A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes and of the fwo F1 hybrids between the two species, a mule is far easier to obtain than a hinny (the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey).
Male mules are not known to have ever sired offspring, however, female mules have on very rare occasions given birth to viable offspring. When it comes to the size of a mule, they can vary depending on the breeding of the mule’s dam. They can be lightweight, medium weight, or even, when produced from draught horse mares, of moderately heavy weight.
It has been claimed by many that mules are far more patient and sure footed than horses and that they are also very hardy and long lived. They are also known to be less obstinate, faster, and far more intelligent than donkeys.
A female mule that has estrus cycles and thus, in theory, could carry a fetus, is called a "molly" or "Molly mule," though the term is sometimes used to refer to female mules in general. Pregnancy is rare, but can occasionally occur naturally as well as through embryo transfer. One of several terms for a gelded mule is a "John mule."
Mules tend to have thick heads with long ears and a short mane. They also have thin limbs with small and narrow hooves, which are all characteristics of donkeys. However, when it comes to their height and body, shape of neck and croup, uniformity of coat, and teeth, they appear horse-like.
Mules can come in all shapes and sizes and conformities. There are mules that resemble quarter horses, huge draft mules, fine-boned racing mules, shaggy pony mules and many more types.
A mule does not sound exactly like a donkey or a horse. Instead, a mule makes a sound that is similar to a donkey's but also has the whinnying characteristics of a horse (often starts with a whinny, ends in a hee-haw). Sometimes, mules whimper. The coats of mules come in the same varieties as those of horses. Common colors are sorrel, bay, black, and grey. Less common are white, roans (both blue and red), palomino, dun, and buckskin. Least common are paint mules or tobianos.
When it comes to their temperament, mules share the even temper and patience of a donkey, as well as their endurance and sure-footedness. However, they also share the vigor, strength and courage of a horse.
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