10 Difference Between Donkey and Mule (With Table)

Donkeys and mules are confused by people. There are features that a donkey has that make a mule different. Donkey and mule are from the same family Equidae.

The main difference between a donkey and a mule is that a donkey is shorter and has long ears while a mule is produced when you breed a male donkey and a female horse. They both belong to the same genus Equus.

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Comparison Table (Donkey vs Mule)

Characteristics Donkey Mule
Meaning Refers to a domesticated animal from the family Equidae and it is used for transportation. Refers to an animal from the family of Equidae which results as a result of breeding a male donkey and a female horse.
Size They are small in body size. They are comparatively larger in body size.
Mane Has course and bristle mane. Has short and upright mane.
Build Heavy built and shorter. Heavy built and taller.
Fertility Can reproduce. Sterile; cannot reproduce.
Lifespan Can live between 30 – 50 years. Can live between 30-40 years.
Natural color It has black, gray to sable and white color. It has brown or bay color.
Ears Have long ears that are dark at the base and tips. Have a flatter spine and larger ears.
Intelligence intelligent. More intelligent compared to a donkey.
Sound It brays. It produces a sound that is neither braying nor neighing.
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What is a Donkey?

A donkey is a domesticated animal from the family of Equidae. They have long ears, flatter backs, small hooves, coarse and bristle mane, and thin tails. They are heavily built and this makes them be used for transportation by human beings. They have a reputation for being stubborn. They are smart and capable of keeping themselves and their passengers away from danger. This is because they have very sensitive ears that make them sense danger from a distance.

They feed on plant matter hence they are herbivores. They are capable of reproducing. They can breed among themselves and also breed with horses to produce mules.

What is a Mule?

A mule is an animal from the Equidae family. It comes about by breeding a male donkey and a female horse. The resulted animal is sterile; it cannot reproduce. Although it is more like a donkey, it carries chromosomes that cannot be compatible with others to reproduce.

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The animal is a little bit delicate. Their body structures are not as strong as that one of their parents. They are comparatively larger and more intelligent compared to donkeys. It feeds on plant matter hence it is an herbivore. They love broad-leaved weeds and roughage such as barley straw.

The animal can be domesticated by human beings. They live 30 to 40 years. They have a short lifespan compared to donkeys as their immune system is weak.

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Main Difference between Donkey and Mule

  1. Donkeys are small in body size while mules are comparatively larger in body size.
  2. Donkeys are heavily built and shorter while mules are heavily built and taller.
  3. Donkeys can reproduce while mules are sterile; they cannot reproduce.
  4. Donkeys have a longer lifespan; they can live between 30 to 50 years while mules have a shorter lifespan; they can live between 30 to 40 years.
  5. Donkeys have long ears that are darker at the base and tips while mules have flatter spines and larger ears.
  6. Donkeys are intelligent but mules are more intelligent.
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Similarities between Donkey and Mule

  1. They are both from the family Equidae.
  2. They are both herbivores.
  3. They are both heavily built.
  4. Both have a mane that is short.
  5. Both are intelligent animals.

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In Conclusion

Both donkeys and mules belong to the same family which is Equidae. The animals are more similar but they are slightly different from each other. Donkeys have a comparatively smaller body sizes as compared to the mule. Mule is a result of breeding a male donkey and a female horse although the two belong to the same family. The main feature that makes a donkey different from a mule is genetic makeup. Genetically donkeys have 62 chromosomes and can reproduce and mule has 63 chromosomes and this makes them unable to reproduce.

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