Bactrian camel in exhibit

Bactrian Camel

Scientific Name

Camelus bactrianus






China and Mongolia


Cold deserts

Estimated Wild Population

More than 950
Bactrian camel in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Not Listed IUCN Conservation Status: Not Listed

More Information

Physical Description

Bactrian camels are imposing animals that can reach seven feet in height and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Their thick brown coat changes with the seasons, and both males and females have two large humps on their back. These grazing mammals favor grasses, leaves, and shrubs, but they can also stomach thorns and dry vegetation that are indegestible to other herbivores. This enables them to survive in areas of sparse vegetation. In the wild, Bactrian camels form herds of up to 30 members led by a single breeding male. Males that are unable to find mates often gather in single-sex bachelor herds. Juveniles mature after about five years, with individuals living up to five decades.

Interesting Fact 1

Bactrian camels can endure their sandy environment thanks to their long eyelashes, hairy ears, and closeable nostrils.

Interesting Fact 2

Contrary to popular belief, their humps don't hold water. Instead, they store fat, which they use as an energy source when food is scarce.

Interesting Fact 3

They can go for extened periods of time without drinking water, but when they do drink, they can consume 30 gallons in one sitting.

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care. 

Learn More

Support Your Zoo

Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

Animals Depend On People Too

When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

ADOPT an Animal

Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

Browse the Wish List

Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

Learn More