Size: Over 7 ft (2.1 m) tall at the hump
Weight: Up to 1,600 lbs (726 kg)
Group name: Flock or Caravan
Did you know? Unlike many other animals, camels move both legs on one side of the body at the same time.
Where do camels live?
There are two types of camels in the world: the bactrian and Arabian. The bactrian camel has two humps and is found in the deserts of eastern and northern Asia, specifically the Gobi. The Arabian, as its name suggests, is found in Arabian deserts, and is the one hump variety. Few of these animals of either variety are found in the wild any longer. A small group of them were imported to the deserts of the American southwest, and a herd remains there today, semiwild.
What does a camel look like?
Long legs and a small head make the camel appear oddly formed. Its gait also seems awkward as the front and back legs on the same side move forward together, creating a rocking motion. Camels have either one hump (Dromedary) or two humps (Bactrian). Both species store fat in their humps for use during lean times.
What does a camel eat?
Camels eat a wide variety of plants over expansive home ranges. They have leathery mouths and can eat practically any vegetation including thorns, dry vegetation and salt bush that other mammals avoid.
The food that camels eat depend on whether they are domesticated, feral or living in zoos. In the wild, camels will eat just about anything as it is very hard to find food. They eat plants, dried leaves, seeds, bones, fish meat and even leather! Domesticated camels (those raised by people) are usually fed dates, grass, wheat and oats. In zoos, camels are fed hay and dry grass- about 3.5 kilograms of food every day!
Why are camels sometimes called "Ships of the desert"?
These "ships of the desert" are incredibly well-adapted to their environment. When conditions heat up, camels can increase their own body temperature, which prevents sweating and therefore water loss. Camels can tolerate a 40 percent loss in body mass when food and water are scarce; an amazing feat when one considers that a 15 percent loss would kill most other mammals. Their thick fur insulates them from the heat as well as the cold.
Why do camels have humps?
The ancient camel question is: One hump or two? Arabian camels, also known as dromedaries, have only one hump, but they employ it to great effect. The hump stores up to 80 pounds (36 kilograms) of fat, which a camel can break down into water and energy when sustenance is not available. These humps give camels their legendary ability to travel up to 100 desert miles (161 kilometers) without water. Camels rarely sweat, even in desert temperatures that reach 120°F (49°C), so when they do take in fluids they can conserve them for long periods of time. In winter, even desert plants may hold enough moisture to allow a camel to live without water for several weeks. Camels can tolerate a 40 percent loss in body mass when food and water are scarce, an amazing feat when one considers that a 15 percent such loss would kill most other mammals.
How fast can a Camel drink?
Camels can rehydrate more quickly than any other mammal. That's why a camel can drink more than 200 pints in just 10 minutes. This would be lethal to most animals. When camels do refill, however, they soak up water like a sponge. A very thirsty animal can drink 30 gallons (135 liters) of water in only 13 minutes.
Where does the Camel store the water?
One of the most enduring and misunderstood myths about the camel is its ability to go days without water. Myth tells us that the camel stores water in its hump. The truth is the hump, or humps in the case of the Bactrian camel, are a fatty deposit that provides energy when food is scarce.
The camel stores water in its blood stream, an interesting physiological process. The camel has developed, over the centuries, a unique water saving biology. Capable of losing forty percent of its body's weight before becoming distressed, it is able to go five to seven days before having to drink.
How can the Camel survive the desert?
The Camels nostrils close to keep sand at bay, and they have bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes to protect their eyes. Large, tough lips enable them to pick at dry and thorny desert vegetation. Big, thick footpads help them navigate the rough rocky terrain and shifting desert sands.
Interesting facts about camels:
The camel has been at the center of Arabian culture for thousands of years. In fact, there are over 160 words for "camel" in the Arabic language.
The camel's split upper lip allows it to grip and draw food into its mouth. Its lips are also very tough to protect against thorny desert plants.
While they don’t do it very often, camels can swim.
Camels have very wide feet which stop them sinking into the sand.
Camels do not store water in their humps. It is actually fatty tissue!
Download free Camel wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
Camel wallpaper 1
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Camel Coloring pages
Print free Camel coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.