The dromedary is an indispensable animal for inhabitants of the deserts.
dromedary, camel, caravan, desert, even-toed ungulate, ruminant, animal, vertebrates, herbivore, biology
- height: approx. 1.8–2.1 m (5.9–6.9 ft)
- body length: 250–350 cm (98–238 in)
- tail length: 50 cm (20 in)
- body mass: 300–700 kg (661–1,543 lb)
- - It can store up to 30 kg (66 lb) of fat.
- fine, wooly hair
Since dromedaries, or Arabian camels have adapted to extreme environment and water scarcity, they are esteemed and indispensable animals for inhabitants of the deserts. Nowadays, they are domesticated but they used to live in the wild. Nevertheless, they can be found in feral populations in Australia. Dromedaries have a unique movement because they move both feet on the same side at the same time, thus swinging from side to side.
The dromedary's back is covered with thick, soft, dark brown hair, protecting the animal from the blazing sunshine. The other parts of its body are essentially hairless, which helps in giving off heat. The hump on its back stores fat which can be used as food if needed.
Since it has thick eyelashes and its nostrils can be closed, sand and dust cannot enter its eyes and respiratory system during a sandstorm. Its toes are made up of wide-spreading, leathery pads, which prevent the dromedary from sinking too much into the sand.
Dromedaries are herbivores. They eat thorny plants, grasses with sharp blades and half-dry branches. Their tongue and lips are thick, therefore they do not suffer bruises from eating such food. They can survive several days without water. If needed, they are capable of breaking down the fat stored in their hump into food and water.
Camel caravans still travel through deserts, and at stops people carry many buckets of water for the dromedaries. If they are thirsty, they can drink up to 135 liters (35.7 gallons) of water under 10 minutes. Moreover, they are good at managing the amount of water they take into their body. They can travel about 30–40 km (19–25 mi) a day carrying heavy loads.
Dromedaries live in families that comprise a bull, cows and their calves. In general, they are calm but the male becomes aggressive during the mating season, and at that time it can pose a threat to humans as well. Dromedaries live for about 40 years.
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