MCX’s Top Ten Camel Facts
“It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to make a blues record” - Hugh Laurie
We love a camel here at MCX, many of our desert expeditions would not have been possible without the noble and charismatic dromerdary. Indeed, if you join us on one of our desert expeditions you’ll have the chance to see how the bedouin and these amazing creatures work together to live in one of the harshest environments in the world.
It is well documented and known that camels can survive for extended periods in deserts without food or water. They carry great loads and also alert their owners to the presence of snakes at night. Aside from these awesome survival properties though, there are many other interesting facts to discover about these wonderful animals. So, how do camels adapt to desert conditions?
Here are MCX’s Top 10 lesser known camel facts…
Top Camel Fact #1: One hump or two?
What most people consider to be camels are actually called dromedaries. Camels, which are also known as ‘Bactrian Camels’, actually have two humps and are mostly found in the Gobi.
Top Camel Fact #2: American Camels?
Dromedaries originated in North America around 3 to 5 million years ago and were wiped out by human migration into the continent.
Top Camel Fact #3: We are family
Dromedaries are part of the Camelidae family which includes Llamas, Guanacos, Giraffes, and Bactrian Camels of course.
Top Camel Fact #4: Pyramid no-show
Despite how closely we associate the Pyramids with camels you will never see dromedaries represented in hieroglyphs in Giza. They were only introduced to Egypt in 640 AD in the wake of the Arab expansion, along with Islam.
Top Camel Fact #5: The 11th Commandment
Dromedaries were domesticated around the time of Moses circa 3,000 years ago in the Arabian peninsular and, according to some, Somalia.
Top Camel Fact #6: In the eye of a storm
Camels possess a third, transparent eyelid which protects their eyes during sandstorms, but still allows them to see.
Top Camel Fact #7: Dressed for the cold
Camels bodies are covered in a surprisingly thick layer of fur the purpose of which is not as you’d expect. It is not designed to keep them warm – quite the opposite as it actually keeps them cooler by insulating them from the reflected heat of the sand.
Top Camel Fact #8: Blood is thicker when there’s less water
Dromedaries have oval rather than round blood cells. During periods of dehydration when their blood is more viscous, this oval shape helps the blood to flow evenly around their bodies.
Top Camel Fact #9: Ready for the weigh-in
Camels can lose up to 25% of their body weight through sweating.
Top Camel Fact #10: Changing temperatures
The body temperature of a dromedary fluctuates throughout the day, starting at 34ºC at dawn and reaching up to 40ºC by the end of the day. Thankfully they have the opportunity to cool off during the night!