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Bactrian Camel

Bactrian Camel
Photographer: Norbert Kaiser


Bactrian Camel Range Map (East Asia)
Bactrian Camel Range Map (East Asia)




Latin Name Camelus bactrianus
Conservation Status Critically Endangered
Location East Asia
Colour Brown
Length 2.5 - 3 m (8.5 - 9.75 ft)
Tail 53 cms (21 inches)
Weight 450 - 690 Kgs (990 - 1,520 lbs)
Life Expectancy Up to 40 Yrs (wild)

Main Characteristics

Bactrian Camels are one of two camel species, the other being the dromedary camel. They have a body length between 2.5 and 3 m (8.5 - 9.75 ft), a tail length of approximately 53 cms (21 inches) and they weigh between 450 and 690 kgs (990 - 1,520 lbs).

Their fur is pale beige to dark brown in colour. During the winter months they have a warm inside coat and a rough, longer outer coat that keeps them warm, but when spring arrives their winter coat is rapidly shed.

Bactrian Camels have two humps that they use to store fat and they use these fat reserves when food is scarce. Their neck is long and almost "U" shaped and they have a tough, broad foot pad that provides stability when they move through sand and snow.

To enable them to withstand sand storms they are able to close their nostrils, they have thick hair inside their ears, they have bushy eyebrows and they have two rows of long eyelashes to prevent sand from going into their eyes.

They are active during the day, spending their time looking for food, and they sleep at night in an open space.

Habitat

Bactrian Camels live in habitats where they have to withstand extremely harsh conditions. They are found in the rocky mountainous areas, stony plains and flat, arid deserts of north west China and south west Mongolia. They have to be able to withstand temperatures as low as -29°C (-20°F) and as high as 38°C (100°F).

They are migratory animals and they travel in groups of 6 - 20 related individuals. The group is led by an adult male and they will travel great distances in search of resources.

Diet

Bactrian Camels are herbivores and they feed on grass, leaves and shrubs. They have extremely tough mouths which enables them to eat thorny plants that other herbivores leave behind.

After a drought they are capable of drinking 110 litres (24 gallons) of water at a time and if freshwater is elusive they can drink salty water with no ill effects - they are the only land mammals that are adapted in this way.

Breeding

After a gestation period of 406 days females give birth to one youngster, twins are rarely born. The young camel is suckled for 1 - 2 years. Females reach sexual maturity at 3 - 4 years of age and males at 5 - 6 years of age. Bactrian Camels have a birthing interval of at least 2 years.

Predators

Humans are the main predators of Bactrian Camels.

Subspecies


There are no subspecies of Bactrian Camel.

Interesting Facts

The Bactrian Camel has been included as one of the 10 species to be investigated by the Zoological Society of London Edge of Existence Programme in 2007.

There are less than 1,000 Bactrian Camels left in the wild but there are over 2 million that are domesticated.

Similar Animals

Dromedary Camel
Vicuña
Guanaco
Alpaca
Llama

 


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