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Dromedary Camel

About...

Scientific Name: Cemelus dromedarius

Range & Habitat: The exact range of the Arabian Camel will probably never be known. The species exists only on the domesticated state today in Arabia and has been introduced into other regions of the world.

Diet: Practically anything that grows in the desert, including salty plants rejected by other grazers. Will eat fish, meat and bones.

Life Cycle: During rutting season, the male protrudes a fleshy fold from his mouth and emits a loud, unpleasant roar. A single calf is born after a gestation period of 13 months. Maturity is at 3-5 years. Life span is 30-40 years.

Description: Single hump. Head and body length: 10 feet. Shoulder height: 6-7 feet. Weight: 1000-1500 pounds. Body is carried on long, slender legs ending in two toes beneath which is a broad, callous, and elastic pad. Upper lip is deeply cleft. Coloration is fawn or beige. Coat is smooth and shorter than that of the Bactrian camel, but equally wooly.

Adaptations: Everything is adapted for life in the desert. Feet are broadened to walk on sand. Eyelashes protect eyes from wind-blown sand. Nostrils close to keep sand out. Lips are thickened to withstand the coarsest of desert plants. Coloration matches the environment. Calluses are present on knees and other parts of the body that touch the hot sand when the animal sits down. Hump is a flesh mound not supported by bones. A reserve of fat (not water) is stored in the hump.

Status in the Wild: Fossil remains indicate that the camel family originated in North America. Only guanacos and vicunas may be found wild in the New World today. Llamas and alpacas have been domesticated. Camels exist only in the domesticated state in Africa and Asia. The Arabian camel has been successfully introduced into Australian desert regions where it is now.

Nature Notes: Camels run like a giraffe with both legs on one side of the body moving simultaneously. The resulting rocking, shuffling gait gave rise to the term “Ship of the Desert.” Camels have been used as beasts of burden for centuries. They are known for their loathing of men and forms of work. Spit foul-smelling stomach contents when annoyed. Arabs utilize almost every portion of the body. Tents are made of camel-hair cloth. The flesh of young camel is said to taste similar to veal. Camel milk is nutritious and cheese is also made from it. Dung is burned as fuel on the desert. The name “Dromedary” is properly reserved for the Arabian racing camel such as those used in the various military camel corps. These camels can travel 80 to 120 miles per day carrying a rider. Arabian baggage camels have a heavier build and are capable of carrying a 200 kg load up to 40 miles per day. There are 160 words for camel in Arabic.

Basic Husbandry Cost: 800/150 x2




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