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!

 

58 Join the Discussion

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    • We think “dromedary” is a super fun word to say, Emmz! Thanks for guessing what the next Wonder will be about…we can’t wait to visit Wonderoplis tomorrow to see if your guess was right! :-)

  1. Hi wonderopolis. I love learning about camels. (: By the way, we use the name wonder words, too. Have a wondering day!

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you and your WONDERful classmates use the name “wonder words,” too, Cameron! You guys are super lucky to have a teacher like Mrs. Phillips who inspires you to WONDER and have fun learning! We got to see some of the SUPER personifications of “Wonderopolis” your class created…they ROCKED! :-)

  2. It was interesting to find out the ways to remember how many humps a Dromedary and a Bactrian have. My favorite part was when I found out that camels can travel more than 100 miles a day.

    • Thanks so much for letting us know your favorite part of today’s Wonder, Avantika! We’re really happy you left us a comment to let us know! :-)

  3. I think camels are a cool animal. One time, I went to a place and I got to pet a camel. He licked my hand and it felt really nasty. Although, I think that camels are a rare and cool animal.

    • What a COOL experience for you to be able to pet a camel, Cassidy! Thank you for sharing your story with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  4. Hi, Wonderopolis. Great video, I loved it. Fyi, I thought it was going to have something to do with St. Patrick’s Day, but I loved it anyway. WONDER if Ava came on?

    • We think YOU are cool for checking out today’s Wonder about camels, Sydney! Thanks for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  5. Happy Fantastic Friday Wonderopolis!

    We noticed you changed the background again. We think it is duct tape and are wondering if there is a Wonder coming soon about duct tape.

    Thank you for the learning about the difference between one and two humped camels.

    • Happy Friday to you, too, Mrs. Phillips’ Wonder Friends! We like that you guys noticed the duct tape background! We think there might be a Wonder coming up next week that relates to it in some way (wink, wink)! We’re so happy that you had fun exploring today’s Wonder about camels! :-)

    • Thanks for leaving us a great comment to let us know you liked this Wonder of the Day®, Noobley! We’re glad you learned some fun new facts about camels! :-)

  6. Wow! I did not know that dromedary is another word for camel. I did not know that they would be the best choice to ride in a desert. How tall is a camel? I did not know it can get 120 degrees F.

    • It’s great to hear from you, Rahul! Thanks for leaving us a comment today and THANKS for exploring today’s Wonder! :-)

    • We think it would be FUN to ride a camel, don’t you, Matthew? We really enjoy visiting the camels at the zoo! :-)

    • We introduce a new, exciting, FUN Wonder of the Day® every day, Jack! We hope to keep sharing Wonders as long as there are things out there in the world to WONDER about! :-)

    • That is some AWESOME extra WONDERing about camels, Mr. P. and Mrs. Barthelmes’ 4th graders! We’re not sure, but we think we may have seen a photograph of a camel with three humps before! Maybe that is another type of Bactrian camel? We’ll all have to do some more WONDERing about that one! :-)

    • Thanks for letting us know that you liked today’s Wonder, Emily! We’re glad about that! We think you will REALLY like tomorrow’s Wonder, too! :-)

  7. Thank you for teaching me about camels. My class noticed that the B, when it’s sideways, it means two humps and the D when its sideways, it means one hump.

    • That’s a REALLY fun way to remember about camels, Foxx! “D” (one hump) is for dromedary, and “B” (two humps) is for bactrian! COOL STUFF! :-)

  8. Hey!

    I loved this WONDERopolis! I never knew this before, and now I know what to think of for the humps. “B”, and “D”. What’s more easier to remember than that? Nothing!! I am new here, but I’ll try to get on here and comment everyday! (It’s hot here where I live.) I learned that it gets really hot there in the summer, and that it gets really cold there in the winter!!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful “Wonderopolis” with me!

    Ciara Brandon

    • Welcome to Wonderopolis, Ciara! We’re so glad you stopped by today and learned some FUN facts about camels! Thanks for leaving us this AWESOME comment! :-)

  9. Hey!

    Sorry, i forgot to put something on my last post. You made it pretty clear that tomorrow’s wonder is about St. Pat’s Day… also with the leprechaun thing. Plus, I’m pretty sure everyone knows it’s St. Pat’s tomorrow!!

    Ciara Brandon

  10. Hi Wonderopolis
    I LOVE YOUR VIDEO
    I WONDER WHAT’S GOING TO BE TOMORROW
    I LOVE YOU WONDEROPOLIS!!!!!!!
    YOU ARE MY HERO WONDEROPOLIS!!!!
    I HOPE AVA ELLA AND STEVEN GO ON WONDEROPOLIS TOMORROW…

    FROM DIYA

    • What a super nice comment, Diya…THANK YOU! We really like how you and your classmates and friends are excited about visiting Wonderopolis each day…we think that is AWESOME! :-)

  11. Hey, I never know that camels could sit down and I cant believe that’s how you ride a camel. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about leprechauns because of Saint Patty’s Day.

    • We’re glad you learned some cool new facts about camels, Joseph! We think you might be LUCKY with your guess for the next Wonder…we’ll have to see! :-)

  12. Hi Wonderopolis. I thought this wonder was really interesting today. I didn’t even know there was different kinds of camels. Thanks for letting me WONDER,

    • It’s so AWESOME that you like to WONDER, Juliana! We’re so happy you thought this Wonder was interesting…we appreciate you! :-)

    • We can’t wait to explore the next Wonder of the Day®, either, Abbie! Thanks for being such a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi, Sherry! We think Mr. P. ROCKS, too! We think he is WONDERful for inspiring the students he sees each day to WONDER about the world around them! We hope you’re super careful about eating bubbles. Sometimes eating things that aren’t made for eating (like soap) is really bad for you and can make you super sick. It’s best stick to the candy and gum kind of bubbles…we care about all of our Wonder Friends and we don’t want any of you to get sick or hurt! :-)

  13. Hi, I am Harshitha from Mrs.caplin’s class.
    This wonder connects to my Research called Camel’s hump. This wonder helped me giving many information. The facts were: Dromedary or Arabian camels have one hump. Bactrian camels have two humps. Dromedaries come from the deserts of West Asia (the Arabian Peninsula) and Africa. Bactrian camels come from Central and East Asia. 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 have a third eyelid that moves sideways like a windshield wiper on a car. It helps to keep sand out of their eyes. Camels 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. Those facts were fantastic facts. Thank you for the facts and this was awesome wonder!

    • WOW, WOW, WOW, Harshitha! You really DID learn a LOT about camels by exploring this Wonder of the Day®! Thank you for sharing all the awesome facts you found! We think you will do a GREAT job on your research! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, William! We’ll both have to do a bit more WONDERing about that! Thanks for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a Dromedary?
  • What’s the difference between Dromedary and Bactrian camels?
  • How can you remember which type of camel has how many humps?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to read an interesting tale about camels? Go online to read How the Camel Got His Hump. What do you think? Did the camel deserve his hump? What lesson did you learn from the story?

When you’re finished, try one of these fun camel-related activities:

When you’re finished, share your artwork with the rest of your Wonder Friends by posting a picture or two on Facebook. We can’t wait to see your camel art!

 

Still Wondering

Check out National Geographic Xpeditions’ WEEPING CAMEL: FINDING RITUALS IN OUR DAILY LIVES lesson to identify characteristics of traditional and modern rituals found in different cultures.

 

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Bactrian  camel  Dromedary 

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