Camel Pictures and Facts

Profile of a camel

Profile of a camel.

Image Source: Rain Rannu / License under Creative Commons 2.0

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The camel's head, though small, is one of its most interesting features. It has two large eyes on either side of the head. Each eye is shaded from the noonday sun by a projecting ridge of bone that thick bushy eyebrows sit on.

A camel's eye

Image Source: Thomas Hobbs / License under Creative Commons 2.0

The eye itself is protected from sand by two rows of extra long eyelashes, one on the upper eyelid, and one on the lower eyelid. In addition to this, each eye also has a very thin third eyelid that moves with a side to side motion, front to back. These can act as a windshield wiper brushing away sand, or can close to protect the eye while still allowing the camel to see.

Camels in a sandstorm

Two camels and a horse weather a sandstorm.

Image Source: Ilan's Photos / License under Creative Commons 2.0

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In this way, a camel can often see well enough to keep walking in the midst of a sandstorm.
[25] Glands in the camel's eye supply a lot of water in order to keep the eye moist under extremely dry conditions. Located far back on the head are small rounded ears. These ears are covered in hair, including the inside of the ear, which helps keep out airborne sand and dust. [26] The camel's valvular nostrils are lined with hair and work on the same principle as the ears to protect it from airborne sand and dust. [27] A camel's nose is also designed to trap moisture from the lungs when the animal exhales, thereby saving water. [28]

Camels are mobile browsers and have a deeply split upper lip. Their split lip is ideally suited to stripping leaves from even the most prickly trees and shrubs. With their long neck, they can reach 11 1/2 ft. (3.5 m) high and can feed on tough thorny plants that even sheep and goats would pass over.
[29] They can do this because of stiff hairs on their nose that permit them to push their way into thorny plants and thick skin inside their mouth that thorns cannot pierce. [30] They also like (even need) extremely salty plants that grow at salt lakes and other locations. Inside the camel's mouth are 34 strong sharp teeth, that can be used as weapons, as well as for feeding. [31] Although camels will normally select the freshest vegetation available, when food is scarce, they are omnivore. This means they eat everything, fresh plants, dried plants, bones, fish, meat, leather, and even on occasion their owner's tent. Camels are called ruminant feeders, because they do not chew their food before swallowing it. Instead, later after feeding, they regurgitate some of it (which is now politely called cud) and finish chewing it. Then, it's three chambered stomach can complete the digestion. [32] When a camel cannot find food, it's hump will shrink, droop to one side, or even slide off the camel's back to one side. However, the hump will rapidly return to size in a few weeks once the camel finds food. [33]

sitting camel

Image Source for two camels: Neil Carey
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Creative Commons 2.0

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