Whenever you hear the word ‘camel,’ you may think about the image of the sandy dunes and also an animal with peculiar humps.
Camels have been with people for more than 4000 years, and till now, people have depended on these animals for survival all around the globe.
There are two types of camels, one of them has only one hump,and the other one is the two-hump Bactrian camel.
These hardy animals are well adapted to survive in harsh desert environments. Also, they have several unique physical and behavioral traits that fascinate many animal lovers.
So, in this article, we will now discuss some amazing facts about camels.
Exploring Camel Facts
The hump of a camel
The humps of camels are not used to store water. Even though these animals come from hot climates, their humps mainly store fat and even help the rest part of their bodies to stay cooler. When required, this body fat will be converted to water or food.
Arabian camels are the ones that only have one hump, whereas Asian camels have two humps. In Arabian culture, more than 160 words mean ‘camel.’
They can drink 40 gallons of water.
These animals need to stay hydrated in the desert. Hence, it is no surprise that camels can drink almost 40 gallons of water simultaneously.
That water is not being stored in their humps. Also, one of their environmentally adaptable abilities is that their bodies rehydrate much faster than other mammals.
Camels are working animals mainly suited to their harsh desert environment and are an important means of transport for cargo and passengers.
Also, the word ’camel’ has derived from an Arabic word, which means beauty if translated literally.
Camels originated about 50 million years ago.
Camels originated from North America about 50 million years ago. Camelops are generally homegrown camels in North America.
However, this species reached extinction almost 10000 years ago. In terms of geology, the existence of these animals in the Old World is a rather recent event.
In 1758, the Swedish zoologist named the domestic Bactrian camel and the Dromedary camel. In contrast, Nikolai Prejevalsky discovered the wild Bactrian camels while exploring Tibet and Mongolia.
Camels that are not domesticated
Wild Bactrian camels are the only type of camel that has not yet been domesticated. The residence of this animal is in the Eastern Asian wastelands. These are incredibly tough creatures and are also popular as untamed animals.
However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced that the wild Bactrian camel is critically endangered. Also, according to the Wild Camel Protection Foundation, only about 1000 Wild Bactrian camels live today.
Camels have thick, saggy coats.
Camels have thick, saggy coats that protect them from the Sun and cold desert nights. The coats of camels also help to insulate them against heat, as they can reflect sunlight and offer a layer of air between their skin and the environment.
According to many reports, the Wild Bactrian camel is not a subspecies of the Domestic Bactrian camel. As per DNA analyses, the wild Bactrian camels has three extra pairs of chromosome than the number found in Domestic Bactrian camels.
Camels are social animals.
Camels are very social animals; although they might seem incredibly slow and laid-back, they can travel with around 30 other camels while looking for food.
A dominant male camel leads a herd, while the other male camels would form their own herds, then known as a ‘bachelor herd.’
Also, there are actually more than 14 million camels in the world. Most are residents of Asia, Australia, and the Middle East.
Camels wrestling in Turkey
In Turkey, a special event called camel wrestling takes place every January. This event of camel wrestling dates back to the ancient world; hence, even though several animal rights groups aren’t happy with this sport, there are no signs that it will stop soon.
Though camels do not look like great fighters, these animals have been used during wars. Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Persians used to ride them; however, these animals were used in the 20th century too.
A hybrid is a cross-breed of a Bactrian camel and a Dromedary
Hybridizations are common in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. These countries can produce fast-maturing hybrids that grow stronger, larger, and even more adaptable than either of their parents.
These hybrid camels can reach a height of almost 7.5 ft and a weight of almost 2200 lbs. They have just one elongated hump from their shoulder down to their rump.
Camels have three-chambered stomachs.
Similar to cows, the digestive system of camels needs them to regurgitate their food and then chew the resulting cud.
The ropes on camels go around their nose or on a halter because the rope would not interrupt their chewing procedure.
Like cows, camels are herbivores, meaning their diets consist mainly of leaves, grasses, and twigs, which they get from trees and shrubs.
These animals eat almost every plant source they encounter in the desert, including those other mammals usually try to avoid, such as cacti.
Camels’ humps diminish in size.
The humps of camels have diminished in size as they use up the fats stored in their humps. However, the humps will again get refilled once they can drink and eat again.
These specific storage containers of camels may store up to 80 lbs of fat which camels may later break down into water and energy in times of need for sustenance.
A camel can live without water for almost six to seven months
A camel can go without water for about six or seven months. This ability is even special during winters in the Sahara Desert.
However, in those summer months when the temperature rises above 37 degrees Celsius or 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the camels can only last for almost five days with their stamina that is poorly hydrated.
Dromedary Camels and Bactrian Camels
The Dromedary camels can grow up to 2 m or 6.5 ft tall, and when fully grown, their weight can go almost 400-600 kgs or 800-1325 lbs.
In contrast, the length of a Bactrian camel can go up to 3 m or 10 ft. Also, a fully grown Bactrian camel can weigh 600-1000 kg or 1320-2200 lbs.
Camels are famous for spitting on people.
Camels can even throw up various unidentified contents from their stomach while spitting on people. However, these big mammals do not behave like this for fun but rather as a defensive posture against possible threats.
In addition to this, camel milk is a lot healthier than cow milk. It is rich in vitamins, iron, and minerals and contains less fat than cow milk.
Upon birth, camels do not have any humps yet.
The pregnancy of a female camel lasts for about 12-14 months, depending on resources.
After that, the mother camel would find a quiet, private spot wherein she would have her young. The mother usually gives birth to just one baby, with a rare phenomenon of twins being born.
Upon birth, those little camels do not have any bumps yet. Their humps would only grow when they are old enough to eat solid food.
Baby camels are known as ‘calves.’
A newborn calf can stand to walk within just 30 minutes of being born. However, a mother camel and her newborn calf would not rejoin the herd until after a few weeks of delivery.
Young camels grow into full maturity when they reach the age of 7, and they mainly live to almost 17 years old.
Camels have specially adapted feet.
Camels have specially adapted feet that enable them to walk comfortably on sand without sinking.
The feet of camels have two large toes that are spread apart to distribute their weight. Also, these mammals of the desert have thick, tough skin on the soles of their feet.
Moreover, camels can run up to 64 kilometers or 40 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest animals in the desert.
Camels have been used as military animals.
Throughout history, camels have been used as military animals. They were used by the Ottoman Empire and many other armies in the Middle East, and the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan has also used them.
Also, these mammals were perceived as good luck during World War II. At that time, German soldiers would drive their tanks over the droppings of camels which they believed would bring good luck to them.
Camels have been used for transportation.
These fascinating animals have been around for several thousands of years. They were used to transport different types of goods along the ancient Silk Road and are used for transportation in several parts of the world until today.
Camels have some unique adaptations.
Camels have an amazing ability to raise and lower their body temperature to conserve water. During the hottest time of the day, these mammals can raise their body temperature to reduce water loss, and then can lower it again at night.
Moreover, these animals have a strong sense of smell and can detect water from about 80 kilometers or 50 miles away.
They have long and thick eyelids.
Camels have large eyes that have three eyelids each. Their eyelashes are also thick and long, which helps them by protecting their eyes from dust and sand.
Also, these unique mammals use loud grunting noises to communicate with each other.
So, camels are fascinating animals in the desert that can live in those harsh weather conditions and help humans in different ways.
At the end of this article, we learned about 20 really amazing facts about these fascinating mammals called camels.
These facts offer us a clear picture of this interesting desert animal. If you want to collect some more amazing facts, you may visit our website.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.