enjoying-nature

Have you ever seen a Camel riding in a truck?

February 16, 2014 Julia Heckathorn

This week, i found myself in the beautiful middle eastern country of Oman. During my visit, I was lucky enough to come across something i've never imagined myself experiencing in the wild…camels! As we rode along the perfectly paved streets in the middle of nowhere, with streetlights lining the way, and as we wound around the mountains, past the warm blue seas, we were often slowed by the passing of packs of camels. 

Finally, we arrived at a Wadi, or a river valley of greenery and fresh water for the camels, cows, and donkeys to drink and eat from. There, I was able to walk among the animals, and sit with them as we watched each other in awe... an experience i will never forget. 

   

Not all of the camels are wild, however. You will often find packs of camels belonging to individuals who will use them for their transportation, milk, or meat. Here is a little bit of proof…a cute little camel riding in the back of a truck =)

After every crazy experience like this, I am always so excited to research a little bit more. So here are some fun facts about camels!

*When a camel feels threatened, it will spit in your face. But in actuality, this spit is...vomit. So if you get close to a camel and see it's cheeks welling up, you may want to back away.

*Dromedary camels have one hump while Bactrian camels have two humps. How do you remember which camel is which? Turn the D and the B on their sides. D= 1 hump. B= 2 Humps. 

*Contrary to popular belief, Camels do not store water in their humps. Instead, they store fat deposits from the food that they have eaten. This allows a camel to go a long time without any food. So when the humps begin to get smaller and droop over, it's time for more food!

*Camels have a thin clear eyelid as well as long eyelashes to keep the dust out of their eyes. I was interested in this after experiencing a number of small dust storms while walking amongst the animals in the Wadi. As the dust picked up and i shielded my face, I could see out of the corner of my eyes, the camels, who didn't even wince. 

Of course, there are a number of interesting facts about camels, so if you feel moved to find out more, let me know any additional facts that you find interesting!



1 comment

  • Kristine Bougie

    Feb 23, 2014

    A tidbit of history from loooooong ago about camels…or rather, their ancestors…

    Do you know where their ancestors came from? And, to whom the camels are related in the animal kingdom?

    Maybe I should tell you their relatives’ names first. They are the South American Camelids. Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos and Vicunas. None of them have a hump or two, and their sizes vary enormously from the large and tall Llamas to the very petite Vicunas. But all are kissing cousins to Dromedary and Bactrian Camels.

    Given the geography of where the South American Camelids currently originate (other than those that have been exported and their progeny), and where the Dromedary and Bactrian Camels live, (unless they have been shipped someplace else on our planet), how could they be related?

    The answer is one you probably wouldn’t just guess without some pretty good guessing luck! Both originated in the plains of North America! The fossilized remains of their predecessor, the Poebrotherium, who lived (don’t quote me on dates!) something like 30 million years ago and survived for about 7 million years, are found in the Badlands area of South Dakota in the United States!

    And, how did the South American Camelids develop into Llamas, Alpacas, Guanacos and Vicunas? They traveled south from the Plains States down the Panama Isthmus an extremely long time before the Panama Canal was dug, that’s for sure. And the fellows who became Dromedary and Bactrian Camels? They traveled west and north to Alaska and crossed into Asia via the Bering Land Bridge, which of course no longer exists.

    what do you think the very first use of camels by humans was? Goofy as it may sound, they became one of the first forms of transportation. It was discovered that the camels could cover great distances without difficulty while carrying loads of goods, making it far easier for people to move heavy loads. Naturally. Must be a guy thing, because they looked at what a camel could do and the light bulb came on: “Aha! Truck!”

    So of course the second light bulb to come on—again, must be a guy thing—was “MY truck is faster than YOUR truck!” and voila! Camel races were born. Camels are raced to this day, not on a round track like cars or horses, but on very long, straight tracks with individual lanes for each racing camel. People drive along next to the camels, keeping pace and cheering their own favorites on to victory.

    Sorry I got carried away, but you did ask to hear any additional facts that we find interesting. I only know about Camels because I know about Alpacas. I love them, I draw them, my son has them. I did a presentation once about Alpacas which included some history of South American Camelids, and no discussion of them would be complete without reference to their close relatives, the Camels.

    Thank you for your wonderful Hidden Clover/Boomeroo Facebook page. I raised an orphaned Alpaca in my house, so I know the delights and dangers of having livestock/outdoor animals IN the house. Mrs. Butterworth (my baby) still considers me Mama, and at almost 200#, she can be a challenge…but a very dear one. Thanks again for your contribution to our precious animal kingdom.

    Kristine


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published