The One Humped Camel – The Dromedary

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | September 1, 2010 | Comment Now

Name: Dromedary Camel

Scientific Name: Camelus Dromedarius

Commonly known as: One humped Camel

Type Locality: Deserts of Libya and Arabia, Africa

General Characteristics:

Body Length: 280– 300 cm

Shoulder Height: 200 – 210 cm

Tail Length: 50 cm

Weight: 1350 – 2200 lb

The coat of these camels will range in the beige to light brown range. The underside of the belly will be a shade lighter than the top. Selective breeding has, in the newer times, given rise to camels than can be dark brown in color. Some of them have also been whitish in color. The legs of these animals are long and slender. You will find calluses on their knees.  This is from them kneeling down or lying down.

Although the dromedary is often called the one-humped camel, in reality it has two humps. Both of these are used for storing energy in the form of fat. The anterior hump which is almost under-developed is said to sit over the shoulders. The rear hump, which is the larger and the more visible one, is almost on the center of the back. The upper lip of the camel is split and the nostrils will/could be closed.

This is an animal with seriously long eyelashes and this is what helps them in keeping the sands out of their eyes. These camels possess two very broad toes and this is what lets them spread wide and adapt when they walk on the sand.


Gestation Period: A year

Young per birth ratio: 1

Weaning: 12 to 24 months

Sexual maturity: Males – 5 to 6 years; Females – 3 to 4 years

Overall life expectancy:
40 years

Ecology and Behavioral Patterns:

The ability of the camel to actually survive in the desert without any source of water for prolonged periods of time is something that almost no other animal can survive. Given this ability, the dromedary camels have aptly earned the title of ‘ship of the desert’ for themselves. Dromedaries are known to glean most of their needed water content from the vegetation that they find in the deserts. They can survive even after losing up to around a good 40% of their body weight in water.

When they do find a water body, even brackish (salty) will do, they will drink up to around 15 – 16 gallons of water.  They also seem to have what can be called a flexible thermostat; which would mean that they do not begin to sweat until their bodily temperatures reach around 107.5 F.

The wild type behavior of this specie is better studied in Australia, where their behavior doesn’t get influenced by people. Groups of camels are not considered to be territorial. They might join other groups when there is a drought upon them.

A large feral population of dromedaries continues to exist in the Australian outback today.

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