Camel (Domestic Bactrian)

A camel at ZSL London Zoo

Our camels at ZSL London Zoo, Genghis and Noemie, are domestic Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus). They do have relatives in the wild, the only truly wild species of camel - the wild camel (Camelus ferus). 


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. Unlike their Middle Eastern cousins, they 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:

  • They 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.