If you need to get around the desert, a Dromedary can come in really handy. Of course, a Bactrian would also work. What are we talking about? Camels, of course!
Wonder Friends already know that camels can go a long time without drinking. And it’s not because they store water in their humps. Those are filled with fat! But why do some camels have one hump and others have two?
Would you believe there is more than one type of camel? It’s true! Camels belong to one of two species: Dromedary or Bactrian.
Dromedary or Arabian camels have one hump. Bactrian camels have two humps. If you think it’s hard to remember which type of camel has how many humps, it’s not! Just turn the first letter of each name onto its flat side. The “D” in Dromedary makes one hump, and the “B” in Bactrian makes two humps!
There are other differences between Dromedary and Bactrian camels besides the number of humps they have. For example, Dromedaries come from the deserts of West Asia (the Arabian Peninsula) and Africa. Bactrian camels come from Central and East Asia.
Both types of camels have been domesticated for use as working animals for over 4,000 years. In fact, of the millions of camels alive today, there are very few, if any, living in the wild. Most working camels can now be found in Africa, Southwest Asia and Australia.
Bactrian camels tend to be larger than Dromedaries. They also have to withstand harsher climates, like the Gobi Desert of Asia. In summer, temperatures in the Gobi Desert can exceed 120° F, while in winter it can get to -20° F!
Dromedaries easily outnumber Bactrian camels. Experts believe the population of domesticated Bactrian camels is around 2 million. There are more than 14 million Dromedaries around the world.
Camels are amazing creatures that have some unique features that make them great working animals. For example, camels have a third eyelid that moves sideways like a windshield wiper on a car. It helps to keep sand out of their eyes.
Camels are also extremely strong. They can carry riders 100 or more miles in a day. Camels can also carry almost 1,000 pounds on their backs, but they travel shorter distances (25 miles per day or less) when carrying such heavy loads.
If you ever get the chance to ride a camel, you’ll understand that they’re intelligent animals that have good eyesight and hearing. They can also be very noisy — grunting, moaning, bellowing and roaring to communicate their happiness or displeasure with their situation!