Dromedary Camel

Dromedary Camel



COMMON NAME: dromedary camel
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Artiodactyla
FAMILY: Bovidae
GENUS SPECIES: Camelus (camel) dromedarius (running) 


DESCRIPTION: 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.)
SIZE: 1.8-2.3 m (5.8-7.5 ft.) tall at shoulder
WEIGHT: 300-690 kg (661-1521 lb.)
DIET: Almost any vegetation they can find
GESTATION: 12-13 months
MALE At 5 years
FEMALE At 3-4 years
LIFE SPAN: 40-50 years
RANGE: Middle East and northern Africa; introduced to Australia and Namibia
HABITAT: Arid regions
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. The dromedary camel is capable of drinking 100 L (30 gal.) of water in just 10 minutes.
2. Camels store fat in the hump, not water! In fact baby camels are born without a hump because the layer of fat does not develop until they eat solid food.
3. Unlike most mammals, a healthy camel's body temperature fluctuates throughout the day from 34°C-41.7°C (93°F-107°F.) This fluctuation is important because it allows the camel to conserve water by not sweating as the environmental temperature rises.
4. 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.


One of the reasons a camel is well adapted to live in the desert is because of its feeding behavior. It selects only a few leaves from each plant. A camel is also capable of eating parts of the foliage that other species do not, such as the thorns of the acacia tree. Foraging herds of camels will spread over a large area so that they do not eat all of the vegetation. These selective styles of feeding reduce the stress on the plant life and avoids competition between camels and other arid region herbivores.


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.