Dromedary camels are found in the deserts and grasslands of the Middle East, northern India and parts of Africa, including the Sahara Desert. Their diet mainly includes leaves, dry grasses, shrubs and thorny plants. They are a domesticated species with an average life span of 40 to 50 years.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Mammalia
Order - Artiodactyla
Family - Camelidae
Genus - Camelus
Species - C. dromedarius
Common Names - Dromedary Camel, Arabian Camel
Dromedary camels have one hump, thick lips to forage for food, long eyelashes that keep sand out of their eyes, and thick footpads for walking across the desert. Their fur is typically brown, although their coloring can range from brownish-black to creamy white. They have longer hair on their hump, throat and shoulders. Adults measure over 7 feet tall at the hump and weigh up to 1,600 pounds.
Dromedary camels breed during the winter or rainy season, depending on their location. Females have an average gestation period of 15 months and then give birth to one or two calves. Mothers care for their calves until they are 1 or 2 years old. Female dromedary camels reach reproductive maturity when they are 3 years old, while males reach reproductive maturity when they are around 6 years old.
Dromedary camels form small groups that range in size from two to 20 individuals. The members of the group are typically a dominant male, one or several females, calves, and younger adults. Dromedary camels tend to walk in single file, with the male in the rear directing the rest of the group. They do not need to eat or drink often, since their hump provides food storage and their bodies conserve water for long periods of time.
Dromedary camels became domesticated around 3,500 years ago. They serve as pack animals that carry heavy loads for long distances, and they also provide wool and milk. They were introduced to Australia, which is where the remaining feral herds are found. Feral dromedary camels introduced from their native regions also roamed the deserts in the southwestern United States through the early 1900s.
Dromedary camels do not have an official conservation status, since they are considered a domesticated species.