Camel - the amazing ship of the desert They look weird. They have a furry, sandy-coloured coat. And they have a long neck. That's right, they're the camels! Camels are surely the most well known animals of the desert. They just pop into your mind every time you think about the desert. But how much do you actually know about them? There are 2 kinds of camels, the dromedary and the Bactrian camel. The dromedary originally lives in Arabia and North Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia and America. The dromedary has one hump. Because it lives in the hotter deserts, its coat is not too furry. It was tamed about 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The wild ones have been extinct for a long time and now there are only the domesticated ones left. The Bactrian camel lives in the colder deserts of Central Asia and therefore it has a thicker coat to keep it warm. The neck fur is very long and hangs down just like the hair on our heads! Bactrian camels shed their fur in spring. It has two humps on its back and the people sit in between them. Like its cousin, the Bactrian camel has also been tamed, but there are still a few wild herds in the Gobi Desert. Camels eat tough desert plants. Their humps are not used to store water, but to store fat. When there is no food, they live off the fat in their humps. A starving camel's hump shrink and can even slide down to its sides.They can also go without water for 8 days in the summer, and even 8 weeks in the winter. But when they reach a water source, watch out! They can drink 25 gallons of water in 10 minutes! That's the same as drinking 267 cans of soft drink in 10 minutes! They must be really thirsty! Camels are very useful. Nomadic people of the desert use them not only as transport, but they sometimes eat the camel's meat too. Their milk are drunk and their fur can be woven into cloth. Even their droppings can be used as fuel in fires! Camels can travel over large desert areas carrying 260kg of loads at most. That made them the best type of transportation for crossing the desert. A few decades ago it was impossible for any human to cross the Sahara and Arabian deserts without a camel. Sadly, they are now gradually being replaced by cars and trucks and they are not as important anymore.
[ Diagram showing the different parts of a Camel ]
[ A camel ]
[ People and camel. The camel helps a lot of people ]
DID YOU KNOW?
You can tell the time by a camel's body temperature. In the morning a camel's temperature can be 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and at noon it can rise to 105 degrees!