Mules

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dtrammel
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MULES:

(Jauncito by Darrio U, Wiki Commons)

 

Taxonomy: Mammel, member of the Horse family (Equus)

 

General Information: Mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. (A "hinny" is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse.) A noticible characteristic is their longer than horse size ears.

Such a hybrid is almost always infertile, unable to reproduce, due to the difference in the number of chromosomes of their parents (64 for a horse and 62 in a donkey) though there are a few recorded instances (60 recorded since the 1500s) of offspring.

Mules exhibit what is called "Hybrid Vigor", which means they take the better traints of each of their parents. From donkeys they take their toughness, endurance and from horses they take their agility, speed and size. Mules typically grow up to be the size of their horse mother, so breeding pairs with smaller horses produce smaller mules, and larger horses, larger mules. You can find mules in various sizes from smaller minis under 50 lbs (23 kg) up to maxis of 1000 lbs (454 kg). They come in all colors

Many who deal with mules claim that mules exhibit a great level of inteligence than of either donkeys or horses as well as being patient and less skitish than horses.

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Quotes: Charles Darwin wrote: "The mule always appears to me a most surprising animal. That a hybrid should possess more reason, memory, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endurance, and length of life, than either of its parents, seems to indicate that art has here outdone nature."

 

Feed and Care: Mules, like their donkey parents have the advantage of being able to survive on rougher feed. They can tolerate eating tree foliage, small shrubs and even lichen, unlike their horse parents who would have difficulty with those feed.

Mules are prized because they can carry a large load and are able to travel far with less care.

 

Links:

Wikipedia entry on Mules: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule

"Mules on the Trail" by Honi Roberts at TrailRider Magazine: https://trailridermag.com/articles/mules-trail-14903

dtrammel
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Feel free to add any useful info

I know very little about Mules, so please feel free to add your observations, experiences or helpful links here to this thread.