Camel at The Louisville Zoo

Camel, Dromedary

Southwest Asia and North Africa. Feral in Australia.

Semi-arid and arid grassland, deserts, plains.

1000 to 1400 pounds. 7 – 11 feet tall.

Bear single young. 13 – 14 month gestation.

Wild: Grasses, scrub, almost any vegetation. Can drink salt water.
Zoo: Hay oats, Dairy Chow, carrot surprise (carrots, onions & sweet potatoes)


  • Often ill-tempered.
  • Gurgling sound in throat is a sexual display.
  • Can inflict a lethal bite with large mouth and rear canines.
  • Can kick in all directions as a defense.


  • Camels have a 3 chambered stomach.
  • The only mammal with oval blood cells — this may have something to do with the fluid intake.
  • Camels can stand much greater dehydration than man (25% vs. 10% water loss).
  • Can drink 30 gallons in about 10 minutes.
  • Have huge feet with soft pads act as “snow shoes” for walking on sand.
  • Have thick knee pads and a chest pad.
  • The camel does not store water in the hump, but can do so in the stomach lining.
  • During long treks the hump is used for food and when broken down, water is a byproduct.
  • Hump actually sags after long trips.
  • Can carry up to 600 pounds and cover 30 miles in a day.
  • Closable nostrils, extra eyelashes, and hair in ears are adaptations for sand storms.


Camels and Llamas. Encyclopedia of Mammals. (Barnes & Noble, Inc), 1999; 512.
Even-toed Ungulates. Encyclopedia of Animals. (Fog City Press), 1993; 199.