Animal Diaries Archive
26 January 2007
There's no denying that our Dromedary Camels absolutely love their tucker, from the pellet snacks they get during the day to their big breakfast and dinners of freshly cut browse to the food they can pick for themselves during their daily walks. But it's not just the choice juicy leaves they'll munch up… our girls will strip branches right down to the wood when they have a mind to... bark, twigs and all!
And the reason they can do this is because a camel's stomach really is super-powered. Or should I say stomachs! They have three in total, and being a ruminant animal the camel will not only have their food pass through each chamber, but bring it back up for another chew in between. Now, being waited on hand-and-hoof by their doting keepers, food shortage is hardly an issue for Teela and DJ. But for wild camels living in harsh desert conditions, this is such an important adaptation. After all, when times of drought tear through the land, sometimes bark and twigs is all that is left to eat, and boy does it make a difference when your stomach is actually able to digest and absorb nutrients from such incredibly tough food. One of DJ's favourites to tackle with her super-powered stomach are the many species of vine creeping through our gardens and orchards. Many of these vines can be quite tough, and some of them are even invasive, strangling our native vegetation. DJ absolutely loves doing her bit for the Zoo environment, clearing up potentially destructive, and very tough, chewy vines. Good on her!