This animal is well known for having a hump back and living in the desert, but did you know the camel is a very interesting animal?
There are lots of fun things to learn about the camel – read these fascinating facts about this animal.
There are two different types of camels – the dromedary camel (the kind that has only one hump) and the Bactrian camel (which has two humps).
Where do camels live?
The one-humped camel resides in North Africa and the Middle East, while the two-humped camel is commonly found in Central Asia.
No matter where they live, camels are usually found in desert-type climates. Some camels are native to specific deserts. For example, Bactrian camels are native to the Gobi Desert in China and the Bactrian steppes of Mongolia.
Camels can also be found in cold weather climates as well, despite popular belief.
Here’s a really gross fact, so prepare yourself – people have actually drank camel urine before for medicinal purposes! I bet our medicine doesn’t look too bad now, right?
Related: Sahara Desert facts
Why do camels have a hump?
The camel’s hump is actually very useful. Contrary to popular belief, however, the camel’s hump is not filled with water.
It consists of stored fat which the camels can resource when food and water are very limited.
This fat can be broken down and used as nutrition in emergencies where food is scarce, so camels can go for days without water or food.
Another aspect that helps camels go without water is their incredible ability to minimize their water losses.
When they use the bathroom, their droppings are very dry and their urine is extremely concentrated, allowing them to retain more water.
Here’s a gross fact – but a very true one! Believe it or not, camels have a third, clear eyelid which protects their eyes from sand and dirt blowing in the desert.
Another helpful aspect of their eyes are their two sets of eyelashes, which help keep their eyes clean.
Camels also have the handy ability of shutting their nostrils during sandstorms. As you can tell, camels are definitely meant to live in the desert.
Camels as a mode of transport
Camels, like donkeys, have been used as a method of transportation for humans for a very long time – thousands of years, believe it or not.
Camels can carry up to 500 pounds on their backs, so people or goods can be transported.
Nowadays, camels are more often used for transporting products rather than people.
How fast can a camel run?
Camels can run up to speeds of 40 miles per hour – that’s pretty fast for an animal thought to be rather slow, isn’t it?
What does the word ‘camel’ mean?
The word “camel” is actually Arabic and means beauty.
Camels do not start sweating until temperatures reach 106 degrees.
How big are camels?
Most camels are much larger than humans are. The average two-humped camel grows to a shoulder height of 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length and a body length of about 10 feet (3 meters).
They can weigh anywhere from 1,320 to 2,200 pounds.
A one-humped camel can be about 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall and weigh anywhere from 880 to 1,325 pounds.
Many people who see a camel in person are very surprised by how big they actually are.
Camels are not picky eaters whatsoever. In fact, due to their very thick lips, they can eat some things that would seriously hurt other animals and people – like thorn covered plants, for example.
One thing camels do not eat is meat, because they are herbivores.
How much water do camels need?
Although camels can a long time without water, it doesn’t mean they don’t need any.
Camels typically live in very hot and dry desert climates and when they find a source of water, they fill up!
Related: Water Cycle for kids
A typical camel can down up to 30 gallons of water in a mere 13 minutes.
The camel’s body rehydrates very quickly, much faster than any other animal.
In very desperate times, camels can survive up to six months without food or water.