1. Home
  2. Fun Animal Facts
  3. Marvelous Mule Facts That Kids Will Love

Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Marvelous Mule Facts That Kids Will Love

Amazing mule facts for children to enjoy.

Mules are equine animals of the Equidae family, who are produced by the method of mating between a male donkey and a female horse. The opposite breed, that is between a female donkey and a male horse is called a hinny, but they are a bit rarer than mules. Mules and hinnies are traditional pack animals. The population of mules is relatively higher in third-world countries than the developed nations. Mules can adapt almost anywhere in the world, wherever their stock animals are present. The mule is one of the oldest hybrids to exist on earth. By the 19th century, mules spread all over the world because of their immense utilities. They have some representative features of both horses and donkeys. Like their parents, their food includes grasses, hays, and shrubs. The size of a mule ranges from a mini mule to a giant mule, accordingly. If you want to know more about this useful hybrid, then here are some interesting mule animal facts.

For similar content check out the articles on horse and zebra facts too.


Mule Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mule?

A mule is a hybrid animal. It is an offspring of a male donkey or jack and a female horse or mare. They are said to have the body of a horse and the extremities of a donkey. The size of a mule depends on the size of the mare that is involved in the breeding process.

What class of animal does a mule belong to?

Both the hybrid offspring, mule and hinny, belong to the class mammal or Mammalia.

How many mules are there in the world?

The mule's population does not depend on its own reproduction rate, since they are sterile. It depends on the frequency of breeding of its stocks. They are found exclusively in captivity since they are unable to mate as a herd animal in the wild. For this reason, the exact population of mules is a bit difficult to estimate. However, 15 million mules are believed to exist all over the world, with 200,000 mules residing in the US. 90% of mules live in third-world nations.

Where does a mule live?

Mules were produced for the first time in present Turkey, many years ago. In 3000 BCE, they began to spread in Egypt. By 800 BCE, Asia minor also became a home to the species of the mule. George Washington popularized the production of mules in America. He is also known as the father of mules for this reason. At present, mules exist almost everywhere in the world, except in the continent of Antarctica. China is the largest producer of mules in the world. Mexico comes next in breeding capacity.

What is a mule's habitat?

A mule habitat includes six continents of the world except for Antarctica. They are an ancient species and their gradual evolution has made them well suited to almost any kind of climate on earth. A mule has tougher skin, so they are less prone to overheating. Since they are bred by humans, a mule has no particular habitat. They are available in all places where their breed stock is found.    

Who do mules live with?

A mule is a pack animal living mostly in human care. They are not seen in the wild as they cannot reproduce. They are generally domestic farm animals that live with humans.  

How long does a mule live?

A properly healthy mule lives quite a long life. Since they stay under the care of humans, their longevity is more than other similar animals. The average lifespan of a mule ranges from 35-40 years. However, if mules are looked after properly and given a healthy lifestyle, they can even live up to 50 years.

How do they reproduce?

Donkeys have 62 chromosomes while horses have 64. The cross-breed of a male horse and a female donkey in producing a mule leaves them with 63 chromosomes which makes them sterile. Due to this difference in chromosome structure from horses and donkeys, mules are unable to reproduce among themselves. Despite this inability, in very rare cases a female mule has produced offspring like foals. This happens only when they are made to mate with a purebred donkey or horse. Since the 1500s, only 60 such cases have been documented. The female goes through estrus so they are capable of carrying a fetus, theoretically.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of a mule is not enlisted in the IUCN Red List. This horse and donkey breed animal is mainly held in captivity. So, it becomes very hard to estimate their conservation pattern all over the world. However, it is assumed that this species does not face any threat of extinction in the near future.

Mule Fun Facts

What do mules look like?

Mules are a cross-breed of horses and donkeys. Their appearance mirrors some features of both of their stock breeds. A mule has the face and neck of a horse and the short legs of a donkey. Their even coat resembles that of a horse. Their heads are thick with a pair of long ears. The short thin legs end in narrow hooves and they have a short mane. A mule gets all these characteristics from donkeys. The height of mules is similar to that of a horse. They have similar patterns of teeth, too. Since mules get their size from the horse stock, they are available in all sorts of different horse sizes. The coat of mules comes in numerous colors depending on the color of the horse that is used. The most common colors of a mule include gray, bay, sorrel, and black. Some species may also be seen with white, buckskin, palomino, dun, and roans coat.  

A mule is faster than a donkey.

How cute are they?

Mules have a face similar to that of a horse, except for the elongated donkey-like ears. Their appearance is subjective. If you find a horse to be cute looking, you might also find mules to be cute.

How do they communicate?

The sound that mules make is a mixture of sounds that donkeys and horses make. A donkey makes a braying sound while a horse neighs. Mules communicate by making the noise of a donkey's bray, but the sound also has a whinnying tune to it. They also communicate by some movement of some body parts like the tails and ears. This communicative character is only found in mules and not in their stock breeds.

How big is a mule?

The size of mules can have drastic variations depending on the size of their lineage. According to their size variations, mules can be classified as miniature mules, small pony-type mules, tall mules with lightweight physiques, and even moderately heavyweight mules who are bred from draft horses or the horses meant for farming. On average, the height of mules ranges from 12-17.5 hands, that is, 50-70 in (1-1.5 m).  The highest recorded height of a mule is 19.1 hands, which is around 75 in (2 m). Hinnies are a bit smaller in size than mules.

How fast can a mule run?

The speed of a healthy adult mule is 2.5 mph (4 kmph).

How much does a mule weigh?

The weight of different types of mules varies by a large amount depending on the horses or donkeys used in its production. The average weight of mules ranges between 600-1500 lb (275-700 kg). However, there are certain species of miniature mules that weigh only around 50 lb (23 kg) and some giant heavyweight mules whose weights cross 2000 lb. The heaviest male mule had a record weight of 2200 lb (998 kg).  

What are their male and female names of the species?

A male mule is called a horse mule, in proper terms. In a more casual approach, male mules are also referred to as John mules. Scientifically, the females who undergo the estrus cycle and are capable of giving birth are called Molly mules, though the term has now been generalized and is used for all female mules.

What would you call a baby mule?

Young male mules are said to be mule colts and a young female mule is called a mule filly.  

What do they eat?

Mules are proper grazers just like their lineage of donkeys and horses. They need way less food to survive and work more than a donkey. Mules graze on grass and shrubs when they are left free on open lands. However, if this resource of letting them free in the open is absent, a mule diet can also be supplemented by grain, hay, or pelletized food.  

Are they smelly?

A mule's coat might get smelly sometimes if they are not washed properly on a regular basis, but their smell differs from that of horses and donkeys. They get this characteristic of smell from their parents.

Would they make a good pet?

Mules can make wonderful pets. These equines are intelligent animals that require less food for consumption than donkeys and can carry more weight than horses. They are also well suited for riding and have a cool temperament. So, it less likely for them to turn aggressive.

Did you know...

A mule can kick both sideways and backward. A mule kick is very powerful and quick. They can reach 6 ft (1.8 m) backward without moving their front hooves.

Mule vs. donkey

Mules are a special hybrid of a male donkey also called jack and a female horse or mares. It inherits the best features from both donkeys and horses. However, in some aspects, they differ from their parents. In terms of their nature, donkeys tend to lack sensitive thinking and appear very stubborn. The mule, on the other hand, is a very delightful animal with a sensitive nature. They seem to be less stubborn than their donkey fathers and are very intelligent. Donkeys can reproduce among themselves but mules in most common cases cannot produce offspring. There are also some differences in their appearances. The body of a mule is very similar to that of a horse and not donkeys, except the legs and the hooves.

How much can a mule carry?

Mules are believed to be able to carry 20% of their total weight. They can carry more weight than a horse. Approximately, mules can carry around 198 lb (90 kg). This figure however differs according to their training places. A hinny can carry comparatively less weight than a mule.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including takin, or zonkey.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our mule coloring pages.

Subscribe_Hero
Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.

EXPLORE KIDADL
In need of more inspiration?