|The dromedary camel has lived in the deserts of
western Asia thousands of years. Its single hump contains a reserve of fat,
not water. The dromedary camel has been domesticated for so long that there
are no records of its life as a wild animal. Perfectly adapted for the hot,
dry climate of the desert, it plays a vital role in the life of the nomads.
Characteristics: The dromedary camel is well adapted to cope with the extreme climate and harsh terrain of the desert. Its adaptations include hairy ears and heavy eyebrows with long eyelashes that protect the ears and eyes from the sun and blowing sand. Dromedaries in the Sahara can go through the entire winter without taking a drink. This is because the camel loses very little water in its feces and urine. It can tolerate a lot of water loss and does not sweat until its body temperature becomes very high.
Food & Feeding: The dromedary camel ruminates (chews food again after swallowing it). It eats almost any vegetation in the desert, including the thorny twigs and salty plants that other desert dwellers cannot tolerate. Domesticated dromedaries are fed dates, grains, and grasses. When food is scarce, the camels will even eat fish and the flesh of other animals. When food is plentiful, the camel overeats and stores the excess as fat in its hump. The hump then shrinks and may even flop to one side. The camels long legs and large feet make it ideal for traveling across the soft sands of the desert.
Breeding: The female dromedary comes into heat (becomes ready to mate) several times a year. This gives her a better chance of giving birth during the unpredictable birth during the unpredictable rainy season, when there i plenty of vegetation for her young. The male camel becomes aggressive during mating season. He also performs a noisy breeding display to attract females.
The female stands as she gives birth to a single calf (young). It is both with its eyes open and is covered in a soft, woolly fleece. Within two to three hours the calf can walk. By the end of its fist day, it moves about quickly and freely. The young suckles for at least a year. It remains dependent on its mother until it is four years old.
Dromedary Camel & Man: The dromedary camel has been important to people in the deserts of western Asia and North Africa. For thousands of years the camel has pulled plows in fields, turned water wheels to irrigate crops, and provided transportation for people and goods. The camel is also a source for food, clothing , and shelter. Its flesh is edible, and the females provide milk for drinking and making into cheese. The camel's woolly fleece is woven into clothes, blankets, and tents, and its hide is cured to make leather.
Did you know:
Related Species: There are 2 genera
in the family Camelidae, both of which have 2 species. The only other species
of camel is the two humped Bactrain, Camelus bactrianus.
Features of the Dromedary Camel:
Bactrian Camel has two humps, while the dromedary has only one. The bactrian also has a longer, thicker coat all over its body to cope with its cooler habitat.
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