Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dromedary Camel

Camelus dromedarius
Did you know that the Dromedary Camel was domesticated 4,000 years ago? There are around 13 million of these beasts of burden living around the world-- most notably in Africa, the Middle East, and in the deserts of Australia.

Most of these camels are either living as domesticated creatures, or they are surviving in feral populations. Australia, for example, had several thousand camels imported during the late 19th and early 20th century. Today there are nearly a million living in feral groups across the dry western half of the continent. These feral groups live in herds of around 20 individuals, though much larger packs have also been observed. The Camels feed on whatever vegetation they can find, including prickly, thorny plants.

Dromedary Camels are well suited to desert life. Their single hump can store up to 80lbs of fat, which converts to energy when food or water is unavailable. They are masters of co
nserving their energy, and can travel over 100 miles without any extra water! And when they do drink, they drink very fast-- Dromedary Camels can take in 10 gallons of water in as many minutes! Other desert adaptations include their long, double-rowed eyelashes (perfect for keeping sand out), closeable nostril holes, and thick feet with pads that can spread to provide traction and stability over uneven surfaces.

A Dromedary Camel can live to be 40 or 50 years old, and they reach sexual maturity by the age of 4. Young Camels are born without their humps, because they haven't consumed enough extra fuel to fill it with fat.

As adults, the Dromedary Camels are creatures that serves many purposes. They are excellent pack animals, they can pull plows and carts, and they can carry passengers. They also provide milk, meat, and fibers.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Africa, Asia, Australia
Size : Height up to 7ft (2.1m), Weight up to 1,500lbs (680kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Artiodactyla
Family : Camelidae -- Genus : Camelus -- Species : C. dromedarius
Images : Public Domain, Witoki

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