Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus

Today camels are essentially domestic animals. There are however some wild specimens in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Wild camels live in herds of 6 to 30 animals. The herd is led by a dominant male followed by its females and young.

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Camel or dromedary, more than an extra hump

Camels have two humps and dromedaries have one: but that's not the only difference. The camel is smaller, less muscular and stockier than its cousin. It also doesn't run as fast, a maximum of 20 km/h. The two species have a major point in common: they are the only mammals with oval, not round, red blood cells. This shape may facilitate circulation of blood that thickens during dehydration.

Key figures

  • Height: between 1.80 m and 2.30 m
  • Weight: 600 to 800 kg
  • It can withstand temperatures of up to 50°C in summer and -25°C in winter.
  • It can drink 120 litres in 10 minutes.
  • Life expectancy: 50 years
  • Gestation period: 12 to 14 months

Linking humans and animals

A dream companion in the desert

Its hearty resistance to difficult climatic conditions makes it precious for the transportation of men and merchandise in a camel caravan. It can travel 60 km per day. When it loses a quarter of its weight through perspiration, only 1/10th of the water in its blood evaporates. A camel can therefore stay in the sun 8 days without drinking and lose 100 kg but not die.