Family: †††††††††††††††††† Camelidae.
Status:†††††††††††††††††††† No special status.
Size:††††††††††††††††††††††† 6 to 8 ft. tall at the shoulder, 700 to 1,600 lbs.
Characteristics:††††††† Social, active by day.
Area:†††††††††††††††††††††† Dry regions of the Middle East and northern Africa.
Offspring:††††††††††††††† One foal every other year.
∑ Dromedary camels are believed to have been domesticated by 3000 BC.
∑ Camel racing is a popular sport in desert countries.
∑ When they moult, camels shed hair that is used for sweaters, paintbrushes, coats, rugs and more.
∑ Scientists believe ancestors of the camel lived in North America 40 million years ago.
Camels are designed for desert life because theyíre able to go for a week without food or drink. The reason for this is the fat thatís stored in the single hump on a dromedary camelís back. When he goes without food for five to seven days, the hump begins to empty and tilts to one side, because itís supplying energy to the camel. Once he finds food, the hump will go back to normal. When he gets water after going for days without, the camelís blood vessels absorb the water in the stomach and carry it to every part of the body. Scientists have found that the camelís stomach can be empty ten minutes after drinking twenty gallons. Their eyelashes are long, to keep out the drifting sands, and their nostrils have special muscles that permit the camel to close them while still being able to breathe. Their knees are padded, enabling them to sink down onto them to rest, and their hooves expand in the sand, allowing them to travel across sand without sinking into it. It was believed that camels groaned and grunted when rising to their feet under a heavy load because they were complaining, and this led people to think that camels were bad-tempered. In reality, theyíre good-tempered and patient, and merely groan because theyíre struggling under the weight, the same as when a person lifts something heavy.
Dromedary camels live in the hot dry climate of the Northern African desert and across Central Asia to Mongolia, and in Australia (where it was not a native animal, but has been introduced). There are no dromedary camels left in the wild, except in Australia. The rest have all been domesticated because of their usefulness to man, who trims their coats for wool, drinks their milk, rides them and uses them to carry over 600 lbs at a time, travelling up to 25 miles per day through the desert. In Africa and Arabia it is semi-domesticated and roams freely within certain areas, but under the control of herders.
Most mating activity takes place during winter and spring. The pregnancy lasts 13 months and the foals (also called calves) are born weighing from 26-53 kg. Although they begin to eat plants at three months, the foals will continue to nurse until the age of 12 to 18 months. Baby camels are born without a hump, and do not develop one until they eat solid food.