The  Bactrian Camel

The  Bactrian Camel

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by josie, january 10th, 2023

Although closely related, they are distinctly different from Wild Bactrian Camels – the only wild Camelid species and which is critically endangered.

The Bactrian camel belongs to the family of Camelidae. This family also includes three other types of camels, as well as Alpacas and Llamas and their respective ancestors.

Let's get to know them

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Quick Facts

Scientific name: Camelus Bactrianus  Family: Camelidae  Diet: Herbivore Habitat: Stoney plains, semi-arid deserts, mountainous areas  Distribution: Central Asia (Mongolian Steppes & Gobi Desert) Population: 2 million individuals Endangerment:  Domesticated

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As opposed to the dromedary, Bactrian Camels have two humps on their backs.

Their fur coat comes in various shades of brown and beige, which becomes shaggy in winter.

They are the largest species in the camelids family with certain Bactrian Camels reaching a whole 2,200 lb.

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To withstand sandstorms, their nostrils are able to close and two rows of thick eye lashes shield their eyes.

Their humps store fat which is what enables them to go long periods of time without any sustenance.

Likewise, they rarely sweat and pass highly concentrated urine in order to retain the most liquid possible.

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They typically inhabit landscapes of stoney plains, sand dunes, semi-arid deserts or mountainous areas.

Bactrian Camels are migratory beings and therefore pass through a large variety of different climates.

Although the Bactrian Camel is well equipped to survive such conditions, their prevalence is nonetheless closely interlinked with the presence of water.

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The Bactrian Camel resides in Central Asia, ranging from Afghanistan to China, but they are most prevalent in the Mongolian Steppes and the Gobi desert.

They are social animals and will travel in packs, typically called “caravans”.

The total population of Bactrian Camels is currently 2 million individuals, of which the majority is domesticated.

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Due to living in harsh landscapes they cannot afford to be picky eaters.

Thanks to their resilient lips and mouth they are essentially able to ingest any kind of plant, be it prickly or thorny.

They can go for months without water, with their humps growing increasingly floppy as their fat stores are used.

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As all the other species included in the camelids family, Bactrian Camels are induced ovulators.

Bactrian Camels are precocial, meaning that their babies are fully developed at birth - babies can even run within hours after birth.

Calves will remain with their mother until they become sexually mature themselves, which occurs between the ages of 3-5 years.

#1 On average they can reach an age of 40 years old, and slightly less if not domesticated.

#2 They’re often used as pack animals by locals in Mongolia and China.

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Fun Facts

# 3 These hardy creatures can withstand harsh winters with temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius due to their thick coat of fur.

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Now you know this impressive desert-resident!