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Dromedary Camel
Status Low Risk
Diet Herbivore
Habitat
Fame
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Description

  • The dromedary camel is one of two kinds of camels, which are large ruminants native to the desert regions of Asia and northern Africa. The dromedary, or Arabian camel, has one hump, and the Bactrian camel, the other kind of camel, has two humps. The humps are stores of flesh and fat, absorbed as nutrition when food is scarce. A camel can subsist without water for several days. The dromedary camel usually stands 2 m (7 ft) tall at the shoulders. The hump rises about 30 cm (about 12 in) above the back. The Bactrian camel has slightly shorter legs, is about 1.9 m (about 6.5 ft) in height at the shoulders, but usually has a heavier torso than the dromedary. Both types of camels have been domesticated since ancient times.
  • The dromedary camel, unknown in the wild state, is found from northwestern India and the lowlands of Afghanistan to the extremity of the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia to the south and westward across the African deserts. Attempts have been made to introduce the species into Spain, Zanzibar, and the southwestern United States, but without lasting success. In Australia a population of about 25,000 feral dromedary camels still remains from an introduction that took place from 1840 to 1907. The dromedary camel is adapted to subsistence in the desert by its structural qualities and by its ability to bite off and consume the thorny plants that grow there. Thick, broad sole pads and thick callosities on the joints of the legs and on the chest, upon which it rests in a kneeling position, enable it to withstand the heat of the desert sand. Moreover, its nostrils may be closed against flying dust, and its eyes are shielded by very long eyelashes.
  • The endurance and strength of the camel have made it a valuable beast of burden. The dromedary camel, generally used as a saddle animal, can cover more than 161 km (100 mi) in a day. The flesh and milk of the camel are used as food and the hide for leather. The long hair, shed every summer, is made into cordage, fine paint brushes, and a light, warm, long-napped cloth.

Fun Facts

  • Camels can close their nostrils to keep out dirt and sand.
  • Camels can drink brackish or salt water without getting sick.
  • The camel stores fat, not water, in its hump. The hump becomes flaccid as the fat is metabolized.

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