Bactrian camel

They’ve certainly got the hump…well, two actually.

It’s not all hot, hot, hot!

The Bactrian camel is one of the most adaptable creatures on the planet. They can withstand extreme changes in temperature, ideal for their natural home ranges in Northern Asia. Amazingly, they can cope with temperatures that swing between +40°C in the summer and -30°C in the winter.

Their two humps work in exactly the same way that they do on a single humped, or dromedary camel. The humps are areas for storing fat. They use the fat by turning it into energy so they can go for a long time without food or water.

When the humps on a Bactrian camel are full of fat they stand upright. When their fat reserves are low then the humps become droopy.

You may also notice that during the summer our Bactrian camels look a little, well, untidy. That’s because that amazing thick fur coat that they have to keep them warm in the winter is of no use in the summer, so they shed it, or take it off! This happens by itself mostly but you may well see James or Genghis having a good rub up against their house to try and help it along.


Bactrian camels are actually critically endangered. The biggest threat to them is humans destroying their natural habitat for farming and mining. Also, through the introduction of livestock into certain areas so the camels find themselves competing for food.

The governments of Mongolia and and China have agreed to work together in order to stop the decline Bactrian camels.

Bactrian camel questions and answers

How long do Bactrian camels live for?
They can live up to 40 years.

Why is it known as the Bactrian camel?
It comes from an old name once used to describe a certain part of central Asia.

What do they like to eat?
Thorny shrubs, grasses and seeds.

Bactrian camel

Can camels run fast?
They can actually. Although they walk very slowly, they are actually capable of reaching speeds up to 40mph.

Why are their feet so big?
This is to help them walk on sand. Their soles have a large surface area to prevent them sinking into the sand.

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