The donkey (also referred to as an ass, Equus asinus) is a domesticated animal in the horse family. A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (called a "jack") and a female horse (called a "mare.")
Donkeys play an important role in the Gospels, acting as a symbol of Jesus' humility: He made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday riding on a donkey rather than a horse to show that He was not coming as a ruler, as some thought that the Messiah would do. Donkeys also feature in the Old Testament: in the book of Numbers, Balaam has a talking donkey - the only talking animal in the Bible apart from the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Similarly to certain breeds of dogs, donkeys are capable of guarding cattle, sheep, goats, and other hoofed livestock from predators, such as wolves, mountain lions and bears. They will kick at the predator and bray.