whereas mule is the hybrid animal that is produced by the cross-breed between a male donkey and a female horse. A donkey has the height ranges from 31 to 63 inches with a weight of about 80-480 kg; on the other hand, the mule has the height more than the donkey with a weight of about 370-460 kg. Donkey’s life span is about 30 to 50 years may vary from country to country, whereas mule has a life span of about 30 to 40 years.

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Jack and jenny are the male and female donkeys; on the other side, jack or john and molly are the male and female mule. Donkey is the fertile animal that can reproduce independently to produce identical offspring, whereas the mule is a sterile animal that cannot reproduce. A donkey has about 62 chromosomes; on the flip side of the coin, the mule has 63 chromosomes. Donkey is considered to be the intransigent, robust, and less intelligent, while mule is patient, more intelligent than a horse, and sure-footedness.

Donkey sounds like the oh-so and hee-saw; on the other hand, mule usually whimper and sounds like hee-haw. Donkeys do not have 5th lumbar vertebrae; on the flip side, mules may have 5th lumbar vertebrae. Donkey’s color may vary from grey, dark brown, to black, whereas mule’s color may include grey, black to buckskin.

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Comparison Chart

DonkeyMule
Donkey is the fertile mammal that is the pure breed with about 62 chromosomes.Mule is the sterile animal that is produced as the result of the mating of a male donkey with a female horse, as a hybrid animal has 63 chromosomes.
Species or Scientific Names
Equus Africanus AsinusEquus Asinus or Equus Caballus
Fertility
FertileSterile
Number of Chromosomes
6263
Life Span
30 to 50 years30 to 40 years
Weight
80 to 480 kg370 to 460 kg
Male Members
JackJack or John
Female Members
JennyMolly
Behavioral Characteristics
Intransigent, less intelligent, and intolerantPatient, intelligent, and sure-footedness

What is Donkey?

Donkey belongs to the order of Perissodactyla. Horse’s scientific name is Equus Africanus Asinus. Donkeys are the fertile animals that can breed and reproduce independently. The donkeys have a height of about 31 to 63 inches and a weight of about 80 to 480 kg. Donkeys occupy the habitat of marginal desert land. Donkey’s lifespan depends on the country, either poorest or prosperous countries, from 12-15 years to that of 30-50 years. The oldest fossil of donkey found dates back to about 3.5 million years ago.

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Over the range of three kilometers, the bray of the donkey can be heard, which helps it to contact other members. Large ears of donkeys not only heard the distant sound but also keeps the donkey’s blood cold. The male donkey is named jack, while the female donkey is named as jenny or jennet. Donkeys may have varied in their colors as they can be grey, dark brown to black.

The donkeys can mate with each other to produce the donkey offspring, whereas they can mate with the female horse to produce the mule. Genetically, donkeys have 62 chromosomes. The pregnancy period of the female donkey (jenny) is about 12 months. Subspecies, which include Nubian and Somalian, are the ancestors of the donkey, which is also called as an ass. The vocalization sound of the donkey is oh-so- and hee-saw. By the 2006 estimate, the population of donkeys in the world is about 41 million.

Donkeys are useful economically as they are widely used for riding, transport of things, and in agriculture.

What is Mule?

Mule is the sterile animal which belongs to order Perissodactyla and species E. Assinus and E. Caballus. Mule is the offspring that is produced by the mating of a male donkey and a female horse. Mule has the weight in the range of about 370 to 460kg.

Biologically they are stronger than the horse and donkey in the patience, lifespan, intelligence, and stubbornness. Even Charles Darwin was impressed by its characteristics. They acquire the 63 chromosomes; thus, due to different number and structure, the chromosomes cannot pair up to produce the embryo. Hinny is produced when a female horse and male donkey mate, but the mule is easy to obtain than the hinny.

Mule can carry the weight 20% more than their body weight, as it is recorded that trained mules of Pakistan’s Army can walk for 26 km without rest with up to 72 kg weight. Mules share the characteristic of both donkey and horse in many aspects. It is also considered as the oldest hybrid, which is human-made. They range in color from grey, black, sorrel to white, and buckskin. The lifespan of the mule is about 30 to 40 years. Their body is heavy, tall, and larger than donkeys, but smaller than horses.

Mules do not have sounds like the horse or donkey, but they usually whimper or end in the sound of hee-haw. Mules are economically more useful that they are not only used in transportation, riding, agriculture, but also in the history they were used in war for the weapons and other supplies transport.

Key Differences

  1. Donkey is the fertile pure breed of animal which can reproduce to produce identical offsprings, whereas mule is produced as a result of the mating of a male donkey and a female horse.
  2. Donkey is a fertile breed of animals, while mule is the sterile hybrid that is produced by the cross-breed between the horse and donkey.
  3. Donkey belongs to the species named Equus Africanus Asinus; on the other hand, mule belongs to the species named, Equus Asinus or Equus Caballus.
  4. The donkey has 62 chromosomes; on the flip side of the coin, the mule has 63 chromosomes.
  5. The donkey has a life span of about 30 to 50 years; on the other side, the mule has a life span of about 30 to 40 years.
  6. Male members of the donkey are called a jack, while male members of the mule are called jack or john.
  7. Jenny is the female member of donkeys, whereas molly is the female member of the mule.
  8. The donkey has a weight of about 80 to 480 kg; on the other hand, the mule weights about 370 to 460 kg.
  9. The behavior of donkey is intransigent, less intelligent, and patient, while mule is patient, intelligent, and sure-footedness.
  10. Fifth lumbar vertebrae are absent in the donkeys; on the other side, the fifth lumbar vertebrae may present in the mule.

Conclusion

Donkey is the pure fertile breed of animals that contains 62 chromosomes, having less developed behavior, whereas mule is the sterile hybrid of animals that cannot reproduce contains 63 chromosomes, having well-developed behavior.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson