Camel

Some camels have one hump.

Some camels have two humps.

Camels can go for many days without eating or drinking.

Camels big padded feet so they don't sink in the sand.

A camel family is a bull camel, a cow camel and a calf.

There are two species, or kinds, of camel. The Dromedary has one hump on its back, and the Bactrian has two humps.

Some people say that camels are bad-tempered animals that spit and kick. However, they are actually quite good-tempered, patient and clever.

Body
Camels come in every shade of brown, from cream to almost black.

A camel's ears are small, but it can hear very well. The ears are lined with fur to keep out sand and dust. Its nostrils are slits that close up in a sandstorm to keep the sand from blowing into its nose.

Its eyes are large, protected by a double row of long curly eyelashes that also help keep out sand and dust. Thick eyebrows shield the eyes from the desert sun.

Camels have broad, flat, leathery feet with two toes on each foot. When the camel places its foot on the ground the pads spread, preventing the foot from sinking into the sand. When walking, the camel moves both feet on one side of its body, then both feet on the other.

Camels do not pant, and they perspire very little. Unlike other animals, a camel only sweats when the temperature is very high, so that it keeps moisture inside its body. They pass very little moisture from their bodies for that reason.

All camels moult (shed their fur) in spring and have grown a new coat by autumn.

Thick patches of dry skin appear on a camel's chest and knee joints when the animal reaches five months of age. These leathery patches help support the animal's body weight when kneeling, resting and rising.

A fully-grown adult camel stands 1.85m at the shoulder and is about 2.15m high at the hump.

Food
A camel can go 5-7 days with little or no food and water. The fat inside the hump is used to keep the animal going when there is no food or water. Camels in the wild eat whatever they can find, including even leather, bones, seeds or dried leaves.

Life Cycle
After mating with a male (bull) camel, a female (cow) is pregnant for 13 months. A camel cow usually gives birth to a single calf, and sometimes twins. The calves walk within hours of birth. She feeds her calf milk. Calves stay close to their mothers until they are about five years old. The normal life span of a camel is 40 years.

History
Camels were used for centuries to carry people and heavy loads across the deserts of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia.

As well as being transport, the camel supplied the desert people with shade, milk, meat, wool and hides.

Today, camels are used for racing. In Australia there is a large wild population of feral camels because camels were brought to the country to help exploration of the desert areas. When motor vehicles were able to be used, camels were set free and have become wild. Australia now exports camels to the Middle East.

If you use any of this information, write it in your notes like this:
Camels (2007).[Online], Available: www.kidcyber.com.au

Back to Animals

Updated May 2007