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

About This Animal

Bactrian camels are large, desert-dwelling animals with two humps (dromedary camels have one). Mature Bactrian camels can be 7 feet tall and weigh 1,800 pounds.

The Gobi Desert in Central Asia, where they live, has an extreme climate with freezing winters and hot summers. These camels have adapted to their conditions with thick, shaggy coats that shed rapidly in large patches each spring.

Bactrian camels have almost no sweat glands, which helps them conserve fluids. They also have nostrils that close, along with bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes, to keep sand at bay. Their large, flat footpads work well on both rocky terrain and shifting sands. Did you know? These animals do not store water in their humps. The fat inside is converted into water and energy when resources are scarce. This helps as they travel long distances for food.

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

Bactrian camels have been domesticated for thousands of years as pack animals. Less than 1,000 wild Bactrian camels (the only truly wild camels left) still exist. The population continues to decrease as a result of hunting, a loss of water oases due to drought, reduction in habitat, and competition with domestic animals.

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