Why do camels have curved necks

Body type of the camel


One of the most important properties is certainly the ability to do without water for a long time. Contrary to popular belief, the camel does not store water in its hump, but fat and connective tissue. Some of the fat can be converted into water through the absorption of oxygen. The camel can store up to 40 kg of fat in its humps and serve as an energy store when there is a food shortage. Bumps that hang limply over the back are not a sign of thirst, but of weak connective tissue. This connective tissue weakness cannot be observed in the wild camels of Mongolia, this camel genus is the only still existing camel species that can be traced back to wild camels.

The water balance is not only regulated via the humps, but the water is drawn evenly from all body fluids. Camels also have unique blood. In no other mammal in the world does the blood cope so well with a lack of water, but also with an excess of water, as with the camels. The camel can drink 120 liters of water in one fell swoop and the red, oval blood cells simply grow larger without bursting.

Camels can lose up to 40% of their body water without being harmed. (In humans, 10% would be life-threatening, with 12% water loss certain death occurs through heat stroke or thirst) The camel also "saves" in its water balance by only starting to sweat from around 40 ° Celsius.

The temperature regulation of the camels also reacts differently to all other animals. They tolerate body temperature fluctuations of up to 7 degrees Celsius without the regulatory mechanisms, such as sweating or trembling, starting.

As soon as a thirsty camel has picked up the scent of a waterhole, it runs headlessly straight towards it.

Legs and feet:

Camels are long-legged and passers-by, so they have no tension skin between the torso and thighs. There are only two toes on each foot, the front edge of which is protected by curved nails (no hoof shells).
In contrast to the other artifacts living today, the callous soles occur with the sole surface of the last and penultimate limb of their middle fingers and toes, the sole surface is padded with thick, springy calluses made of connective tissue.
The metacarpal and metatarsal bones are each fused together to form a cannon leg. The forearm bones are partially fused together. Remnants of the fibula are still present on the shin.

Hand and foot skeleton of a camel.
The 1st, 2nd and 5th toes have completely disappeared.
Only the 3rd and 4th toes are left.

Various calluses are found on the sternum, elbow, wrist, heel and knee.

Mouth, nose, ears, eyes, throat
The upper lip is split. This enables the camels to "pluck" the last leaves from even the thorny bushes without injuring their lips.

The nostrils are slit-shaped and can be completely closed (e.g. in sandstorms).
The eyes have extremely long eyelashes and the ears are very hairy, which also protects the animals from penetrating sand.
In the milk teeth of the young animals there are still 6 incisors, in the permanent teeth there are only the two outer ones. The canines and molars are curved in the shape of a hook, the molars have cusps that are elongated in a columnar shape and covered with a layer of dental cement.

The neck is long, curved and very flexible. The neck is also used as a powerful weapon in power struggles among one another. So a camel is quite capable of kicking a person with its neck.


The most common cause of diseases, sometimes even fatal, is parasite infestation.
Worm invasions, mites, bacteria, viruses and skin fungi.
Foot and mouth disease also affects callous soles. Camels are also at risk from rabies, cattle lung disease and rinderpest.
Heart, circulatory, kidney and liver diseases in connection with ascites are often caused by chronic infections, tumor spread or persistent food intoxication.

Camels are ruminants and therefore, similar to the cow, have a stomach that is divided into four chambers. The cell walls of the forage plants are broken down in the first three chambers and the digestive proteins are released in the last, the abomasum.


- short and simple appendix.
- no gallbladder
- the penis sheath is directed backwards
- Body temperature adapts to the respective outside temperature and can fluctuate between 34 ° and 41 ° Celsius.
- Embryonic dromedaries go through a two-humped phase, although dromedaries and trample cannot be clearly attributed to ONE original form. So we have to speak of two types here.