7 Things you really ought to know about Camel Anatomy


We're tired of loving camels for their minds. Isn't it time we started appreciating their bodies?

by Jennifer Drapkin

1. The Hump: Contrary to popular belief, the hump does not store water. Instead, it's filled with fat, like a gravity-defying beer belly, which allows the camel to go for a month without food.

If the hump becomes depleted, it will shrink, flop over, and hang at the camel's side.

2. The Nipples: Camel milk, the Bedouin beverage of choice, is more nutritious than cow milk, with more potassium, more iron, and three times as much vitamin C. In fact, Camel milk will soon become available in grocery stores across Europe. In the meantime, candy makers from Vienna are developing a chocolate camel milk for the kids.

3. The Nostrils: Camels can open and close their muscular nostrils at will, which prevents them from inhaling sand in the event of a sandstorm.

4. The Body Heat: When the outside temperature is higher than body temperature, most mammals sweat to cool off. But not the camel. To avoid sweating, its body temperature will rise up to 11 degrees, which is the primary way that camels conserve water in the desert. In fact, camels often huddle together to stay cool because their body temperature is often less than the outside air.

5. The Excretions: Camels also conserve water by producing concentrated urine and dry dung.

6. The Feet: When the thick, leathery pads of a camel's foot hit the ground, they spread wide, preventing the camel from sinking into the sand.

7. Those Long Legs: When a camel walks, it moves both legs on one side and the both legs on the other, rocking side-to-side. This is why camels are nicknamed "The ships of the desert." Camel legs are incredibly strong, which allows them to carry up to 1000 pounds. They also can walk 100 miles per day and sprint at 12 miles per hour.