With the rapid development of scientific and technological progress, the populations of beautiful wild fauna are reduced to smaller and smaller numbers. Many beautiful animals are disappearing. But nature made sure that every living creature on Earth was comfortable, creating all the necessary conditions for this. What is the diversity of species and subspecies of our smaller brothers worth, their specificity and behavior. One of the amazing creations of wildlife is the one-humped camel, also referred to as the dromedary or Arabian.
Origin of the species and description
The one-humped camel does not have any special features, from its fellow — two-humped, hell, but still there are some differences. Based on the general similarity of the two subspecies, a conclusion suggests itself about their relationship. There are several alternative theories of the origin of this subspecies, but the following is considered generally accepted: a certain camel lived in North America (presumably the progenitor of the entire Camelus species). In search of food and a more comfortable habitat, he reached Eurasia, from where the Bactrians and dromedaries originated in the future. According to another version, the progenitor of the species was a wild camel that came out of the desert areas of Arabia, which was subsequently domesticated by the Bedouins. Its ancestors soon flooded Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, dividing into 2 subspecies.
Video: One-humped camel
In ancient times, both subspecies lived exclusively in the wild, and their herds were countless. Although many scientists believe that absolutely wild dromedaries never existed in nature. The scarcity of finds of animal remains is considered proof of this, but some evidence of their existence is still available. One example is the few images of one-humped camels on rocks and stones. The largest populations of dromedaries were found in the desert areas of North Africa and the Middle East.
The wild ancestors of the one-humped camel were quickly domesticated by the inhabitants of the adjacent territories, who quickly appreciated the advantages of this species. Due to their overall dimensions, distinctive carrying capacity and endurance, they began to be used as a traction force, for long-distance movement along especially hot and arid routes, and as mounts. Previously, this subspecies was very often used for military purposes, and therefore information about the hardy and unpretentious animal was widely spread even among Europeans during military conflicts.
The use of one-humped camels was common among the peoples of India, Turkmenistan and other adjacent territories . Unlike their two-humped counterparts, wild herds of dromedaries have become a rarity, and live mainly in the central regions of Australia.
Appearance and features
Amazing animals, unlike the well-known Bactrians, are endowed with only one hump, for which they got their name. Comparing 2 subspecies of one main species of camels proper, the distinctive external features of dromedaries, in addition to having one hump instead of two, are visible to the naked eye:
- Significantly smaller sizes. The one-humped camel has smaller height and weight parameters, in comparison with its closest relative. Its weight varies from 300 to 600 kg (average male weight — 500 kg), height — from 2 to 3 meters, and the length — from 2 to 3.5 m. The same parameters in Bactrians have significantly greater indicators.
- Tail and legs. The dromedary has a shorter tail, the length of which does not exceed 50 cm. Its physique is much more elegant, but the legs are longer than those of its fellow. Thanks to these characteristics, the one-humped camel is more maneuverable and faster.
- Neck and head. This subspecies has a long neck and an elongated elliptical head. In addition to the split lip, the dromedary is endowed with another feature — nostrils, the opening and closing of which he controls independently. The one-humped camel has long eyelashes that can protect the eyes from even the smallest grains of sand.
- Features of the structure of the legs. In addition to the fact that the legs of this subspecies of camels are longer, they are also covered with special corn growths in the places of bends. The same growths cover numerous parts of the body. Another distinctive feature of one-humped camels — soft callused pads on the feet, replacing the hooves, in place of which there is a pair of fingers.
- Wool cover. This species is known for its short hair, which makes it categorically unadapted to cold climates. However, the hair on certain parts of the body is longer and thicker: on the neck, back and upper part of the head. The color of one-humped camels is found from light brown, sandy to dark brown, and even white. Although albino dromedaries are extremely rare.
Like Bactrian camels, this subspecies is particularly hardy in arid climates. This is due to the fact that dranomeds are able to retain moisture and have a hump, which contains a large amount of fat. This fact contributes to the rapid compensation of resources, providing the animal’s body with the necessary energy.
Where does the one-humped camel live?
This subspecies is extremely hardy and adapted to severe droughts. This is primarily due to its physiological characteristics. That is why the habitat of dromedaries is the North African regions, the Middle East, Turkestan, Asia Minor and Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan.
The endurance of one-humped camels is dictated by several specific functions of their body:
- the moisture that an animal needs to conserve to survive is not stored in the hump, but in the stomach;
- the functions of the kidneys of this subspecies are tuned to maximize the dehydration of excreted urine, thereby retaining moisture;
- the animal’s hair prevents the evaporation of moisture;
- the work of the sweat glands is also different from other mammals (body temperature at night decreases and remains within the normal range for a long time). Sweat begins to be released only at a temperature of +40℃ and above;
- dromedaries have the ability to quickly replenish the reserves of the necessary liquid and are able to drink from 50 to 100 liters of water at a time within a few minutes.
It is thanks to these features that the one-humped camel is indispensable for the Arab peoples living in desert areas. Its special characteristics are used not only in moving heavy objects and people, but also in agriculture.
What does a humped camel eat?
In addition to the fact that this subspecies is able to do without water for a long time without compromising the functioning of the body as a whole, it is also unpretentious in food. Dromedary — herbivorous mammals, and, accordingly, are endowed with a special structure of the stomach, which consists of several chambers and has many glands. The system of digestion itself will differ in that practically not chewed plant food enters the region of the anterior stomach. It is there that the process of its final digestion takes place.
The diet of a one-humped camel is not only unpretentious, but often unsuitable for other herbivores. In addition to dry and thorny plants, dromedaries are able to use even shrub and semi-shrub saltwort. In special cases, in the absence of food sources, camels are able to eat the bones and skins of animals, up to the products that are made from them. Under conditions of domestication, the favorite delicacies of the subspecies are blackberry, leaves of the parnolistny, saxaul, reed, hay, and oats. In the wild, one-humped camels make up for the regular need for salt on their own, replenishing fluid reserves in the brackish waters of the deserts. Domesticated animals need salt just as much as their wild counterparts, but drinking salt water is often categorically refused. In such cases, salt is given to camels in the form of special salt bars.
A distinctive feature of all representatives of the camel family is the fact that for a long time they do not need not only water resources, but also food. The subspecies is endowed with the ability to stay without food for a long time, due to the accumulated fat deposits in the hump. One-humped camels are able to fast for weeks and get used to any food. Often, short-term hunger strikes have a more positive effect on the body of dromedaries than regular overfeeding.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Camels — rather slow animals. A feature of their behavior is that they live according to a clear daily routine, without deviating from it. This is what allows them to retain energy and moisture longer. Despite their sedentary behavior, the subspecies is able to make daily transitions over long distances. Our ancient Slavic ancestors endowed the word “camel” with the meaning “long wandering”.
In search of food, dromedaries are in the morning and evening hours, and day and night they rest in the open spaces of sand dunes. One-humped camels move at an average speed of around 10 km/h, but, if necessary, they are able to run (no more than 30 km/h). Such a speed is possible, but for a long time the camel is not able to gallop.
Another distinguishing feature of them is their extremely good eyesight, because they are able to see the approaching danger from very long distances. As soon as, for example, a person enters the field of vision of a camel, he leaves long before he comes close. In an ordinary environment, in a flock of dromedaries, it’s calm — individuals do not conflict with each other. But during the rut period, males are able to show aggression towards other males, fighting for mating with one or another female. During this period, one-humped camels are able to engage in fights and mark their territory, warning enemies of their leadership. In Turkey, the period of aggressiveness of camels is used for traditional camel fights in this territory. Despite all the passivity of the main character traits, camels are endowed with high intelligence and a peculiar character.
In some matters, dromedaries are quite whimsical:
- Females of this subspecies allow themselves to be milked exclusively by a certain person. At this moment, the female’s cub must certainly be in her field of vision.
- Adult individuals demand respect for themselves, not forgiving insults and cruel treatment.
- If the dromedary has not rested or is in a state of sleep, it is impossible to get him to his feet.
- The memory of all representatives of the subspecies is developed in an amazing way — they are able to remember the offense for many years and will certainly take revenge on the offender.
- Dromedars become attached to a person, and in case of separation, they are able to find their way to the owner on their own.
In general, dromedaries are endowed with an unflappable calmness, friendliness and the ability to quickly adapt to a certain environment, which makes them excellent helpers for humans. Even in the wild, they do not attack people, but only avoid meeting them.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Dromedary — diurnal animals, and, consequently, the peak of their activity falls on the daytime. In the wild, one-humped and two-humped camels form certain social groups consisting of one male, several females and their offspring. There are precedents when only males unite in groups, gaining a leadership position by force. However, such cases are rare and these groups do not last long, resorting to the formation of a standard social structure in the future.
Puberty and reproduction
Puberty of males and females of this subspecies is completed on average by 3-5 years. Males become sexually mature much later. During the rutting season (December-January), they mark their territory, thereby warning competitors that they should not approach. The male uses special glands on the back of his head for this, and, tilting his head low to the ground, touches the sand and nearby stones with it. If another camel still approaches, then there is a fierce fight, with loud unpleasant sounds. The winner of the fight, having fertilized the female, immediately starts looking for another one.
The female is able to become pregnant once every two years, and the very bearing of the baby lasts about 13 months. Births take place standing up, and a few hours after their completion, the born camel (always 1, twins & # 8212; an extremely rare exception) after a few hours gets up on its own. For the first six months, the baby feeds on mother’s milk, and then switches to the usual herbal food. A female dromedary is capable of producing up to 10 liters of milk per day. The main difference between the babies of two-humped and one-humped camels is that dromedaries are born approximately 2 times larger than their counterparts. The life expectancy of this subspecies reaches an average of 50 years.
Natural enemies of the humped camel
One-humped camels, despite their compact size compared to Bactrians, are rather large animals. In desert regions, there are no individuals capable of surpassing their dimensions, and, therefore, they simply cannot have enemies in their natural habitat. However, frequent cases of wolf attacks on dromedary babies have been recorded. In the past, this subspecies had other enemies (separate subspecies of desert lions and tigers), but today these animals are considered completely extinct.
Camels, both dromedaries and two-humped individuals, have one common enemy — humanity. Due to mass domestication more than 3 thousand years ago, the original wild herds of one-humped camels have not survived in natural conditions (only secondarily feral in the central part of the Australian continent). Their cousins, the Bactrians, are still found in the wild, but their population is so small that they are also endangered and listed in the Red Book.
The mass pursuit of people for the domestication of dromedaries is not surprising. In addition to being an excellent means of transportation and transportation of cargo, their woolen coat, meat and milk have incredible qualities. Camel skins are famous for their thermal insulation, meat — distinctive taste qualities, fat is similar to lamb, and milk is famous for its fat content and content of useful trace elements.
Population and species status
The special qualities of wool, milk and meat of the camel species make them a desirable prey for hunters. Therefore, camel hunting is considered poaching and is prosecuted at the legislative level. Massive human modification of the natural habitat of animals also leaves an imprint on their population. Human intervention has led to the fact that the number of heads of two-humped individuals totals only about 1000 pieces living in the wild, unlike dromedaries — they are considered fully domesticated. The remaining Bactrians are protected by law and kept in the territories of natural reserves.
Despite the ban on hunting camels in the wild, domesticated dromedaries are often farmed not only for their traction, but also for skins, fat, meat and milk. In ancient times, camel meat and milk were the main components of the diet of nomadic peoples. Harnesses and ropes are made from their skin, which are distinguished by their strength. Various dairy products are made from milk. With the development of tourism, one-humped camels began to be used to earn money by riding guests (the average carrying capacity of a subspecies is about 150 kg), and camel racing has grown into the status of a national sport in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Arabians , they are dromedaries, smart, hardy and adapted to life with a person. They have excellent traction power, a good means of transportation in arid and extremely hot climates, which makes them indispensable in hot desert areas. Features of their body and structure help them survive even the most extreme conditions. But, unfortunately, it will not be possible to trace their behavior in their natural habitat, because. the wild subspecies is considered completely extinct and domesticated. Despite this, the one-humped camel continues to faithfully serve a person in his daily life.