Domestic Bactrian Camel

Domestic Bactrian Camel    Camelus bactrianus

Type of Animal:

Desert, rocky mountainous areas, high sand dunes, arid plains, arid grassland, steppe, farmland

Domesticated primarily in Mongolia, S. Russia, N. & W. China, C. Asia, Iran, Caucasus, & Turkey. Some feral populations in Australia.

2 humps, shorter but heavier than one-hump Dromedary. Brownish coloration. Male larger than female, coat thicker in winter. Darker, stockier, & woollier than wild cousins. Heaviest camel species. Coat varies from dark brown-sandy beige. Coat gets much thicker in winter & sheds in spring.

Tough grasses, herbs, thin branches, shrubs

Status in Wild:

Domesticated. Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks. Studies being done to help save wild Bactrian Camels which are critically endangered.

Females & calves live in herds of 6-20 accompanied by a male. Other males form bachelor herds. Sometimes, breeding herd may have more than 1 male & bachelor & breeding herds may aggregate in certain conditions. 

Additional Info:


Male-1,320-2,200 lbs
Female-880-1,100 lbs
Young-100 lbs

12-14 months

Male-7-8 ft
Female-6-8 ft

Body Length:
10 ft, same for both sexes

Life Span:
Up to 40 years

Tail Length:
1.6 ft, same for both sexes

Main predators are wolves.

Bushy eyebrows & long eyelashes protect eyes from sand.

Outcompeting & hybridization w/ wild cousins is making their wild cousins critically endangered.

Male camels will fight to the death while biting & spitting at each other. They even attempt to sit on each other. Males use sharply, pointed fighting teeth.

They hardly ever sweat, allowing them to conserve water.

Usually slow moving but can run at 60 mph if need be.

Big, tough footpads help them traverse terrain.

Fun Fact(s):
Domesticated primarily for use as pack animals.

They can drink over 30 gallons of water in just a few minutes.

These camels can tolerate temps as high as 120 F & as low as -40 F.

Contrary to popular belief, camels store fat not water in their humps. However, this fat can be converted to water & energy if they’ve had lack of food/water.

A common myth mentioned is that camels are bad-tempered. Generally, only bad-tempered camels are males in rut (breeding season) or an ill-treated camel. During rut, males show off their dulla, an organ sticking out of mouth like inflated pink tongue, and burble, spit, urinate, & roar a lot. Males also become very dangerous during rut & have killed people.

Many cultures drink camel milk & eat the meat.

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