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Camel

CLASS

Mammals

FAMILY

Camelidae

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Camelus bactrianus

WHERE IS IN THE PARK

Safari

The bactrian camel is an Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulate) mammal, from the Camelidae family. It is a close relative of the dromedary, with which it shares the general morphology. The camels are distinguished from dromedaries by having two humps rather than a single one, and by a considerably longer fur. Wild camels (camelus ferus) are nearly extinct and can only be found in small pockets in China and Mongolia, in the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts. All the camels outside of these areas are domesticated and constitute a separate species (camelus bactrian).
The camels are impressive mammals, that can reach a height at the withers equal to 180 – 230 cm, a head-and-body length of 225 – 350 cm and a weight between 300 and 1,000 kg. The relationship between man and camel is known from ancient times, the first attempts to domesticate the camel dates back to 2,500 BC. Thanks to its tolerance to extreme weather conditions (temperatures below zero up to extreme heat), its ability to withstand long periods without water and its indefatigability in covering long distances, the camel was used as a beast of burden and war by many civilizations. Introduced also in Italy in Roman times, it is currently raised in zoos and circuses. It is herbivorous and it can virtually eat any type of vegetation, whether it is dry, thorny, salty or bitter. Thanks to its size, the camel has no natural predator to hide from. Only in few areas is hunted by the grey wolf. Average life expectancy is about 50 years (20 – 40 in captivity).

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