Bactrian camel in exhibit

Bactrian Camel

Scientific Name
Camelus bactrianus
Geographic Range
Gobi Desert and steppes of Central and East Asia

Found in:

Bactrian camel in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Not Listed Endangered Status Graph - Not Listed

More Information

Bactrian camels are large, desert-dwelling animals with two dorsal humps. Mature Bactrian camels can be over 7 feet tall and weigh more than 1,500 pounds.

They have adapted to the extreme climate of the Gobi Desert in Central Asia with thick, shaggy coats that shed in patches in the spring. Other adaptations include nostrils that can close to keep sand away, bushy eyebrows, large and flat footpads, and two rows of long eyelashes that protect their eyes. They also have reduced numbers of sweat glands to help them avoid water loss.

Bactrian camels breed in winter during rainy seasons and have a gestation period of 360–444 days. One infant is born at a time and calves weigh roughly 80 pounds at birth. They become independent after about one year.

Did You Know?

  • Camel humps do not contain water. Instead, they store fat that is converted to water and energy when resources are scarce.
  • Wild Bactrian camels are genetically different from domesticated ones, which were trained for human use thousands of years ago from an ancestral species in Central Asia.
  • Bactrian camels are the only truly wild camels that still exist.
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