What Do Camels Eat?
Posted In: Mammals.
There are basically two types of camels, one with two humps, which is known as the bactrian camel and another with a single hump, which is called the dromedary camel. Dromedaries are widely known as Arabic camels, and they live all over the deserts of Northern Africa and West Asia. There are also a large number of wild dromedaries that live in Central Australia.
Dromedary camel (single hump) and Bactrian camel (two humps).
Camels are very useful
Few animals can be considered more useful to humans than dromedaries and camels. They can endure up to three weeks without water and are able to carry heavy loads. When they refill however, in case they are very thirsty, they are able to drink 120 liters of water in just 10 minutes. These magnificent animals are suited for life in hard conditions, such as the arid sands of the desert. It is essential to be able to differentiate the two animals, as many people confuse them.
The real facts
A dromedary has one hump, short hair and longer limbs. This camel originally comes from Arabia, but it also inhabits the Sahara, in Africa. Many people think that their humps contain water, in truth their hump can store up to 35 kg or 80 pounds of fat that the camel can convert into water whenever food is scarce. A Bactrian camel on the other hand, has shorter limbs and it lives in Bactria and the Gobi desert. The two humps protect its back from heat loss during the harsh central Asian winter, while its long hair protects it from the cold.
Camels are herbivores
Since camels are herbivores, they can eat almost every variety of food. They can eat grass and several types of grain, such as wheat and oats. When they are in the desert, where food can be quite limited, they may eat almost anything they find, that includes dried leaves and different types of seeds. Due to their large, kissable lips and large tongue, they can eat dry and thorny vegetation available in the desert. They can drink salty water and consume food with high salt content. They do not chew their food well when they eat.
A camel’s stomach
Their stomach contains three sections, one of them contains the poorly chewed food, this food is returned to the mouth and chewed. This food goes to the other part of the stomach where it will eventually be digested.
Water for camels
The water amount a camel drinks can vary with the weather and the season. They need less water in winter, since the food they consume contains more water than the food they eat in summer. They don’t sweat, keeping all the moisture in their bodies. On extremely hot days, they manage to keep cool by resting instead of drinking. They usually rest in shady places, exposing very little of their bodies to the sun.
Camels are amazing!
These remarkable animals can survive the toughest climate conditions, and have been the most useful to people for many centuries, by being a means of transport and nutrition source.
More on Camels: Facts about camels.