Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Camel

We live in a wild world. Today we’re visiting the dusty deserts of Africa to check out the Bactrian camel. These furry fellows have been domesticated for about 4000 years and are used for travelling and transporting goods.

One Hump or Two?

What did one camel say to the other when she was serving tea? One hump or two?

Camels come in two varieties; one hump and two humped. A two-humped camel is called a Bactrian and the one-hump variety is a Dromedary. Contrary to a popular belief camels do not store water in their hump; it’s all fat. The fat stored in the hump (rather than around the rest of its body) ensures the animal will stay cool in the heat of the desert. This fatty tissue is also an energy reserve when food is scarce.

Wild World Facts…
…a healthy camel’s hump(s) can weigh up to 35 kilograms (77 pounds) or more!
…a Camel’s total weight can be anywhere from 250 to 680 kilograms (550-1496 pounds)

Built Desert Tough

The Bactrian camel is the perfect animal for the desert region. It has long fur around its head, humps and ears and its eyes are shaded by long eyelashes. All this hair helps protect the animal from swirling dust and raging sand storms.

The camel’s feet are also specially built to walk on sand. They have 2 toes on each foot with a hoof-like toenail on each. When the camel walks or runs the pads on the feet spread out cushioning the animal, and keeping it from sinking or slipping.

Wild World Facts…

…Camels usually walk, but they are able to run up to 40 miles per hour in a short sprint and 25 miles per hour on a gallop
…Camels are used to carry large loads (up to 600 pounds) for their human owners and are able to travel where most vehicles cannot.

Spew on You

You wouldn’t think an animal as large as a camel would need to defend itself, but it does. How? By spitting and kicking. When the camel feels threatened or just plain irritated it will throw up a foul smelling, green fluid or it will kick you with it’s powerful legs (which can move in all four directions). So, stand back!

Wild World Facts…
…Camels lips are split to help them graze
…Camels can eat anything (and will) from thorny twigs to peoples shoes
…Camels have tough skin inside their mouth to protect them from being cut

Take the Camel Quiz

~ What is a two-humped camel called?
~ Why does the camel need long eyelashes?
~ How fast can a camel run?

Did you answer all the questions? If not check the article for these fun facts.

For more fun articles and a new fiction story every day, check out knowonder magazine for kids.  It's FREE!


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