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   Dubai - Arabian camel, Camelus dromedarius,

The 'one-hump' dromedary.

The Arabian camel or dromedary adult camel, standing about 1.85m or 6 feet at the shoulder and 2.15m or 7 feet at the hump, was domesticated thousands of years ago by desert traders, who trained them to make the strenuously long journey from the southern Arabian peninsular to the most northern regions of the Middle East, the domesticated camel went on to become the desert dweller's prefered method of transport and into the bargain they got access to fresh milk and meat as well as hides, wool and shelter from sand-storms and even shade when needed! A camel can carry as much as 450kg or 990lbs but a more comfortable cargo weight is around 150kgs or 330lbs. Contrary to popular belief, a camel does not store water in its hump. In fact it is an area fatty tissue which the camel draws down energy when food is in short supply. When a camel uses the hump fat, the hump becomes flabby and decreases in size. Should a camel draws too much fat, the small remaining lump will hang down the camel's side. After a few days' rest and a good feed the hump will return to its normal firm upright state.

Arabian camel, Camelus dromedarius

Camels have the reputation of being bad-tempered, Unpredictable at best and an obstinate creature that spits and kicks. In reality though, they tend to be good-tempered, patient and intelligent. The bellowing bawling and moaning sounds they make when they have to rise to their feet when carrying a load are like the grunting of a human weight-lifter's, not a 'complaint' at having to do some work.

Dubai camel

In advanced Dubai, the rest of UAE and Saudi Arabia, present day desert Arabs are not as dependent on the domesticated camel as they were. These days, camels are valued more as racing animals and kept as sentimental reminders of heritage, not the mainstay of desert transportation. However in many parts of Africa and Asia today, camels are still a beast of burden; transporting people, pulling ploughs, turning waterwheels and carrying goods to market along desert and mountain routes unpassable by even 4 wheel drive vehicles. Known as 'Ata Allah', 'God's gift', the Arabian camel has made an interesting partner to the people and history of desert lands. Camels do not pant, and they perspire very little. Unique among mammals, the camel has a unique body thermostat, its body temperature level can be as much as 60°C before perspiring, conserving body fluids and avoiding water loss. Because a camel's body temperature is often lower than the ambient air temperature, a group of resting camels will lean against each other keeping the warmer air away from their bodies.

Here are a few more facts about the Arabian camel,
the one hump dromedary:

Colours - Camels are like womens stockings! They come in every shade of brown, from cream to nearly-black.

Camel - Colours, eyes and ears

Diet - A camel can go 5-7 days with little or no food or water, losing up to a quarter of its body weight without harm. Their preferred foods are dates, grass and grains such as wheat and oats. A camel travelling across an area where food is scarce can survive on thorny scrub or whatever it can find - newspaper, seeds, dried leaves, or even its owner's clothing or tent! Camels have even eaten bones! A camel swallows down its food without chewing it first, regurgitating the undigested food later and chewing it as cud.
Eyes and Ears - A camel's doe-like eyes are large and protected by a double row of long curly eyelashes that help keep out sand and dust, while their thick bushy eyebrows shields the eyes from the desert sun. Camel's ears are small by proportion, but the hearing is acute - but selective! A camel's ears are lined with fur that stops sand and dust entering the ear canal.
Feet - Camels have broad, flat feet with leathery pads that spread under pressure, preventing the foot from sinking into the sand. Only two toes on each foot.


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