Dromedary Camel (Camelus dromedarius)

 

Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family:    Camelidae
Size:    Height: 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 m)
Weight: 660 to 1,600 pounds (300 to 726 kg)
Diet: Grains, grasses and dates
Distribution: Northern African deserts and arid regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, Northern India and Australia
Young:  1 foal every other year
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Foal or Calf)
Lifespan: 40 to 50 years

 

Facts/Trivia:

       Dromedary camels are believed to have been domesticated by 4000 BC.

       Camel racing is a popular sport in some 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.

 

Description

Camels have two rows of long eyelashes to keep out the drifting sands, and their nostrils have special muscles that permit them to close them while still being able to breathe. Their knees are padded, enabling them to sink down onto them to rest on the hot desert sand, and the pads on their feet expand in the sand, allowing them to travel across it without sinking into it.

 

Habitat

Dromedary camels live in the hot dry climate of the Northern African desert and across Central Asia, Northern India and in Australia (where it is 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 humans. In Africa and Arabia they are semi-domesticated and roam freely within certain areas, but under the control of herders.

 

Feeding Habits

Camels eat grains and grasses, and are designed for desert life because they are able to go for a week without food or drink. The reason for this is the fat that is stored in the single hump on the camelsí backs. When camels go without food for five to seven days, the hump begins to empty and tilts to one side because it is supplying energy. Once they find food, the hump goes back to normal. When camels get water after going for days without, the camelsí blood vessels absorb the water in the stomach and carry it to every part of the body. Scientists have found that camels can drink more than 20 gallons of water in 10 minutes.

 

Reproduction

Most mating activity takes place during winter and spring. Pregnancies lasts 13 to 15 months. Foals nurse until the age of 12 to 18 months. Camels are born without a hump, and do not develop one until they begin to eat solid food.

 

Behaviour

Dromedary camels tend to show very little aggressive behaviour. They form groups ranging in size from 2 to 20 individuals.  The groups consist of one male, several females, along with sub adults and young.  The male is the dominant figure in the group and will lead his pack from the rear, while the females share the navigation from the front. It was once 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, they are good-tempered and patient, and merely groan because they are struggling under the weight, the same as when a person lifts something heavy. 

 

Conservation

Because dromedary camels are domesticated, they have no special conservation status. 

 

Sources

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/camelus/c._dromedarius$narrative.html

http://www.seaworld.org/AnimalBytes/dromedary_camelab.html

http://www.oaklandzoo.org/atoz/azcamel.html

http://www.camels-camels.com/dromedary.htm

http://www.chaffeezoo.org/zoo/animals/camel.html

http://www.makalapa.k12.hi.us/Makalapa_Folder/HTML/adapt&survive/chc/camel.html

http://www.livingdesert.org/sgcamel.htm

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/mammal/camel/camelcoloring.shtml

http://www.rwpzoo.org/what_to_see/marco_polo/marcopolo_camel.htm

http://aztec.asu.edu/phxzoo/old/camel_dr.html

http://www.arab.net/camels/welcome.html

Dromedary Camel Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US