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Bactrian Camel

Camelus bactrianus

  1. Not Evaluated
  2. Data Deficient
  3. Least Concern
  4. Near Threatened
  5. Vulnerable
  6. Endangered
  7. Critically Endangered
  8. Extinct in the Wild
  9. Extinct

About Us

Bactrian camels are found in central Asia. However these populations are classified as domesticated, and the much rarer wild Bactrian camel (Camelus ferus) has been declared critically endangered by the IUCN and only a few hundred survive in remote areas of China and Mongolia.

Our breeding group of camels can be found in their paddock, at the entrance to the start of your Safari adventure!

Distribution
Central Asia
Habitat
Mountainous - desert
Height
5.9ft-7ft
Weight
300kg-1000kg
Gestation Period
14 months
Lifespan
20-40 years
Threats
Over hunting for meat and skin

Social Behaviour

Camels live in herds of 5-30 individuals and are led by a dominant male. 

They are migratory animals and their habitat varies from rocky mountains to dry arid deserts. They adapt to their environment well and have thick woolly coats to keep them warm throughout winter which can be shed very quickly in summer so they do not overheat!  The range of temperatures within their natural environment can drop to minus 40 degrees and climb as high as 40 degrees centigrade.

Breeding Behaviour

Females become sexually mature between 3 and four years old. The gestation period is approximately 14 months and one calf is born.

Males have a distinct breeding period known as musth and during this time they secrete a strong smelling fluid from their glands which they will flick using their tail over their backs. Their body shape dramatically changes as their appetite tends to diminish during this time.

Diet

Camels will feed on a wide variety of grasses and plants. They are opportunistic and will eat whatever they find. It is not uncommon to see them stealing whatever they find on the back of the keepers land rovers!

Physical Features

They have long faces and a split upper lip that helps them pick at the sparse array of food that is available to them. Camels have sealable nostrils which enable them to be protected from the often dust and sand storms that occur in their natural range. They have two broad toes on each foot which spread widely when they walk which enables them to cope with sandy conditions.

The Bactrian camel has two humps on its back which contain fat and not water which is often thought to be the case. They do have the ability to go without water for several months but can drink up to 57 litres at one time!

Threats

They struggle due to habitat loss and competition of grazing and water supplies with domestic camels and other livestock. They are also at high risk of hybridisation with domestic camels. As well as being hunted for their meat and skins.

Fun Facts

In summer months when our camels are shredding their winter coats and looking very scruffy, the keepers will pick up big chunks of hair and take it to the wolf enclosure for the wolves to roll around in and play with.