10 Camel Adaptations (Evolutionary Secrets!)

Camel Adaptations

Examples of camel adaptations includethe hump, long eyelashes, and nostrils that they can close at will. These adaptations are all geared to allowing them to live in the desert.

The camel is a formidable animal, capable of not only surviving in the desert but also living alongside humans. They are the most useful animals in the middle east, and their ability to withstand harsh desert conditions makes them the perfect companion for traveling long distances.

Camel Adaptations

1. Long Eyelashes

Camels have long eyelashes that help them keep the sand away from their eyes. In addition, camels have thick eyebrows that protect their eyes from the harsh light coming from the sun.

To top all these, camels have an extra set of protective eyelids. The eyelid has a nictating membrane, the function of which is to cover the sensitive part of the eyes when the sand is blowing in the desert. The third eyelid is what makes camels see effectively in the desert.

2. Elongated Nostrils

Camels have amazing noses. They have wide and elongated nostrils to help them cool the exhaled air. The nose also removes water vapor, allowing the camel to save water.

The camel’s nose is also a natural dehumidifier. When a camel exhales, the air cools, so the water vapor goes back to its body. Camels can also close their noses when the sand is blowing. If they do, sand cannot come in, and they stay safe—it is bad to inhale sand.

3. Thick Skin

Camels adapted to the desert by developing thick skin. This thick skin is not at all hairy, but it serves as a thermoregulator. The skin helps the camel regulate body temperature.

The thick skin also protects the camel from extreme heat. Without it, the insides of the camel will dehydrate. In addition to this, deserts can get extremely cold at night. The thick skin makes the camel feel warm when temperatures get really low. 

4. Osmotic Cells

The skin of a camel has water-storing osmotic cells. It means that the cells themselves function as a storage device.

Osmosis is a process of moving water molecules from one that has a lot of water to another that has less water concentration. Since camels have osmotic cells, it is easier for these cells to share water with each other, thus making the camel hydrated.

5. The Humps

The hump of a camel can store a lot of fat. This fat eventually gets released as energy and water when the camel needs it.

Contrary to popular belief, camels do not store water in their humps. They store energy there, and it is the secret to why camels can last for days in the desert without food and water. Their bodies are also equipped with the capability to convert this stored fat into energy.

6. Thick Lips

The thick lip of a camel allows it to eat many types of vegetation in the desert that other herbivores would typically avoid. This is how they can survive the desert despite plants not being abundant.

It is important for camels to be able to eat what is available, considering that the desert is dry land that has little vegetation. Because of these thick lips, camels can eat a cactus with no problems.

The mouth structure of a camel is hard—the camel can easily bite and munch prickly pear cactus. Their mouth has a hard palate that works like a mortar and pestle, along with their tongue and teeth.

Their lips can also wiggle separately (upper and lower lips) which allows them to get close to the food and munch better. 

7. Super Strength

Camels are super strong, and it is why humans domesticated them over 3,000 years ago. Camels can carry 600 pounds of load, and they can sustain this load for 70 miles in a day.

What makes camels so formidable is that they can walk for 12 hours straight without even drinking! They can last in the desert for 15 days without water, and they can cover up to 75 miles in a day!

8. Fast Hydration

Camels can rehydrate faster than any mammal with no health issues. They can drink up to 30 gallons in one sitting in less than 5 minutes, which many mammals cannot do.

Typically, mammals should never drink too much when extremely dehydrated, as it can cause what is called hyponatremia. It is a condition where sodium in the blood is abnormally low, and the body cannot regulate the amount of water that goes into the cells.

9. Flat Feet

Camels have evolved flat feet to help them grasp the sand better. The large and flat feet give them a better surface area and move better.

With this kind of foot, the camel has an advantage in the desert. As the camel walks, it produces less pressure, and it can move around easily.

One cool fact is that camels may have hooves, but they do not use these hooves to walk. On each leg, a camel has toes that prevent the camel from sinking. Some camels, like dromedaries, have foot pads that give them better traction on sand.

10. Long Necks

Like giraffes, camels developed long necks to make it easier for them to reach food. They can also see predators easily as they have a wider and higher view of their surroundings.

Camels developed long necks because they also have long legs. If a camel had a short neck, it would take a lot of energy for it to go down on all four legs and reach food on the ground. The long neck allows them to stay upright standing and still reach that yummy cactus.

Conclusion

Camels are a marvel of nature, and they are seriously adapted to their environment. Be it food storage or heat dissipation; they can withstand harsh situations in the desert.

Camels are strong, and they can carry heavy loads for dozens of miles in a day. They do not have to drink water, and their humps are excellent storage for fat and energy reserves that can keep them going.

Skip to content