Most people will know the fact that camels can drink nearly 32 gallons of water in just 15 minutes, but the hump on their back does not hold that water. Instead, camels store fat in their humps, this allows them to travel to the desert for days without food. Camels can live a week without drinking water and months without eating food.
An adult camel hump can store nearly up to 80 pounds of fat. When the camels tap into the stored nutritional fat, the hump size decreases, and it slumps to the side. They become upright once again after the camel eats food and sleeps. The dromedary camels have one hump, and the Bactrian camels have two humps.
According to Lund University in Sweden, the reason why camels store fat in their back hump and not throughout the body is that the humps protect animals for solar radiation and are also used for insulation. Fats conduct heat more slowly as compared to water. Dromedary camels have thick fur on their backs, which protects them from the sun’s heat, while the fur is thinner on other body parts, this allows heat to escape.
When camels are dehydrated, they drink a lot of water, but they do not store water to use later on. Camel’s bodies are built to conserve liquid. They don’t urinate frequently, and also their urine is very concentrated.
Camels also have the unique ability to function with body temperatures over 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and they don’t sweat like other animals. The latter lower their body temperature by using water from their bodies. Camels’ bodies cool down at night when temperature also drops. The desert animals aren’t impervious to the heat, but they can lose nearly 30-40 percent of body weight in water and still ward off dehydration successfully. Additionally, the camel uses the air that it exhales and inhales to create water vapor.
Try to avoid getting spit by a camel. Their spit is a mix of contents of their stomachs and saliva basically, vomit. Camel spits when they are threatened, and another sign of spitting is their puffy cheeks, whenever you see them get out of the way! Camels also have mighty breaths because they disgorge their food in similar ways as cows.
Camels also have other unusual abilities. Their long eyelashes and inner eyelids protect their peepers from desert sand. They can also close their nostrils to stop sand from entering their body.
Camels are also known as vocal animals because they make lots of noise. They also make various gestures using their heads, ears, necks, and tails to communicate with the people. Camels greet by blowing into each other’s faces, and baby camels are born without humps.
Camels with two humps are critically endangered. One such camel is Zehra, born at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio in the year 2018 and was the first two-hump camel to be born in captivity in recent times. Bactrian camel species are mostly found in central and East Asia, and it’s reported that there are only 1000 Bactrian camels.