A donkey, a burro, and an ass are all just different names for the same animal. It is a small equine (horse-like) mammal with a relatively large head, large ears and small hooves. Burro is the Mexican name but it is used as often as donkey. A male burro is called a jackass, sometimes shortened to either jack or ass, and a female is a jenny.
My dad used to say that you could buy a donkey very cheaply in the fall because no one wanted to feed one over the winter in the north. Just to prove his point he bought a female donkey one fall for $25 to roam in the 120 acres of fenced woods at our cottage in
On the weekends we would go to the cottage and round up the burros (my dad’s buddy bought a male burro to provide a companion for Jenny) and put a bridle on them so we could ride. The burros were semi-wild from roaming the woods all week and although they didn’t buck, they would do all sorts of tricks to get us off their backs. The first trick every time was to reach around and try to take a big old burro bite out of the leg of the kid on their back. You had to have the bridle reins ready to whip their nose to keep from losing a thigh. Then, they would take us under every low tree in the woods to try to rub us off. If that didn’t work they would get up a little speed and then stop abruptly and lower their head to roll us over the front. Since we always rode bareback it was almost impossible to stay on even though we knew what was coming. What fun!
One very interesting fact about donkeys is that one or two are often kept with a herd of sheep for protection against coyotes and feral (wild) dogs. I’ve read that canine predation of sheep and lambs stops completely if a donkey is in the field.
A mule is not a donkey. A mule is a cross between a female horse and a male donkey. Mules, like many hybrids, are sterile, so if you want another mule you have to breed a male donkey to a female horse again…that is the only way to get a mule. Mules can be any size. If the mother is a pony, you get a small mule. If the mother is a Clydesdale, your mule will be large. Don’t worry, these days horse people mostly use artificial insemination so the male burro doesn’t have to stand on a stool. Mules are noted for their intelligence. They say you can work a horse to death but a mule (and also a burro) will stop and refuse to continue before it is exhausted. That is one reason that mules are sometimes considered stubborn. But they are also known as calm, strong, surefooted, and reliable. These traits are the reason mules are used to carry greenhorns to the bottom of the
Now, even if you knew about mules and donkeys, only one person that I polled had ever heard of a hinny. A hinny is nearly the same as a mule except the hinny has a horse for a father and a donkey for a mother…just the opposite of a mule. Hinnies are usually smaller and considered to not have all the good traits of a mule and therefore they are very rare.
By the way, the question in the title referring to the picture asks Donkey, Burro, or Ass? The answer is…Yes!