Fallacy: A camel’s hump is full of water

What is in a camel’s hump? 

Many people think that a camel’s hump is full of water. But this is not true. It is a fallacy.

The camel’s hump contains fat. The fat is the camel’s stored food so that it can travel in the desert without eating. It is ‘emergency food.’

The Bactrian Camel can carry about 36 kilograms (80 pounds) of fat on its back. As the camel consumes the stored fat, the hump reduces in size, and often shrinks and droops down, until the camel eats solid food again, and then the hump returns to its upright position. 

The Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus) from Central Asia, for example, has two humps. The Dromedary Camel (Camelus dromedarius), from northern Africa and the Middle East has one hump on its back.

Baby camels do not gain their hump until they start eating solid food. They drink their mother’s milk for about 18 months before they have solid food. 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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