Dromedary Camel Facts!

Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Silverton, NSW. Taken by John O'Neill GFDL

Dromedary Camel Facts!

Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Silverton, NSW. Taken by John O’Neill GFDL

The dromedary camel is the one with only one hump (where the bactrian has two). But, did you know that the dromedary actually does have two humps? There is an underdeveloped hump over its shoulders, in front of the big, obvious one that makes the dromedary so recognizable. Like all camels, the hump of the dromedary is composed of fat bound by fibrous tissue.

Image credit: Simon Donini cc2.0


Dromedaries were domesticated as far back as 4000 years ago, for the transport of people and goods, for their very nutritious milk and also for their meat, which some say tastes almost like beef. Dromedaries have been so thoroughly domesticated, in fact, that the wild population entirely disappeared about 2000 years ago. Though there are herds living in the wild today, these animals are actually feral (domesticated animals that have escaped and returned to the wild).

Image credit: Giåm cc2.0

Due to the many adaptations that enable it to survive in its harsh, arid habitat, the dromedary has been called the “the ship of the desert”. Most of the moisture it needs for survival is obtained from the vegetation it eats, which includes a wide range of desert plants, even ones that other animals can’t eat, like thorny plants. Also, even if it loses more than 40% percent of its body weight in water, it can still survive in the desert — it has been known to travel up to 100 miles (161 kilometers) without water, and it rarely sweats, even in temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius). When water is available, the dromedary will drink as much as 30 gallons (135 liters) in only 13 minutes, even brackish, or salty, water.

Image credit: Izzard cc2.0

The dromedary also has excellent ways to deal with the heat. Its body doesn’t start to heat up until its internal temperature gets down to 92 degrees Fahrenheit (34 Celsius), which, in addition to saving energy, allows the camel to “store” coolness for the coming day. Also, on hot days, groups of dromedaries will rest packed closely together, considerably reducing the heat reflecting off the ground.

Dromedary Camels are featured in the following books:
25 Desert Animals
101 Facts… Desert Animals

The YouTube video playlist below contains a video about Dromedary Camels. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. The Amazing Dromedary Camel by camelsandfriends
  2. Camels eating cactus by camelsandfriends
  3. Wild dromedaries in the desert by Marepat
  4. Bindi & Robert Irwin feature – Camels (Delilah) – Growing Up Wild by ThePetCollective



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