Camels are unique animals widespread throughout the world. You can find them throughout the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, South America, and Australia. While some camels are domesticated and used as pets or for their milk, meat, or wool, others are entirely wild.

These mammals are intelligent, fast, and friendly, and they can withstand harsh environmental conditions and survive in circumstances other mammals couldn’t.

So many things make camels stand apart from other animals, read on to discover more about them.

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The 14 Interesting Facts About Camels

1. Camels Are Born Without Their Humps

Camel newborns are extremely intelligent, and they can start walking almost as soon as they are born, which is not common for many other mammals. There are so many unique things about camels, and perhaps the most important trait is their humps. While it may seem as if camels are born with humps, that’s not quite true. They are born without their humps, which start developing at around 4 months old. However, the hump doesn’t get its form until the calf is 1 year old.

A young camel with its mother
Image Credit: chris clark, Pexels

2. Some Camels Can Live for Over 50 Years

Camels have quite a long life expectancy, which is typically around 50 years. In their natural environment, camels don’t have any predators, which significantly affects their lifespan. However, the average lifespan of camels is around 20 years. Camels in captivity frequently die at an earlier age, while wild camels have longer lives.

3. Camels Don’t Store Water Inside Their Humps

Many people believe camels store water in their humps, which is just a myth. Camel humps store fat which helps camels when there’s no food, which is especially important in harsh desert conditions. As the camel uses the fat, the hump will become significantly smaller, and return to normal with adequate nutrition and proper rest.

camel walking on seaside
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Camels Store Water Using Their Blood

Instead of storing water in their humps, as many believe, camels store water using their blood. They have distinctive red blood cells shaped like a football. These red cells are much smaller than regular cells, which makes camels unlike any other mammal. They allow constant circulation even if a camel dehydrates and can immensely expand with water, allowing animals to drink large amounts at a time.

5. Llamas, Alpacas, Vicunas, and Guacanos are Also Considered Types of Camels

Three main types of camels belong to the Camelus genus:
  • Bactrian Camel
  • Dromedary Camel
  • Wild Bactrian Camel

However, other animals, specifically the ones that belong to the Lama genus, are also types of camels. Those animals include:

  • Llamas
  • Alpacas
  • Guacanos
  • Vicunas

While they belong to a different genus than regular camels, they are still part of the Camelidae family, which makes them types of camels.

camels carrying goods
Image Credit: Piqsels

6. Camels Can Drink Over 30 Gallons of Water in 13 Minutes

Because camels have distinctive blood cells, they can drink over 30 gallons of water in 13 minutes. While some other animals would get intoxicated, camels show no signs of water intoxication as they absorb it slowly. Camels will always drink the necessary amount they need to obtain the normal water level in their bodies.

7. Camels Can Survive 15 Days Without Water

While most animals can only spend a couple of days without water, animals can survive 15 days without water. Their humps collect the needed fat that helps camels go long without water and food, while their bodies also retain water. If a camel finds a water source, it will drink enough water and store it inside its blood, which will allow it to spend a lot of time in the desert without the urge to eat or drink.

Arabian Camel
Image Credit: Rajesh Vattekat, Pixabay

8. Camels Will Spit at You as a Defense Mechanism

Camels will spit at you as a defense mechanism if they feel threatened. A camel will bring up the content from its stomach with saliva and spit it out. That way, in the wilderness, they can distract and surprise a predator. Typically, you can notice that the camel is about to spit at you because its cheeks get filled up, and its faces puff.

9. Camels Are Quite Fast and Can Reach Over 40 Miles per Hour

Camels are fast animals; they can reach over 40 miles per hour when running. While they’re not as fast as horses, their speed makes camels racing animals in many countries. Camel racing is a popular sport in places throughout Northern Africa, Western Asia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Australia. While child jockeys were primarily used to ride the camels, that type of activity has been banned, and now robotic whips control the running camels.

camel standing outdoor
Image Credit: Piqsels

10. Camels Are Built for Living in the Desert

Camels are one of the only animals that can survive in the desert without having problems. They are the only animals built for living in the desert and adapting to all the harsh conditions such life brings. Here are some of the most important things about camels that allow them to live in the desert:

  • They can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures
  • They have humps that store fat, allowing them to travel and survive without food and water
  • They can be without water for long periods of time
  • They have thick coats
  • They have double eyelids that protect them from sand and wind
  • Their nostrils can close to prevent sand from coming in

11. Camels Can Carry Up to 600 Pounds

Camels are strong animals that can carry up to 600 pounds. They can travel for hours with heavy weights on their backs, which is not typical for other mammals of similar size. Because of that, people use them as pack animals that help carry heavy loads.

camel beauty contest_Piqsels
Image Credit: Piqsels

12. The Arabic Language Has Over 40 Words for Camel

Camels are important animals in the Arabian Peninsula. Arabian people domesticated camels thousands of years ago, and they represent a true cultural value, which also shows in the Arabic language. It contains over 40 terms for the word camel. However, the actual word camel comes from the Greek language and the word kamelos.

13. Camels Are Extremely Social Animals

Camels are incredibly social animals that love to engage with one another as well as with humans. They commonly live in herds, which consist of a dominant male, females, and the young. You can frequently notice different vocalizations camels use to communicate and even blow at each other’s faces as a greeting. As they are also friendly around humans, many people worldwide have domesticated camels as pets.

Camels in Arabia
Image Credit: Yasser El Dershaby, Shutterstock

14. The Bactrian Camel Is Currently an Endangered Species

The Bactrian Camel is currently an endangered species largely due to hunting. Also, competition with other livestock for food makes it hard for camels to prosper in the wild. Currently, there are less than 1,000 Bactrian camels in their native range in Mongolia and the Gobi Desert in China. They are preserved in natural reserves.

However, the Bactrian Camel remains the 8th most endangered animal species in the world. Because of that, there are many programs that are working on saving these camels through breeding.

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Everything about camels is fascinating, from their bodies and physique to all the behavioral patterns they have. One thing is certain; these animals are excellent human companions that can withstand even the harshest conditions and live long lives in various environments.

Featured Image Credit: Bandurka, Shutterstock