Genus and Species: Camelus bactrianus bactrianus
As opposed to one-humped dromedaries, Bactrian camels have two humps. These humps store fat to help ensure the animal's survival when food is scarce.
Physical Description: The coloring of their coat ranges from deep brown to beige. They shed their heavy, darker winter coat each year. They are even-toed ungulates (as are gazelles and goats) with wide, padded feet and calloused knees. They have heavy eyelashes, a cleft upper lip, and nostrils that can close to keep out sand.
Size: From head to tail, they measure 260 to 400 cm, and average about seven feet tall at the shoulder. They weigh 300 to 690 kg.
Status: The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals lists wild Bactrian camels as critically endangered.
Geographic Distribution: Wild Bactrian camels live in northwestern China and Mongolia. Domesticated Bactrians can be found throughout Central Asia.
Habitat: Camels are built for extreme temperatures, from minus 40°F to well above 100°F. They live in steppe grasslands and desert areas.
Diet: Camels will eat nearly any vegetation growing in the desert. They can drink salty and brackish water.
Reproduction: After a 12- to 15-month pregnancy, a female gives birth to a single offspring, weighing about 37 kg. The young reaches adult size in about five years.
Behavior: Camels can be found alone or in groups of up to 30 individuals, led by a single adult male.
Life Span: Camels can live up to 50 years.
Camels were first domesticated 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. Most domestic camels today are dromedaries living in Africa. Domestic Bactrians live in Central Asia. Camels can carry hundreds of pounds of cargo up to 30 miles a day.
Unlike many other animals, camels move both legs on one side of the body at the same time.