The Dromedary Camel “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.” -Arabian Proverb-
No, Really, WTF is a Camel? SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Bovidae G. Species: Camelus Dromedarius
No, Really, WTF is a Camel? cont. Range Its native range is still unclear but it was probably the Arabian Peninsula and the domesticated form occurs in Africa and Saudi Arabia. The only ‘wild’ camels are in Africa.
General Characteristics Body Length: 10 ft Shoulder Height: 6-7 ft Weight: 1320-2200 lbs. Males are considerably larger than females Coat is beige to light-brown with slightly lighter undersides. Legs are long & slender with calluses on the knees Upper lip is deeply spilt Closable nostrils & long eyelashes to keep sand out Two broad toes on feet Camels are known for having bad attitudes to begin with, (biting, spitting, being smelly, etc.) No, Really, WTF is a Camel? cont.
What’s With the Hump? The hump does not store water! It stores fat that the camel is able to break down into water and energy when none is available The dromedary is considered the ‘one-hump’ camel but it actually has two humps The underdeveloped anterior hump sits over the shoulders while the other one is in the center of the back, obviously. Someone called camels the ‘ship of the desert’ because of their humps and that’s somehow supposed to make sense and be clever No, Really, WTF is a Camel? cont.
Humble Beginnings Became established in the Sahara region in the second millennium BC Disappeared again around 900 BC Persian invasion brought domesticated animals to Egypt Used throughout North Africa Romans kept a corps of camel warriors to patrol the desert BUT these camels didn’t do crap for the trade industry… The History of the Dromedary Camel
The Better, Buffer Camel More durable camels arrived in the 4th century Before then, the trips across the desert were taken by horse-drawn carriage— these were dangerous. These camels did not become common until some Islamic conquest made them common. These heartier camels allowed substantial trade across the Sahara desert for the first time The History of the Dromedary Camel cont.
The Camel’s Adventure to Australia In 1840 the first camels were shipped to Australia from a Spanish island off the coast of Africa Only one camel survived the voyage It was kind of a fail for the Spaniards The explorer John Horrocks was one of the first people to use camels to explore The Outback of Australia during the 1840’s. Thanks to all this there are about 300,000 feral camels roaming around Australia Australian Feral camels are the only real ‘wild’ camels now The History of the Dromedary Camel cont.
About Mom & Dad Female camels are called cows Male camels are called bulls Bulls have an inflatable soft palate (like frog’s) that they fill with air to attract a cow Cows reach sexual maturity when 3 or 4 years old Bulls reach sexual maturity at 5 years old A fully mature bull really gets around: ‘covering’ 20–50 females in one breeding season The gestation period is between 12 and 13 months Only one calf is born Twins are wicked rare, FYI, so don’t get your hopes up Let’s Make Baby Camels!
The Finished Product Called calves Newborn stands about 3 feet tall with long, thin legs So weak & wobbly it can barley walk A day after birth it can follow its mother to graze If the mother is a member of a human-lead caravan, the calf is put in a nifty hammock and carried on one of the super-buff camels so that the group can keep moving Baby camels are born without a hump because the layer of fat doesn’t develop until they eat solid food Let’s Make Baby Camels! cont.
Its Better When You’re Together Groups are called herds or caravans Herds are not territorial and may join up during droughts Family groups: a feral herd of females and young led by an adult male; usually fewer than 21 individuals Other males, not in family groups, are solitary or travel in ‘bachelor groups’ Behavior and Survival
How To Get The Ladies Bulls splash urine on their tails and flick them around to cover their backs— the AXE of the dromedary world —besides puffing up their soft palate Males also gurgle their saliva to create foam Behavior and Survival cont.
Its About To Get Violent Up In This Piece! Males become very aggressive during the breeding season, defending their women from the other guys They snap, kick, and neck-wrestle to protect their harem Camel neck-wrestling is no laughing matter! Suffocation of the loser may occur if the winner falls on his throat Behavior and Survival cont.
Survivor:Sahara Aside from its eyelashes, closable nostrils, large padded feet, and hump here are a few other ways the camel survives in its harsh habitat: Its feeding behavior: it only eats a few leaves from each plant as a method of conservation It is capable of eating plants other herbivores can’t. (i.e. the thorns from acacia tree) Herds will spread over a large area so they do not eat all the vegetation Behavior and Survival cont.
Are Camels Useless? Used mainly as a beast of burden In some cultures, wealth is based on the number of camels a person owns Camel hair is also a source camels can offer. You can use it to make belts, purses, shirts, tents, etc. Dromedary meat is consumed a lot in the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt (but only a little) Some police/border guards ride camels when on patrol The Many Uses of the Dromedary And don’t forget Joe Camel!
I won’t apologize if it was boring. I like camels. THE END!