If you’ve met a camel before, you may have noticed the intensity of their stare. But what do you see when you get in a little closer?
You may first notice the intricate and beautiful design of their pupils; almost like a flower in bloom. It’s perfectly decorated by two rows of eyelashes both on the top and bottom eyelids that not only leave one feeling rather envious of their luscious curly lashes, but also protects their eyes from sand and dirt.
One of their most impressive features is that of their three eyelids, one of which is a translucent layer that acts as a nictitating membrane, covering the eye completely but still allowing them to see as they navigate the harsh conditions and sand storms of the desert.
Of course, you can’t miss their gorgeous bushy brows, that allows them to be rather expressive. It’s hard to resist a camel who raises its eyebrows and widens its eyes in anticipation when it sees you coming with a sweet treat.
Next time you’re with a camel, be sure to sit with them and look into their eyes. It’s a beautiful way to connect and you’re sure to be fascinated!
Have you looked into a camel’s mouth?
Camels have really thick big lips. Their top lip is split in two so that they can graze and eat their food more effectively. They can eat the thorniest plants without injuring their tough lips.
The camel has a large mouth and 34 strong, sharp teeth. It can use the teeth as weapons. A working camel cannot wear a bit and bridle, as a horse does, because its mouth must be free to chew cud (regurgitated food). Instead, a rope for leading the animal is attached to a nose peg, that’s inserted into a hole near the camel’s nose, like a nose piercing.
What do camels eat?
Camels are browsers, with a split upper lip well suited to this purpose and a long neck to reach up into trees. They are normally selective feeders and eat the freshest vegetation available.
Camels are mobile feeders and frequent remote salt lakes where plants high in electrolyte and moisture are present. (Calandrina sp, Portucla sp.). Domestic or yard fed camels need a diet high in bulk. They are quite adaptable to the gradual introduction of supplementary and pelletized food to their diets. In the wild, or feral state they search for plants high in salts. In a yarded situation like at Pyndan Camel Tracks, the camels are fed a salt lick.
In a study carried out by Doerges and Heuckes, on Newhaven station, they observed the wild camels ate 81.5% of the available plant species. Grasses are eaten primarily after rain, and before herbs and forbs are available. At times when the moisture content is high camels can exist for several months without drinking water. They do however perish in drought, where there is no surface water and the moisture content of plants is low.
What is in a camel’s hump?
Most kinds of animals store fat in their bodies, but only camels keep most of their fat in a hump. If food is hard to find, the fat in the hump provides energy for the animal. If a camel is starving, its hump shrinks. The hump may even slip off the animal’s back and hang down on its side. After the camel has had a few weeks’ rest and food, its hump becomes firm and plump again. The hump is not a storage place for water, as many people believe.
The hump of a camel is mostly a lump of fat. Bands of strong tissue hold pads of fat together, forming the hump above the backbone. The hump of a healthy, well-fed camel may weigh 35 kilograms or more.
Some of the above information was condensed from a report, STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT, prepared by the Camel Industry Steering Committee for the Northern Territory Government. 1993.
How many toes?
Camels have two toes on each foot. A hoof that looks like a toenail grows at the front of each toe. Cows, horses, and many other animals walk on their hoofs. But a camel walks on a broad pad that connects its two long toes. This cushion like pad spreads when the camel places its foot on the ground. The pad supports the animal on loose sand in much the same way that a snowshoe helps a person walk on snow. The camel’s cushioned feet make almost no sound when the animal walks or runs.
How many eyelids does a camel have?
Camels have 3 sets of eyelids. Yes, 3! And one is like a windscreen washer!
A camel has large eyes on the sides of its head. Each eye is protected by 2 rows of long, curly eyelashes that keep out sand. In the daytime, when the sun is high, the eyes do not allow excessive light in. Glands supply the eyes with a great deal of water to keep them moist. Thick eyebrows shield the eyes from the desert sun.
Where are a camel’s ears?
The camel’s small, rounded ears are located far back on its head. The ears are covered with hair, even on the inside. The hair helps keep out sand or dust that might blow into the animal’s ears. A camel can hear well.
How tall and heavy are camels?
We have dromedary or one humped camels in Australia, imported from Afghanistan, India and Pakistan between 1860 and 1930. A dromedary camel stands from 1.8 to just over 2 metres tall at the shoulders, and weighs from 250 to 680 kilograms. Its rope like tail is over 50 centimetres long. Camels seem larger than they are because of their thick wool in wintertime, which may be all shades of brown, from nearly white to almost black. It may grow about 25 centimetres long on the animal’s head, neck, and humps.
Does a camel have fur or wool?
Our camels have wool that they loose in early summer and grow a new coat before the next winter. As the camel wool begins to molt, our camels look very messy, usually during December. Once the molting wool is removed naturally, or by the camel rubbing itself on a tree, or by us combing its wool off, our camels look sleek and slender for about a month. Then the wool begins to grow ready for the cold times ahead.
What is that big thing on a camel’s chest?
Camels have callus like bare spots on their chests and on their leg joints. These spots look as though the hair has been rubbed off, but they are natural and not signs of wear. Even young camels have them although they are not born with the callus. Thick, leathery skin grows there and becomes tough when the animal is about five months old.