Deserts are hot during the day and cold at night, with little rainfall. Isn’t it amazing how camels manage to survive in such harsh climate conditions in the desert?
The reason camels do so well in a desert environment is due to a variety of unique characteristics that give them an advantage. We could give these survival characteristics a quirky way of representation – water-saving devices, but self-closing nostrils, heat-proof shoes, air-circulating legs, food-storage humps, sun-screen skin, and jelly-bean blood cells all contribute to their bushcraft. But not concluding their great potential in such short words, let’s look at exactly how do they do that?
The Savior Hump!
You may wonder why do camels have such a large hump on their back, and you also probably would’ve thought that it is for storing water, right?
However, the water stored in a hump would not help the camels more than it already does. Here is how it is one – Camels have special water-carrying blood cells that allow them to store water in their veins rather than in their hump. They do, however, require energy storage in order to survive in the desert until they can find something delicious to eat and of course this isn’t always easy in the desert, so they fill their hump with calories during a plentiful feast and thereafter use those calories to feed themselves until they can replenish their hump stock elsewhere for a long time. How fascinating, right?
Also, every large mammal requires food at regular intervals to survive and being such huge animals, behold their tallness! Camels also need huge amounts of energy to survive. But the camel’s hump allows it to go for long periods of time without eating anything substantial. Camels are able to survive entirely on their own body fat as all of the camel’s fat is stored in one place – the hump. They can use it in small amounts (similar to raiding the fridge) until it runs out and they need to replenish it. They can go nearly two months before their hump empties if they are well watered and not overly exercised or worked.
Now, one might have also come across camels with two humps on their back. They are known as Bactrian Camels. Both the humps serve a similar purpose and these camels are largely found native to Central Asia.
The word is that they drink loads of water!
Although it may appear that camels need to drink gallons and gallons of water every hour or so, the reality is that camels are excellent water savers and can extract a lot of water from the food they eat. As a result, camels can go for up to a week without drinking fresh water. Which comes in handy when you live in the desert.
It is a known fact that a well-fed camel can walk over 160 kilometers (100 miles) in a hot desert before needing to drink fresh water. Wild Bactrian camels are also capable of drinking extremely salty water without becoming ill. It’s not as hydrating as freshwater, but it’s simple to desalinate.
Camels can smell water, right?
Yes, but no, but yes, but no! The fact is that Camels can smell a specific molecule found in damp earth, not the water itself, as scientists have discovered. Despite the fact that the end result is the same. Camels can smell damp earth after digging in the garden in the same way that humans can but from a much greater distance. 3 kilometers, for example (1.8 miles).
So, if they pick up the scent of damp earth in the desert, they can use their super-sensitive noses to direct them to the damp area from afar. They don’t have to rush because they don’t have to drink every day. Simply follow the wind to the water’s edge. Perfect.
Camels have developed some incredible biological adaptations that enable them to live and work in the desert. This is aided by large feet, food humps, and the ability to conserve water.
Well, as we conclude this, there are three adjectives that should come to our minds when we think about camels here onwards – Resilience, determination, and willpower!