Camelus dromedarius

Description

The Arabian Camel is a large, even-toed ungulate. A Dromedary camel has 1 hump and a Bactrian camel has 2 humps.

Distribution

The Arabian Camel lives in North Africa/Middle East and are found in desert areas.

Lifespan

The lifespan of an Arabian Camel is 40 years.

Size

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

Diet

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.

Habitat

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

Breeding

Breeding occurs in winter. Females are sexually mature at 3 years, and male at 4 years. Males begin to rut a 3 years but are not sexually mature until 6 years. There is a 14 month gestation period.

Population

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

Uses

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

Notes

The hump is a large fat storage area.

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.

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