Dromedary Camel Dromedary Camel
Dromedary Camel

Scientific Classification

Common Name
dromedary camel
Genus Species
Camelus (camel) dromedarius (running) 

Fast Facts

Woolly coat, caramel in color that often looks shaggy from seasonal shedding. Both sexes have a single hump on the back.
Male: Males are considerably larger than females and have an inflatable soft palate which they use to attract females. (It looks like a frog's throat when inflated.)
Shoulder Height: 1.8 to 2.3 m (5.8 to 7.5 ft.)Body length: 3 m (10 ft.)
300 to 690 kg (661 to 1,521 lbs.)
Desert vegetation
12 to 14 months; weaned at 1 to 2 years
Sexual Maturity
Male: at 5 years
Female: at 3 to 4 years
Life Span
Around 40 years
The Dromedary Camel can be found in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and India; introduced to Australia and Namibia
Arid and semi-arid regions
Global: 15 million; largest populations are in Somalia (7 million) and Sudan (4 million); Ethiopia and Kenya also have substantial population.
IUCN: Least concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. The dromedary camel is capable of drinking 100 L (30 gal.) of water in just 10 minutes.
  2. Dromedary Camels can tolerate water loss equal to over 30% of their body weight.
  3. Camels store fat in the hump, not water. They are born without a hump because the layer of fat does not develop until they eat solid food.
  4. Dromedary Camels may browse for 6 to 8 hours every day.
  5. Unlike most mammals, a healthy camel's body temperature fluctuates throughout the day from 34°C to 41.7°C (93°F to 107°F.) This fluctuation is important because it allows the camel to conserve water by not sweating as the environmental temperature rises.
  6. The dromedary camel is no longer considered a wild animal. In Africa and Arabia it is a semi-domesticated animal that free ranges but is under the control of herders.
  7. Dromedary Camels may be occasionally preyed upon by wolves. 

Ecology and Conservation

The Dromedary Camel has adopted an adaptive feeding strategy to help it survive in the desert. This species only selects a few leaves from each plant. These camels are also capable of eating parts of the plant that other species avoid, such as the thorns of the acacia tree. Foraging herds of camels will disperse widely so that they do not overexploit the vegetation in one area. This selective feeding strategy reduces the stress on the vegetation and reduces competition between camels and other herbivores.

The Dromedary Camel is no longer considered a wild animal. In Africa and Arabia, it is a semi-domesticated animal that free ranges but is under the control of herders.


Al-Saihati, Abdul-Wahed A. "The Ship of the Desert." Zooculturist, Vol. 5 No. 3, Winter 1992.

Katz, D. "Keeping Camels Down on the Farm", Science, September 1982, pp. 79-80.

Kingdom, J. East African Mammals: Large Mammals. Vol. IIIB. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. pp. 280-293.

Nowak, R.M. (ed.). Walker's Mammals of the World. Vol. II. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Parker, S.P. (ed.) Grzimek's Encyclopedia: Mammals. Vol. 5. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989. pp. 82-95.

Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut. Desert Animals, Physiological Problems of Heat and Water. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1979.

San Diego Zoo Global – Dromedary Camel Species Profile. http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/camel/camel_summary.htm/. Downloaded 12 October 2018.