The dromedary or Arabian camel is a one-humped camel found throughout the Middle East and southern Africa. It stores large amounts of fat tissue in its hump that it converts into energy and water, making the dromedary capable of traveling long distances without water or food. The rarer Bactrian camel is two-humped and found in central Asia.
Camels possess additional adaptations for desert life. Oval blood cells facilitate blood flow when the animal is dehydrated and make consumption of large amounts of water at one time safer. Camels are capable of drinking 30 gallons of water in minutes. Camels preserve water by reabsorbing water vapor trapped in the nostrils during exhalation, and in milder conditions can absorb enough moisture from green plants to maintain hydration..
Although camels rarely sweat they are able to tolerate up to a 25 percent loss of body weight due to sweating. Their thick hair coat insulates their bodies from the desert heat, and padding over the sternum forms a pedestal that allows cooler air to flow under the body when the animal lays down. Other adaptations to desert life include the ability to close their nostrils to keep out sand, double rows of eyelashes and heavy eyebrows.Learn More
Camels have 34 teeth. Like other mammals, they start out with baby teeth that are eventually replaced with a permanent set of teeth as the camels mature.Full Answer >
The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years. Their natural predators include leopards, lions and humans. Camels were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago and no longer exist in the wild.Full Answer >
Camels are herbivorous and are specifically adapted to consume cactus and other thorny plants. Their mouths contain a leathery lining that protects the inside from damage. They also eat plants that do not contain thorns, such as willow and poplar.Full Answer >
Camels protect themselves from predators by regurgitating their stomach contents mixed with saliva in a projectile fashion. This practice is commonly referred to as spitting. According to the San Diego Zoo, when camels spit, it is meant to startle and distract potential predators.Full Answer >