There are two species of camels, the Dromedary has a single hump, and the Bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries, the species of camel we have here at Australia Zoo, are a domestic animal used in dry desert areas. While the Dromedary Camel's ancestors were native to west Asia, today the only wild camels are feral, having escaped or been released back into the wild, right here in Australia.
Camels typically graze on shrubs, leaves and grasses. They will tackle thorny bushes, saltbushes and other plants which most animals can't eat.
The breeding season for camels depends on the availability of food and the climate so the season will vary depending on where in the world the camel lives.
A female camel, called a cow, is pregnant for just over one year. In the wild, camels will usually only have one baby every two years.
How big can I get?
The average life expectancy of a camel is 40 to 50 years of age. A full grown camel can get to about 1.85 metres tall at the shoulder and 2.15 metres if you measure to the hump. The hump normally rises about 76cm out of the body.
Camels are super cool. They are observant and have really good memories so they can be taught easily.
The camel’s hump actually stores fat, not water as commonly believed. The fat in their hump is a source of energy, but also minimises heat trapping in the rest of their body, which helps them to keep cool.
Camels can also withstand long periods without water. Their red blood cells are oval shaped, unlike other mammals which have circular red bloods cells. This helps with blood flow when they are dehydrated. These cells are also built to withstand camels drinking huge amounts in one sitting. A camel can drink up to 150 litres in one drink.
Seen those big wide feet? Well a camel’s widened feet and the way they walk, called their gait, helps them not to sink into sand.
Dromedary Camel Profiles
Delilah is the real little ‘lady' of our two young camels. She's somewhat reserved in personality, taking most aspects of life quietly, calmly and with a strong sense of trust in her keepers, and of course her big ‘sister' Ester!
She's easy to identify, with her wool growing in long, puffy waves and delicate facial features. She displays exceptional patience in everything she does... well, almost everything.
When feeding time comes around, we see a whole new side of Delilah, where she's the first to drop her ‘ladylike' attitude and go charging around with excitement... especially if a big branch of fig tree covered in lots of juicy leaves is on the menu!
Esther is a little camel with a lot of personality!
Very distinct in appearance with her coat of tight curls, Esther is always the first to greet her keepers in the morning. She will make a point of following them around the yard all morning, doing her best to ‘help out' with the daily clean! She's incredibly curious, loves sticking her nose into things and also picking up and carrying anything that she can get her mouth around.
As much as she likes to put on a big brave front when she's out and about on her walks, she is always the first one to come running for cuddles from her keepers for security when she encounters something unexpected. Go figure!