A camel is a large and strong desert animal. Camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. The two surviving species of camel are the dromedary, or one-humped camels, which are native to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa; and Bactrian, or two-humped camels, which inhabit Central Asia. Both species have been domesticated; they provide milk, meat, hair for textiles or goods such as felted pouches, and are working animals.
Camel is popularly, known as 'Ship of the Desert', camels can travel great distances across the vast expanse of the hot and dry sandy areas, with practically no food and water for days. They carry people and heavy loads as no other means of transportation can exist in deserts.
The most recognizable physical characteristic of a camel is its hump. Contrary to myth, water is not stored there. A camel's hump is made up of fatty tissue that can be converted into energy and water when there is need. As the camel draws upon these energy reserves, the hump shrinks. If the fat deposits are truly depleted, the hump will flop over and hang down the camel's side. A week of food, water and rest will restore a camel's hump to its proper shape. Since a camel's fat is stored mainly in the hump, their body is not insulated and they are able to keep themselves cool in the heat of the desert. Another way Camels keep cool is by fluctuating their core body temperature as much as 10°F. If a human's body temperature raises a mere 2°F it is a sign of illness, 6°F and we will die. It may be odd to see camels clustered together during the hottest part of the day, but since their body temperatures are lower than the surrounding air, they are actually helping to keep each other cool.
Camel's eyes are large and protected from wind and sand by double layers of long lashes. Their brow ridge and eyebrows are prominent, providing a boney "visor" that shields the eye from the sun. Camels also have a third eyelid that moves sideways, front to back, and acts like a windshield wiper, brushing the eye clean of sand. The camel's ears and nose are lined with hair for protection from dust and sand. The camel's nose is also designed to trap moisture from its exhalations, thereby conserving body fluids. A camel's long legs keep the bulk of its body high above the reflective heat of the desert sand. Thick calloused skin on the camel's knees and chest are contact points with the hot sand. These hairless areas develop on camels when they are about 5 months of age and protect them when they are lying down and resting and also provide cushioning for when they rise.
A thirsty camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water in less than 15 minutes. The camel's mouth is tough-skinned and has a split lip, allowing it to strip even the thorniest trees of vegetation. They possess very sharp teeth which are used not just to feed, but to defend it.
In the summer, camels can go 5 – 7 days without food or water. In the winter, a camel can extract enough moisture from its food to go 50 days without water.
A camel is a cud-chewer and vegetarian, preferring dates, grass and grain, but when food is scarce, it becomes an omnivore, making a meal out of anything it can find, including thorns, bones, meat and even its owners tent.
Camels are intelligent and possess good eyesight and wonderful hearing. A camel will live 40 – 50 years but is retired from work by age 25. When a camel is 5 years old it will be completely trained and able to carry a full load.
Apart from this, camel's wool is used for making rugs and clothes. Camel's milk is very rich in fat and protein which is usually consumed fresh for the production of yoghurt or cheese.