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The mule (lat. Hinnus) is the cross product of a horse stallion ( father ) and a donkey mare ( mother ). The word Maul is borrowed from the Latin mulus for mule or mixed animal / mixture (cf. also mule or mulatto ). Mules are hybrids of two species and are not capable of reproduction.


The breeding of hybrids of horse stallion and donkey mare was probably discovered simultaneously with mule breeding . However, this cross was less successful than the mule, as these cross species were considered "unsightly, stubborn and sluggish".


A mule (mother: donkey, father: horse) is not a mule ("mule"; mother: horse, father: donkey). Outwardly it differs little from a house donkey , only his voice sounds a little different. Mules are generally considered to be good-natured in character, though not as much as mules. Their nature is more like that of donkeys; so they are less shy than horses. Mules keep, probably as a dominant genetic trait of donkeys, the longer ears reminding them of them.


Mules are mainly bred in Mediterranean countries and Asia . They are far more difficult to breed than mules, since it is more difficult to get a mare to be pregnant by a stallion than, conversely , to get a mare from a stallion . Due to their minor advantages over donkeys, these animals are rarely bred.

When the genetic makeup of donkey mare (62 chromosomes ) and horse stallion (64 chromosomes) is mixed , an uneven diploid chromosome set is created (63 chromosomes in mules), which makes haploid sex cells impossible. However, mules can perform the sexual act. Stallions are always sterile, but there are occasional fertile mares. The greater similarity of the mule to the mother animal (donkey) is due to non-chromosomal inheritance . The maternal egg cell brings the main part of the cell organelles into the zygote , so that maternal characteristics predominate in the branch generation. The mule and mule are prime examples of imprinting .


Mules were most frequently used as draft animals , including in mines in North America . However, they are still occasionally used as pack animals and are also well suited as mounts .

Mules in literature

Mules find literary mention in the crime thriller Ein Maulesel auf dem Autobahn by Paul Berna and in the follyfoot volumes by Monica Dickens . While the mule "Caesar" is used by Berna as a draft animal, Dickens' "Willy" has had a long service life in the Army . In The Neverending Story by Michael Ende Bastian is carried by the mule Jicha. When they split up, Bastian tells her a story that should come true: Jicha meets a white stallion with wings and she later has a son, the white, swinging mule Pataplán. In 1936 Friedrich Glauser wrote a short story about this animal called Seppl ; In this Foreign Legion episode, he lovingly describes the character of the mule "Seppl" and his relationship with him. The story ends with the animal Glauser saving his life in an attack and dying himself in the process. Glauser also built the mule into his novel Die Fieberkurve and liked to refer to himself as mulet (French for mule).

See also

Web links

Commons : Mules  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Maulesel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Joris Peters: Roman animal husbandry and animal breeding. A synthesis of archaeozoological investigation and written and pictorial transmission (=  Passauer Universitätsschriften zur Archäologie . Volume 5 ). Leidorf, Rahden / Westfalen 1998, ISBN 3-89646-172-9 , p. 136 (also habilitation thesis, University of Munich 1996).
  2. ^ Friedrich Glauser: King Sugar. 1934–1936 (=  The narrative work . Volume 3 ). Limmat, Zurich 1993, ISBN 3-85791-205-7 , p. 175 .