Mule Beats Odds, Gives Birth To Second Offspring
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Lightning isn’t supposed to strike the same place twice, so when Krause, a mule who’s defied the scientific odds, gave birth a second time, her owners thought it appropriate to name the new colt White Lightning.
Three years ago Krause gave birth to a mule called Blue Moon, the first mule birth to be scientifically verified. Mules, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse, had been believed to be sterile, although there had been claims of earlier mule births.
Both Blue Moon and White Lightning, who was born Wednesday, have the same father - a donkey named Chester.
″Their first baby was Blue Moon because it only happens once in a blue moon,″ said Oneta Silvester of Champion, who with her husband, Bill, owns Krause and Chester.
″And lightning never strikes twice so we chose White Lightning, because it did strike twice,″ Mrs. Silvester said Friday in a telephone interview from the family’s Chase County home, in the southwestern corner of Nebraska.
Mrs. Silvester said the family wanted to name the colt something patriotic because he was born on Veterans Day, and her four grandchildren picked White Lightning.
″White will have to stand for the red, white and blue,″ she said.
Mrs. Silvester said her granddaughter checked Krause’s pen Wednesday afternoon and found the newborn colt.
″There he was, still wet from the birth, standing on his little legs,″ Mrs. Silvester said.
″We knew she was pregnant again but didn’t expect the birth for another six weeks,″ she said in a telephone interview. ″We were in Arizona, and we had to fly home.″
After the birth of Blue Moon in July 1984, blood tests analyzed by geneticists at the San Diego Zoo showed both Krause and Blue Moon were mules according to the number of their chromosones. Horses have 64 chromosones, donkeys 62 and mules 63.
Geneticist Oliver Ryder of the San Diego Zoo said as far as he knows, Krause is the first case of mule fertility that has not been refuted by scientific analysis.
Ryder said he will ask veterinarians to send blood samples from White Lightning, and he has contacted other geneticists around the country about the latest birth.
Mrs. Silvester said she and her husband tried to spread the glad news in an Arizona restaurant before they flew home.
″They announced it over the loud speaker, but a majority of people don’t know what a mule is; they don’t know mules don’t give birth,″ she said. ″But it’s really exciting to us.″