Camelus dromedarius

Size

Stand 1.8m at shoulder and 2.2m at hump and weigh 300-700kg. Can run at 65km per hour.

Population

There are an estimated 700,000 in central Australia. These are descended from draft animals used in the 1800s.

Food

Camels graze and browse almost anything and in drought will even eat carrion. The mouth is very sturdy, allowing them to eat thorny dessert plants.

Distribution

Usually found in arid regions because of their special adaptations to dry conditions.

Uses

Used as draft and riding animals. Camel milk is much prized by desert tribes.

Notes

The hump is a large fat storage area. Average life expectancy is 50-60 years. Gestation period is 12-14 months.

Do camels really spit? No - they squirt vomit!

Camels have a natural pacing gait, moving both legs on same side of body forward at

same time.

Chewbacca’s voice in the movie Star Wars was based on the rumbling growl of a camel.

Camels can go for 1 week without water and several months without food. They can survive a 40% weight loss and then drink 120 litres in one drinking session!

The camelids of South America are closely related - Llama, Alpaca Guanaco and Vicuna.