Our next stop in our notebooking safari across Asia takes us to the United Arab Emirates. If you’re new to the notebooking safari, visit our first stop here.
Our next animal is one that I know you’ve heard of before. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the animal you think of first when you think of hot, sandy deserts—a camel! Camels play many important roles throughout the Middle East. People here use them much like people in other nations use horses and cattle. Camels provide a reliable method of transportation, as well as meat, milk, and hides. If it were not for the reliable and hard-working camel, we would not have had the mighty caravans that traveled the Silk Road and other trade routes in Asia.
There are two types of camels, the dromedary (or Arabian) camel and the Bactrian camel. They are easy to tell apart—the dromedary has one hump and the Bactrian has two. They also live in very different places. The Bactrian camel is normally found in Central and East Asia. The dromedary camel is the type you’ll most often find all through the Middle East and Sahara region of Africa.
We don’t have to go far to see a camel. As a matter of fact, I thought you might like the chance to ride on one for yourself. Are you ready? Look, their owner is bringing our rides now!
Why are your eyes getting so big? Oh, you weren’t expecting it to be so big, were you? Camels can grow more than 7 feet (2 meters) tall (at the hump). We’ll have to wait to get on board until the owner has the camel kneel.
OK, are you on board and ready to go? Hold on tight! The rhythm of a camel walking feels a little strange to get used to at first. Instead of moving one front foot and the opposite back foot at the same time, like many animals do, the camel moves both feet on one side of its body then moves both feet on the other side of its body.
The humps that camels are so famous for are critical to their survival in the desert. A dromedary’s hump can store up to 80 pounds (36 kg) of fat that can be broken down into water and nutrients if a camel can’t eat or drink for a long period of time. Trust me, out here in the desert, there are lots of times food and water aren’t easy to find!
I’ll tell you more about the neat ways God equipped the dromedary to thrive out here in the desert next week. We’ll see lots more in the next country we’re going to visit!
To see a picture of a dromedary camel and to hear it for yourself, click here.
Using the information you find here, answer the following questions:
True or False:
1. A thirsty camel can drink up to 30 gallons of water at one time.
2. A camel can go without water for several months.
3. A camel can travel up to 200 miles without a drink.
Research challenge: What happens to a camel’s hump as it uses up the fat stored in its hump? Does it stay the same size? Does it shrink? Does it turn into flab?
Don’t miss Part Two of our dromedary camel study next week!
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