Also known as : Ship of the Desert
Type : Single-humped
Water retaining capacity : Five liters
The camels found in India are the single-humped camels, also known as
the Dromedary camels. Long-curved neck, deep-narrow chest and a single
hump characterize the Indian camel. The hump is used by the camels as
reservoir of fatty tissues. In times of scarcity, the tissues are
metabolized and the camel receives energy. The size of the hump is not
the same in all the camels. It differs from one camel to another,
depending upon its nutritional state. In times of starvation, the hump
can get reduced to almost a non-existent size.
Indian dromedary camels have a heavy growth of hair on throat,
shoulder, and hump, which is longer than the rest of the body. On an
average, the camels in India live for a period of 40 to 50 years. They
are widely used by the people of Rajasthan as a means of transportation.
Infact, the camels are known as the 'Ship of the Desert'. They are used
for carrying goods as well as people. Indian camels also provide humans
with milk, meat, wool, leather and fuel (from their dried dung).
One can mainly find camels in the desert, dry arid regions of the
country, especially the state of Rajasthan.
Camels primarily survive on an herbivorous diet, consisting of thorny
plants and dry grasses.
Dromedary camels can be usually seen in groups, consisting of anywhere
between two to twenty members. In every group, there is one male member
who dominates the rest of the members, which comprise of females,
sub-adults and young ones. While moving in a group, one can see the
dominant male directing the group from the rear, while the female
members lead at the front.
Indian camels attain maturity at the age of 4 to 5 years. They give
birth to one offspring at a time and the gestation period is around
fifteen months. The young ones are raised by their mother for a period
of two years after their birth, after which they attain adulthood.
Camels have the ability to endure wide changes in their body
temperature as well as water content. Their body temperature may vary as
widely as being 41 deg C (106 deg F) in the daytime and being 34 deg C
(93 deg F) at night. Only when they cross this limit do they begin to
sweat, thus helping them save upto five liters of water in one day.
Indian camels can cope up with as much as twenty-five percent weight
loss, caused by sweating. The thick coat of a camel reflects sunlight
and serves as insulation from the heat of the sand.