There always seems to be confusion and misinformation concerning camels.
Here at Camel Life, Inc. we are camel experts and we are pretty sure we have the accurate answers to the crazy questions we hear from people about camels.
First, be advised that there are two basic types of camels, there are many sub-breeds, cross-breeds, and relatives. Here are some facts:
The two basic camel breeds are Bactrian and Dromedary.
A Bactrian camel is more rare that a dromedary. Bactrian camels have two humps (neither of which store water, by the way) and they are known as "Asian" or "Mongolian" or "Cold Weather" camels. Bactrian camels are critically endangered and sources say there less than 1,000 of them left in the wild, the rest of them are kept in zoo's and farms and continue to breed in very small numbers in captivity.
A Dromedary camel is the breed that we see more often. It's commonly known as an "Arabian" camel, or "Middle Eastern" camel. You won't see a Bactrian camel roaming around in the Middle East, or in Africa, or in Australia.....but you'll see plenty of Dromedary camels there. One hump (dromedary) camels are the type that we own at Camel Life. We also get the camel milk we use in our products from worlds largest camel dairy, which happens to be in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. We have more than 5,000 camels at the farm in Dubai.
There are rumored to be less than 3,000 dromedary camels in the USA, with more than two thirds of them fenced in by zoo's, traveling petting zoos, small family farms, and small 'camel farms'. There is nowhere to go in the USA to visit 100 dromedary camels....nobody has that many. Several (like less than 50) small farm operators in the USA raise camels and even fewer (like 20) of them are successfully breeding and milking camels.
Less than 200 gallons of camel milk is produced monthly in America.
Okay so here are some fun facts about camels:
Their cousins are Alpaca's and Llamas.
Contrary to popular misconception, camels don't store water in their humps. The humps are actually reservoirs for fatty tissue. Concentrating fat in their humps minimizes insulation throughout the rest of the body, thus allowing camels to survive in such extreme hot regions.
Camels have two rows of thick eyelashes to protect their eyes from the desert dust. They are also able to close their nostrils and lips to keep out the dust.
Camels’ ears are small and hairy. However their sense of hearing is also extremely strong.
The amount of water a camel drinks on a day-to-day basis can vary greatly, as they drink to replace only the fluid they’ve lost. A thirsty camel can drink about 40 gallons in 5 minutes.
In Arab cultures the camel symbolizes patience, tolerance and endurance.
Camels have played such an important role in Arabian culture that there are over 160 words for ‘camel’ in the Arabic language.
Camels can carry 600+ pounds on their backs (more than horses and donkeys). The only mammal that can carry more weight is an elephant....but a camel can run with that weight on its back....for 20 hours without stopping....not even to eat or drink. If an elephant doesn't drink at least 20 gallons of water daily, it will die.
Camels can actually live for months without eating food.
Camels can run at speeds of 40 miles per hour. The fastest speed clocked for a race horse was about 44 miles per hour, but a horse can't run at that speed for more than a half mile or so....a camel can run full speed all day long.
Camels mature sexually at about 5 years of age and live as long as 50 years.
Baby camels typically have a strong bond with their mothers that can last many years.
A mother camel will not produce milk unless her baby is at her side.
Camels can make great pets.....we know that fact for sure.
The owners of Camel Life, Inc. rescued a two month old baby boy camel in 2015 from an abusive petting zoo and named him Sheik. Sheik was bottle fed for 7 months and is the mascot for the Camel Life brand!