1902 Encyclopedia > Mule > Characteristics of Mules

Mule
(Part 2)




The mule foal is not so strong on its limbs as the horse foal, and it does not grow so quickly. It is longer in reaching maturity, for it is of little use under four years of age; but it is useful for a longer period than the horse, often working until it is twenty, thirty, and even forty years of age. When full grown the mule is form 13 to 15, and sometimes 16 hands high; but those from 14 to 15 hands are generally preferred.

The mule is endowed with the chief characteristics of its parents. In its short thick head, long ears, thin limbs, small narrow hoofs, short mane, absence of chestnuts (horny growths) inside the hocks, and tail destitute of hair at the root it is asinine; while in height and body, shape of neck and croup, uniformity of coat, and in teeth it is equine. It has the voice neither of the ass nor of the horse, however, but emits a feeble hoarse noise. The most common colour of the mule is a brown or bay-brown, -- bay, or bright bay, or piebald being rare; a chestnut tint is sometimes noticed. It possesses the sobriety, patience, endurance, and sure-footedness of the ass, and the vigour, strength, and courage of the horse. As a beast of burden it is preferable to the horse, being less impatient under the pressure of heavy weights, while the skin being harder and less sensitive renders, while the skin being harder and less sensitive renders it more capable of resisting sun and rain. It is very frugal easily fed, and equally good for carrying as for drawing loads; it walks well and steadily, easily traverses the worst roads or paths, will climb or descend a steep mountain, or pick its steps by the side of a precipice, with the surety and safety of a goat. For hot and dry countries, especially those which are mountainous, it is well adapted, though cold and wet regions are not suitable for it.

The mule, like the ass, enjoys an extraordinary immunity form disease. After the campaign in Egypt in 1882 the English horses suffered most extensively and severely from a kind of malarious fever, but the mules were entirely exempts. A similar exemption has been noticed during the prevalence of epizootic maladies at other times. Nevertheless those diseases which attack the mule (and the asinine species) run their course with great rapidity; for example, glanders, which often appears in a chronic form in the horse, is most acute in the mule and ass. These are also very liable to tetanus from trifling injuries.


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Recommended Resources

The Natural Superiority of Mules

by John and Sena Hauer

Natural Superiority of Mules cover


It all starts at birth: Baby mules are just a bit more precocious than other equine creatures. Of course, the most obvious physical advantage of the mule is those magnificent ears! The Natural Superiority of Mules is a collection of essays, articles, and stories in celebration of all the unique qualities of these remarkable hybrids. Full-color photographs accompanying the articles illustrate the grace, strength, agility, and especially, the lovely long ears of these fantastic and fascinating creatures.

Sections include chapters on mule genetics and biology, mule training, mule history, and mule recreational activities. The book concludes with personal stories about the mules we love by the people who love them.

Contributors include:
* Robert M. Miller, DVM * Bill Loftus * Meredith Hodges * Loyd W. Hawley * Molly Chandezi * Jody Foss * Garry McClintock * Betty Robinson * Janet Lowe * and many more.

Mule lovers will be enchanted--and horse lovers just may be converted--by these tales of the stamina, intelligence, loyalty, and common sense displayed by the average mule.

About the Author
John Hauer and his wife, Sena, buy, sell, raise, and ride mules at their Back Country Mules ranch on the banks of the Colorado River, north of Moab, Utah.


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