It all started as a light conversation under the pine trees just before an Open Farm Day. We brainstormed a list of what questions we were asked most often. From there we thought... wouldn't the answers make a neat shirt? By just giving the answers, people would think of the questions themselves... what a fun way to engage people!
Our own resident artist and camel handler, Tricia Krussow came up with a super cute sketch... that's when we knew this had to be a T shirt!
The answers really give the questions away but just in case you want the whole enchilada... here ya go!
Camels can easily live up to thirty-five years old. Just like us humans, some live longer natural lives and some shorter. With consistently good animal husbandry and care, they are a long lived animal.
Dromedary (one-humped camels... also known as the arabian camel) can be as tall as six to seven feet at the shoulder.
Interestingly, when measuring a camel, you do not measure the height of the hump as that can vary with the amount of food and activity.
Camels do not have hooves. They are not like horses or even like the feet of goats, cattle, giraffe, etc.
They have a soft, padded foot with toenails. In many ways, they are very similar to our own foot or a dog's foot with the obvious exception of having only two toes on each foot. The pad of the camels foot is specialized and spreads out when the camel's body weight bares down on it keeping the camel from sinking in sand... like a snow shoe (or sand shoe)
Camels are herbivores. They are browsers which means that they do not only eat grasses on the ground like horses and cattle, they reach up into bushes and trees for leaves as well.
On our farm, our camels eat a variety of hay including alfalfa and bermuda grass hay while they also roam our pastures eating the natural grasses and bushes. In addition we offer our camels tree branches and bush branches like acacia, California pepper, palm branches, mustard plants, tumbleweeds and dandelion greens.
Occasional grain, especially offered to a mother nursing her calf or a camel who is exercising a lot (like one of our geldings who gives camel rides to guests) is a welcome supplement but too much grain is not not needed and not particularly good for camels.
It is also important to provide camels with salt and other essential minerals.
Camels are less about speed and more about endurance. That being said, a racing camel in Saudi Arabia regularly achieves speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
At those speeds they are galloping like horses do. But camels prefer a slower pace called .... a pace. They do not trot like horses... their equivalent gait is called a pace. In the pace, both right legs move together and both left legs move together.
In fact, watch a camel at the walk. You will see that even at the walk, their right side moves together and their left side moves together. This creates the rocking or swaying motion that earned the camel the nickname, "ship of the desert".
Yes, yes a thousand times yes. They are highly intelligent and communicative. They have a very involved social hierarchy that utilizes vocalizations and body language to communicate.
When teaching camels, they soak up information like giant sponges. It is common to finish a teaching session in the afternoon only to see the next day that your camel has not only retained what you taught them but has thought about it and is further along then where you left off.
Because camels are so intelligent and communication is vital to them, it is extremely important that they are given good guidance, stimulation and teaching at the correct ages.
We also feel that camels raised by camels rather than by humans have better social skills and are more emotionally balanced.
If given the opportunity, a camel will drink water every day. At the Oasis Camel Dairy, our camels have access to water at all times. When they are at work, like when they are giving camel rides to guests, we take them to the water at regular intervals.
Camels like water. They especially like slurping it out of a hose, off the ground or off the edges of roofs of their barns
However, camels are adapted to live deep in the desert where finding food can take them far, far away from water.
Camels easily go two weeks without a drop of water to drink in the harshest of desert environments.
Not only do they survive... they thrive.
A camel can travel at a steady pace for over ten hours a day carrying loads up to six hundred pounds or nurse their calves while trekking for weeks without water.
The secret to the camel's ability to go without water does not lie in her hump. It lies in her blood...
Most mammals have round red blood cells. Camels have elliptical shaped red blood cells. The elliptical shape withstands the higher osmotic pressure that water-depleted blood places on the red blood cells. Camels can loose up to 25% of their body weight in water without experiencing deadly side effects.
The hump is not full of water. It is made up of thick fat. The size of the hump depends on how much extra food is around.
The fat is grisly and has poor circulation. That is a good thing! It serves as insulation to protect the camel from the intense heat of the desert sun.
Ok... how could we NOT include this! Believe it or not, we do not get tired of being asked what day it is or hearing someone walk up to the camels saying, "Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike"
From the first airing of GEICO's famous commercial featuring the happier than a camel on hump day start, American's began to see camels in a very different light.
As silly as the scinario seems on film, the commercial does a great job in capturing the playful, easygoing, digs-their-job, digs-their-coworkers way camels really are.
That commercial has gone a long way in helping Americans fall in love with camels.
We are thrilled when we are asked... "Hey.. what day is it?"
Why? Well, it really took a ton of heat of the question we are asked the most...........
No, our camels do not spit.
Camels can spit. Bactrian camels seem to be more likely to spit conversationally.
Our twenty-plus years working with our camels has taught us that happy camels do not spit. In fact, even if we have to do something our camels do not enjoy like giving them a shot or even an oral examination; they will tell us about it but they do not spit on us.
So when does a camel spit? A camel can learn to spit as a way to get out of doing something she does not want to do. A camel may spit because they are anticipating an unpleasant experience that they do not understand.
Working with camels is like good parenting. You are loving but you are in charge. You are the boss but you are a boss that listens. When camels feel safe and secure; when they enjoy the company of humans and their camel pasture mates, then there is no reason to escalate to the dramatic display of spitting.
Teaching people about camels and learning about them is a great joy. If you have a question you might like us to answer, please feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Be sure to mention that you took a look at our TOP 10 CAMEL ANSWERS page.
Also, if you would like to order a T shirt, let us know... we will let you know what sizes, colors and styles we have in stock.