- Scientific name: Camelus
- Class: Mammal
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Camelidae
- Subspecies: 3 different species and 4 different types of camel fossil
- Lifespan: Between 40 and 50 years
- Senses: Sharp vision and hearing, but a poor sense of smell
- Conservation: Bactrian camel is only surviving wild camel; there are 400 in Mongolia
- Emblems: It is the emblem of Eritrea
- Abilities: Can survive changes in body temperature that would kill other mammals
- Biology: A Camel’s Temperature Varies by 7 Degrees from Day to Night
- Wildlife: Camels Can Drink Huge Amounts of Water in One Sitting
- Wildlife: Camels Do Not Spit
- Biology: Camels Nostrils Help to Protect them from the Elements
- Biology: Camels Coats Protect them from Heat
- Wildlife: A Full Grown Adult Camel Can Stand at 7.1 Feet Tall
- History: The Name Camel Comes from Latin and Greek
- History: A Camel Cartoon Character Once Caused Controversy
- Wildlife: Camels Still Replace Wheels in North Africa
- Biology: Camel Humps Do Not Contain Water
- Camel urine and faeces show how well Camels conserve water
- Beware! A Camel will be sick on you if you provoke it
- Camels are ruminants just like cows and goats
- Camels have split lips
- Camels are the only mammals with oval shaped red blood cells
A Camel’s Temperature Varies by 7 Degrees from Day to Night
The first in our series on brilliant camel facts shows us a little about the body temperature of this animal. During the night, its temperature will be around 93.2 Fahrenheit. In daytime, however, this increases to 105 Fahrenheit. A camel will only begin to sweat once it reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
Camels Can Drink Huge Amounts of Water in One Sitting
Humans might feel full after drinking a single glass of water or juice, but camels can drink phenomenal amounts of water in one go. It is estimated that they can ingest up to 40 gallons of water at a time. To put this into some kind of context, that’s equivalent to 640 cups of tea of coffee!
Camels Do Not Spit
The third of our brilliant camel facts tells us about a common misconception regarding the animal. Many people think that camels spit, but they don’t, in fact – at least hardly ever. The only time they would ever do this is if they were provoked.
When they do, it isn’t actually saliva that comes out, but is more often than not simply the lining of the inside of their mouths which protrudes. They also use this as a mating call.
Camels’ Nostrils Help to Protect them from the Elements
A camel’s nostrils can “shut off” against the elements for protection. If they are being bothered by the wind or by sand, they simply close them off. Their nostrils are also shaped in such a way that they can inhale water vapour and return it to the body to store as fluid.
Camels’ Coats Protect them from Heat
We often look at the coat of a camel and think it looks perhaps a bit shabby or unkempt. Their coats are like they are for a reason. They need to be insulated from both the desert heat and also from sunlight – having such a thick matted coat helps them with this.
A Full Grown Adult Camel Can Stand at 7.1 Feet Tall
At its maximum height, measured from the ground to its hump, a full grown adult can be as tall as 7.1 feet. From their shoulders to the ground, camels measure around 6 feet in height. Despite their height they can run at very high speeds. It is estimated that they can run at up to 40 miles per hour in short bursts, but on average can hit speeds of 25 miles per hour.
The Name Camel Comes from Latin and Greek
The next in our interesting camel facts list explains how the animal got its name. The word camel derives from Greek and Latin – in Greek kamelos, and in Latin camelus. This in itself derives from the Hebrew word gamal, which translates into English as to stop, to go without or to wean.
This refers back to the animal’s ability to go for long periods without food or water – making it an ideal service animal to use for working purposes and transportation, as we’ll see later on.
A Camel Cartoon Character Once Caused Controversy
The next in our series of camel facts tells us a little about how a cartoon camel caused controversy some 20 years ago. Cigarette brand Camel decided, to celebrate their 75th anniversary, that they would use a cartoon camel to help with their marketing campaign.
They called him Joe, and he was based on Old Joe who had been on all previous packages of Camel Cigarettes since 1913. However, it caused trouble when the Journal of American Medical Association published a study that showed children as young as 6 could identify Joe Camel as readily as they could Mickey Mouse.
This led to fears it could lead to young children wanting to try smoking, so Joe was pulled from the market in 1997.
Camels Still Replace Wheels in North Africa
North Africa is one of the few places in the world in which you will find an animal still replaces the wheel, when we talk about matters relating to transport. Camels are still used on transportation routes between Djibouti and Timbuktu to carry huge blocks of salt, and are seen as much more efficient than other ways of moving goods from one place to another. Vacationing tourists will still ride on them when they visit the Pyramids or go on safari, but they do have a proper place as working animals.
Camel Humps Do Not Contain Water
The next of our fascinating camel facts dispels a popular myth about them. Many people think that camel humps contain water, and that this is why they don’t get dehydrated. However, this isn’t actually true. Their humps are made up of fat – in fact, one hump can contain as much as 80 pounds of the stuff. This means that, if necessary, a camel could go without food for up to 2 weeks.
Camel Urine and Faeces Show How Well Camels Conserve Water
If you’re ever curious enough to examine camel urine or faeces, you’ll see that the former doesn’t contain any water at all (in fact, it looks like a pasty syrup when it’s expelled), and the latter is so dry that it can be used by Bedouins on their fires, for fuel, without any treatment. Both these slightly gross facts demonstrate how well the camel can conserve water in its body.
Beware! A Camel will be Sick on You if You Provoke it
Don’t ever anger a camel! If it feels it is being threatened or is made angry in any way, it will throw up on you. It tends to vomit a foul green substance from its stomach, and it does this to defend itself. People who have reported it happening to them say that it feels like it will never end once it starts!
Camels are Ruminants Just like Cows and Goats
Ruminant animals are a kind of animal that is able to take in nutrients from plant foods, such as grass, by fermenting it in a special stomach prior to moving it through to a second stomach for proper digestion. They will typically regurgitate what they’ve eaten, chew it again, and then the process continues. This regurgitation is called cud, and the second chewing is called rumination.
Camels Have Split Lips
The penultimate of our camel facts is all about the lips of the camel. Their lips appear to be split, and this is so that they can graze and forage without hurting their mouths. Having split lips also means that they can eat things like twigs and thorns without harming themselves.
Camels Are the Only Mammals with Oval Shaped Red Blood Cells
The last in our series of fascinating camel facts tells us a little about their blood cells. One of the main reasons camels can go so long without water is the fact that their red blood cells are shaped differently to those of all other animals (and humans). Their red blood cells are oval in shape, meaning that they will continue to flow when they’re dehydrated rather than clumping together, as they would if they were circular like ours are.
Camel Facts – Facts about Camels Summary
Fascinating facts about camels tell us that this very special animal can be up to 7 feet in height when fully grown, that it can ingest huge amounts of water in one sitting, and that, contrary to what we’ve been led to believe, the humps of the animal don’t contain any water at all – it’s all fat. You can look at a camel’s bodily fluids to see how well it conserves water in its body – but don’t ever anger one, it will be sick on you!