First off yes I know how the title is worded and I meant to write it that way, just wanted to get that out there.
Many people question as to what the difference between a donkey and mule is. The differences are mainly physical, and can easily be seen from those who know what to look for.
When concerning species, the donkey itself is a species. The mule, however, is a direct result from a male donkey (jack) and female horse (mare) mating. Interestingly enough, mules can not reproduce, since they are in fact sterile. Donkeys, on the other hand, can reproduce at will.
As far as physical differences go, mules are usually slighter larger than donkeys. This makes sense, because mules are a result of a horse and donkey mating, and the mule inherits genes from both animals, including the horse’s height. Also, the donkey has a distinct bray, while the mule will have a combination between a whinny and a donkey bray.
As far as usage goes, mules can be used in any application that horses can. From sports, harnesses, cutting, or roping, the mule can do many things the donkey can not. Since the mule is a hybrid, it gets traits from the donkey and can carry more weight than a horse, and has much more stamina. Another interesting feature that mules have is their ability to jump- up to a few feet from standing still in place, much more than a horse could do.
Even though mules have much more uses than donkeys, the downfall is that they can not reproduce as a result from being sterile. The American Donkey and Mule Society claims donkeys outnumber mules about 10 to 1.
Even with all of these differences, one can easily mistake a mule and a donkey. With this guided knowledge, you should be able to now tell a donkey apart from a mule, which can prove very useful in many situations.