For the love of camels

Namaste! Ola.. I am Bonbon, and it’s good to write to you all about us — the camels and our life. I am over 2 metres tall and weigh 700 kilograms with a readymade thick coat which may be a shade of brown, while others may be nearly white to almost black.

There is a difference between the humps in Dromedary and Bactrian camels — take the first letter in their names and drop it flat.. D has only one hump, while B has two humps. Is’nt that clever?

  • Of course I am a vegetarian and I love dates, grass and grain..yum…they are just delicious, but I can also eat anything I find, including bones, meat, sometimes even a tent and my tough skinned mouth and split lips don’t get hurt by thorns. . I have a very good set of 34 strong sharp teeth that helps me chew. Beware, I can bite pretty bad too.
  • My drinking habits: It’s only about water, you see. I can go 5–7 days without water or even food in summer and in winter upto 50 days. I can also drink brackish water (salt water and fresh water mixed together). No it doesn’t make me ill. I bet I can always win a water drinking contest everytime I want to — Over 150 litres of water in less than 15 minutes. Is’nt that an impressive record? Did I hear you say… Any other mammal would die of water intoxication..Hmm….you are right.
  • Ah yes.. You did ask about “Ship of the desert”. We can move both legs on one side of the body at the same time. And if you are not used to this swaying and rocking motion, it can cause feelings of seasickness. Now you got it.
  • That hump on our back is just awesome, I say. No..its not a storage place for water. I was born without a hump. Baby camels develop humps only when they start eating solid food. Its mostly a lump of fat above the backbone which provides us energy and it shrinks when we are starving.
  • Our long, strong legs help us carry heavy loads for long distances .Our two-toed, broad and flat feet with a pad of fat at the heel will spread out and keep us from sinking into the sand. And when we walk or run, the cushioned feet make almost no sound.
  • We can close our nostrils against wind and sand if needed and we can retain water vapour in our nostrils and return it to the body as fluid. We are intelligent, have good eyesight and hearing and can tolerate temperatures to over 41 degrees without sweating.
  • We are very patient and nice when treated well. We grunt, moan or roar to plainly express our displeasure. If someone abuses or provokes us.. we throw up a foul smelling greenish fluid from the stomach all over the mischief-monger — something that would never be forgotten. Did you just smile?
  • We have been very useful to man in many ways and our milk is rich in vitamins and minerals that keep you young and strong .. Camels are cool. Maybe because our name comes from the Arabic ǧml meaning “beauty”.
  • Before I leave, here’s a Language lesson for you.

For “ I want to ride on the camel” just say — “aba arkab eljamal” Arabic: Erkab English: Ride

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