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Bactrian Camel Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Camelus bactrianus
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    The Bactrian camel is native to China and Mongolia. The animal has been domesticated, however, and can be found throughout Asia.

  • Status

    The Bactrian camel is critically endangered due to habitat loss. The species is faced with increasing competition from domestic livestock, particularly for water.

  • Habitat

    Dry grasslands and deserts make up the species' primary natural habitat.

  • Niche

    This grazing mammal favors grasses, leaves and shrubs, but it can also stomach thorns and dry vegetation that other herbivores cannot digest. This enables them to survive in areas of sparse vegetation.

  • Life History

    In the wild, Bactrian camels inhabit herds of 3-30 members led by a single breeding male. Males that are unable to find mates often gather in single-sex bachelor herds. Juvenile Bactrian camels mature around five years of age, and individuals can live up to 50 years.

  • Special Adaptations

    • Contrary to popular belief, a camel's hump doesn't hold water. Instead, the hump serves as a reservoir for energy-rich fat, which the camel can metabolize for energy when food is scarce.
    • Because of its efficient metabolism, Bactrian camels can go for months without drinking water. When they do drink, they can consume 30 gallons of water at one sitting!
    • Long eyelashes, ears lined with hair and nostrils that can be pinched shut all help shield the Bactrian camel from the blowing sand of its dry environment.


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