Classroom Resources

Resources about camels and camel culture for kids and classrooms.

Camel FAQs

Download a handout of Camel FAQs

There are three species of camels and they live in two different parts of the world. Arabian camels have one hump and live in North Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia. Bactrian camels have two humps and live in central Asian countries like China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia among others. A hybrid cross of these two and has one large hump across its back, but isn’t considered its own species. The third species of camel is a truly wild two-humped camel of China and Mongolia called camelus ferus.

Strictly speaking, no, they regurgitate. Being ruminants (cud chewers, like cattle), camels vomit involuntarily when frightened or threatened. This is purely a defensive behavior, but can indicate harsh treatment or poor breeding.

30 years is a camel's life expectancy. They are full-grown around 8 years old and can work well in to their 20s.

Camels can grow to be as much as 2,000 pounds, but average 1500-1800 pounds. Males tend to be bigger than females. Baby camels weigh around 75 pounds at birth and stand 3 to 4 feet high.

Camels can be a variety of colors, from solid white to dark black and all shades in between. There are even white camels with black and brown spots in parts of Africa.

Fat. Storybooks and movies may tell us that the hump is full of water, but this is a myth. The hump is the reason a camel can go so long without eating or drinking. The fat is reabsorbed, or metabolized, by the blood to provide nutrition in times of need. When drawn upon, the hump will shrink in size.

There can be a lack of connective tissue in the humps, but there is no negative impact on workability for Bactrian camels with floppy humps.

Female camels carry their young for 13 months, then give birth to a single offspring. Twins are extremely rare.

Almost anything that grows! From the rare grasses to the thorniest bushes and cacti, camels can't be choosy, because so little grows in the desert. While they can be fed hay and grain, native camel owners try to browse their camels in areas known for abundant and diverse plant life.

In the winter, when hydration needs are lower, a camel could go without drinking for up to 30 days, obtaining needed moisture from green plants. Standard practice, though, is to offer water every 3-4 days anytime of year.

Timeline of Camel Corps History

Learn more about the Texas Camel Corps here. Download this history as a handout.

1836 - General George Crossman recommends camels for military use; assigns Major Henry C. Wayne to study feasibility.

March 3, 1855 - Jefferson Davis's $30,000 camel appropriation passed by Congress.

May 10, 1855 - Davis orders Wayne to go with Navy Lt. David D. Porter to the Levant for camels. Navy storeship USS Supply is outfitted with special barn between decks to accommodate camels.

July 8, 1855 - Camp Verde established in Texas northwest of San Antonio. February 15, 1856 - Voyage home begins from the Levant with 33 camels.

May 14, 1856 - 34 camels (one born en route) are unloaded onto Texas soil at Lake Powderhorn, 3 miles below port city of Indianola.

August 26, 1856 - Camels arrive at Camp Verde.

November 15, 1856 - Supply sets sail from the Levant with a second load of 44 camels. Syrian camel driver Hadji Ali (Hi Jolly) aboard.

February 10, 1857 - Supply lands at Indianola with 41 camels (3 died en route).

May, 1857 - Second group of camels arrives at Camp Verde.

June 25, 1857 - Beale expedition sets out from San Antonio with 25 camels, surveying a wagon road from Ft. Defiance New Mexico Territory to eastern border of California on the Colorado River.

May 23, 1859 - Echols/Hartz expedition departs Camp Hudson with camels for reconnaissance of Big Bend region of Texas

June 11, 1860 - Echols expedition commences with 20 camels to map new supply routes and survey new fort sites on the Rio Grande.

February 28, 1861 - Camp Verde surrendered to Confederacy. 80 camels on post at the time

September 9, 1863 - US government advertises Beale's 25 camels for sale in California. Entire herd bought by Samuel McLeneghan (McLaughlin), California rancher.

March 9, 1866 - 66 Texas camels auctioned for $31 each. Entire herd bought by Bethel Coopwood for use in mail run trom Laredo, Texas to Mexico City.

November 30, 1869 - Camp Verde abandoned.

Fort Davis and Uncle Sam’s Camels

Download a curriculum handout for grades 2-4 about the role of camels in transportation in the 19th century southwest United States.

Coloring sheet

Download a PDF of this coloring sheet.

Copyright © 2023 NACROA • All rights reserved

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram