Camel, Arabian camel, One-Humped camel, Dromedary
The dromedary camel (Camelus dromedaries) is a large even-toed ungulate, of the genus Camelus, with one hump on its back. It is the tallest of the three species of camel. It has not occurred naturally in the wild for nearly 2,000 years. It was probably first domesticated in the Arabian Peninsula about 4,000 years ago and its wild range seems to have been restricted to the peninsula.
NoNot a migrant
Dromedary camels are large hoofed animals with cream to brown colored fur which is short and thick and protects them from the sun in the daytime and keeps them warm during cold nights. Their long legs with two toes on each of their feet foot can spread wide to stop them from sinking into the sand. They have large eyes and good sight, and their large slit-like nostrils give them a good sense of smell and can be closed during dust storms. They have two layers of long eyelashes.
As domestic animals, Dromedary camels are generally found in arid regions in the Middle East, northern India, and Africa, particularly in the Sahara Desert. There is also a significant feral population of dromedary camels in Australian deserts.
Dromedary camels are diurnal, generally shy animals. They form cohesive groups of about 20 individuals, which consist of several females led by a dominant male. Females may also lead in turns. Some males either form bachelor groups or roam alone. Herds may congregate to form associations of hundreds of camels during migrations at the time of natural disasters. The males of the herd prevent female members from interacting with bachelor males by standing or walking between them and sometimes driving the bachelor males away. Special behavioral features of the dromedary include snapping at others without biting them and showing displeasure by stamping their feet. They are generally non-aggressive, with the exception of rutting males. They appear to remember their homes; females, in particular, remember the places they first gave birth or suckled their offspring. Males become aggressive in the mating season and sometimes wrestle. Dromedary camels usually travel walking in a single file. They greet each other by means of blowing in each other's faces. They like to scratch their bodies with their legs, or with their teeth. They also rub against trees and roll in the sand. Camels also communicate with the help of moans, groans, and deep bellows.
Camels are herbivores (folivores, graminivores) and their diet consists mostly of foliage, dry grasses, and desert vegetation - mostly thorny plants. Their thick lips allow them to eat things that other animals can't, like thorny plants. When looking for food, they spread over large areas and take from each plant only a few leaves. It is important that they fill up on available water. Within just 13 minutes they are able to take in 30 gallons (113 liters) of water.
Dromedary camels are polygynous. Their breeding season is usually from November and March. During this time, males extrude their soft palate to attract females - a trait unique to the dromedary. As the male gurgles, copious quantities of saliva turn to foam and covers the mouth. Males threaten each other for dominance over the female by trying to stand taller than the other, making low noises, and a series of head movements including lowering, lifting, and bending their necks backward. Males try to defeat other males by biting the opponent's legs and taking the head between his jaws. Gestation lasts up to 13 months and one calf is born, or occasionally twins. The calf can stand within 8 hours. It remains under the herd's protection until it is old enough to become independent. Nursing and maternal care continue for 1 to 2 years. Both young males and young females might mature by 3 to 5 years of age, though successful breeding could take longer.
There are no true wild dromedaries anymore. The number of domestic dromedaries is about 15 million, giving them common status. As of 2013, the feral population of Australia was estimated at around 300,000 individuals.
As beasts of burden, dromedaries serve humans and also provide them with food, leather, wool, and fuel from their dung, and have therefore enabled humans to live in very arid regions. Dromedary husbandry is today on the increase and is recognized as a method that is ecologically sound for the production of protein-rich food in dry areas.
Dromedaries were first domesticated about 4000 years ago, probably in Somalia or the Arabian Peninsula. In about the tenth century BCE, the dromedary camel became popular in regions of the Near East. In 525 BCE the Persian invasion of Egypt introduced domesticated camels to this area, but these camels were not well-suited to travel across the Sahara with big loads, and horses pulling chariots were used instead. The dromedary came into northern Africa (Egypt) via southwestern Asia (Persia and Arabia). They were suitable for long desert journeys and were able to carry heavy loads of cargo, first time enabling much trade across the Sahara.