The difference between a mule and a donkey????

I know there is a difference between a mule and a donkey, can anyone tell me what it is :confused:

Thanks in advance,

A donkey is a domesticated ass. A mule is the (usually) sterile offspring of a female horse with a male donkey.

There are (about) six species in genus Equus. Crossbreeds between them may or may not be fertile.

The horse is Equus caballus; the domestic donkey and some wild asses are (usually classed as) Equus hemionus. Crosses between them “mule out” – the origin of the term.

There are other wild asses in a separate species, and the plurality opinion divides zebras into three species, distinguishable by the width and coverage of their markings. (Some hippologists place all the asses in the same species, erecting two subspecies, and all three zebras as separate subspecies of Equus zebra. Others regard domestic donkeys and their closest wild relatives as Equus asinus, leaving the others in E. hemionus, and some even regard Przevalski’s horse (the sole living truly wild horses, as opposed to feral horses descended from formerly domesticated horses, as on Assateague Island) as a separate species.)

Only some? I didn’t think anyone considered E. przwalski to be the same species as E. caballus. It would be a hard position to support since the two species have different chromosome counts.

Just FYI, a cross between a male horse or stallion and a female donkey is called a hinney.

a Hinney?
Never heard that one before…cool!

To be exact, “hinny” (plural “hinnies”). And its mother (a female donkey) is called a jenny.

According to Stephen Jay Gould (I know he was an expert on snails and not a hippologist, but nevertheless) there is no such thing as a zebra (in the eassy What, If Anything, Is A Zebra? included in the collection Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes, 1984). There are three striped horses in Africa, but they are not more closely related to each other than they are to horseys, donkeys or onagers.

Yes, but the naming of species doesn’t follow strict genetic relatedness. If it did, humans would be classified more closely with chimps than chimps are with any other ape.

Gould, intelligently, reported the generally received opinion. Taxonomy is so much fun – “lumpers” will attempt to consolidate things generally received as separate species into one; “splitters” will distinguish distinct species on the basis of rather picayune distinctions.

Prior to the discovery of Ardipithecus, Orrorin, and other discoveries of the last few years, the majority opinion on human evolution placed all species into two genera: Homo, with only three species (habilis, erectus, and sapiens); and Australopithecus, containing everything else. But splitters like Ian Tattersall recognized at least three genera and a rather large number of species.

Six drinks.
Oh, wait, that’s a dog and a fox.

OK, while we’re on it, what is the difference between a donkey and a burro? Is a burro just a Mexican donkey, or just a smallish donkey?

Well, if you go to Tijuana you will see burros painted to look like zebras.

Nothing, really. It’s the Spanish word for donkey and though definitions of burro iusually spit out that it is " a small donkey used as a pack animal", it’s the same critter and that definition is not necessarily firm. Another definition is the BLM’s in the U.S., that refers to all feral donkeys as burros.

  • Tamerlane

Are there actual differences between mules and hinnies? Offhand, I’d figure the genetics would be similar regardless of which genes came from the father or mother.

For that matter, why are mules so much more common than hinnies? Are they actually more common or is “mule” just used as a collective term for both animals?

Here’s somebody else who tried to answer your question, and what she came up with:

Oh, and for the record there, a stallion is a male horse, a mare is a female horse, a jack is a male donkey, and a jennet is a female donkey.

To that list, I might add an economic consideration that she touched on, but didn’t make explicit. Note that I’m WAG’ing, however, and this would be more valid reasoning back when the animals were commercially useful:

A difficulty with raising a hybrid animal is that you have to maintain a pool of both parent animals, and breed or acquire them, too. Whichever parent animal you use females from you are going to have a much larger pool of. And consequently, more “wrong gender” male offspring from maintaining that pool. Probably much easier to sell colts from the horse pool, which are of economic value in their own right, than getting rid of a surplus of male donkeys, which not as many people wanted for anything.

Not sure, but when lions and tigers (oh my!) are mated, it does depend. I forget which it is, but if the father is of one species, the offspring is often much, much bigger than when he’s of the other species.

Generally, you want the mom to be the bigger of the two species if there’s a significant size differnce. Woudl you mae a male Great Dane with a female chihuahua, (even though they’re of the same species)?

Everyone should know the diffference…

between their horse and their ass!