As much by its morphology as by its physiology, the dromedary is cut to live in the desert. Domesticated for thousands of years, the mammal displays a resistance exceptional heat, thus allowing man to stay in these regions inhospitable.
The dromedary, cousin of the camel
The dromedary (Camelius dromedarius) is a mammal of the family camelids and of the camelus genus. Like the camel, it sports a long neck and a short tail punctuated with a brush of hair (see the differences between the camel and the dromedary). With a only bump on the back, it differs from its cousin who has two. The dromedary wears a dress varying in color from sand to brown, including fawn. The animal is perched on tall, slender legs with broad feet bearing two toes, unlike other herbivores which have hooves. The camelid is a ambleur, that is to say he moves by moving both legs forward on the same side at the same time. It measures 2.20 to 3.40m long and weighs between 400 kg and a ton.
Draft dromedary and racing dromedary
We distinguish two types of dromedaries:
- The dromedary of trait helps nomadic and sedentary populations in various agricultural work: transporting loads, plowing fields, drawing water from wells, turning grain mills … Its fleece is used to make blankets, woolens, ropes while its flesh low in fat and its milk are consumed;
- The dromedary of race rode like a horse. Weighing no more than 600 kg, it is very fast. The animal can run at 50 km / h at average speed and up to 70 km / h at peak. Dromedary racing is a very popular in countries like Saudi Arabia, Australia and India.
His body is adapted to desert life
The knees and chest of the dromedary are equipped with pads allowing him to hut (crouch) without suffering from the scorching ground. His wide foot and elastic acts like a tire when walking in the desert. To protect itself from winds, sand and dust, the dromedary closes its nostrils while a double row of eyelashes protects his eyes. Her thick lips can grab the branches thorny and the thick skin on his back helps fight the heat. In summer, its coat falls, thus favoring the cooling of his body.
The dromedary resists dehydration and undernutrition
The dromedary is the only mammal capable of drinking hundred liters of water in ten minutes. Any other animal would die from such ingurgitation by bursting its globules red. In the dry season, the animal can thus go three weeks without drinking and up to six weeks in the cool season. In periods of extreme heat, the dromedary develops mechanisms allowing it to save water: it urinates little, does not sweat and adapts its temperature body at room temperature. On the other hand, its bump contains fat (which can turn into water) helping him resist when he has nothing to eat or drink.
The dromedary only lives in arid areas
The distribution area of the dromedary is in North Africa (mainly in Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia), the Middle East and the Near East, more specifically in the Arabian Peninsula in southwest Asia. Numerous attempts tointroduction have been carried out over the centuries (in South Africa, South America, United States, Caribbean, Europe) but only Australia that the animal has successfully reproduced. The animal lives in hot deserts and arid environments because thehumidity excessive is unfavorable to its survival.
The dromedary, herbivorous animal
Food being scarce in the desert, the dromedary eats what it finds: brush, dry grass, leaves ofthorny, bark, seeds. Shrubs and herbs make up up to 70% of its diet and its preference is for halophyte plants (rich in salt and therefore in water). Thanks to its long neck, the dromedary can reach the layers superior plant formations. By selecting only a few leaves from each plant, it promotes push back vegetation and thus preserves its ecological environment.
The dromedary: gregarious outside the rut period
The dromedary is a group of ten to twenty individuals composed of several females, juveniles and led by a male dominant. Although very attentive to his harem, he reveals himself sociable and gregarious. However, during the breeding season (in winter), its behavior becomes aggressive. The rivals then seek to impress each other by trying to bite each other, to give headshots, until they fight. After mating, the gestation lasts between 12 and 14 months. The female stands aside to give birth to a single cub weighing between 25 and 50 kg which will be able to walk a few hours later. The mother and her camel can thus join the herd the next day. The baby will be breastfed for 1 year but will not take his independence only at the age of 2 years.
The dromedary no longer lives in the wild
Domesticated and protected by man, the dromedary no longer has predator natural. Around 20 million people on the whole planet, its numbers are not in danger. The species is classified as Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The dromedary has an average life expectancy of 25 years.