Camel (Bactrian)

Bactrian camel at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

What they look like: Camels have broad feet to walk easily on desert sand. They also have long eyelashes and nostrils that can be closed to protect them from the sand. When there is plenty of food to eat, camels build up fat in their humps.  Bactrian camels, unlike their Middle Eastern cousins, have two humps. Able to withstand incredible temperatures ranging from 40C to -30C, they grown a dense shaggy coat  that they shed in the spring to keep cool.

Animal facts:

  • Bactrian camels differ from all other mammals in the shape of their red blood cells, which are oval instead of circular. 
  • Perfectly adapted to desert life, they can go for days at a time without drinking or eating. When they reach water they can take in as much as 57 litres to restore the normal amount of body fluid.
  • They are the only land mammals that can drink salty or brackish water with no negative effects.

What they eat: Leaves, grasses, shrubs.

Habitat: Desert.

Where they live: Gobi Desert on the borders of Mongolia and China.

Threats: Hunted for food and sport and to protect grazing space for domesticated animals.

Conservation Status
Critically Endangered
Population
Decreasing
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Camelidae