Camels in the desert. [iStockphoto] 

Camels are sometimes called the ‘ships of the desert’ because they carry lots of things through the desert. They are mammals.

What is inside a camel’s hump? Most people think water, but they are wrong. It is fat. This gives camels energy if they run out of food. A camel will spit and kick if provoked. 

Camels do not really spit but are actually bringing the contents of their stomach along with saliva and project it out. They do this to scare or distract whatever it is that is threatening them. The spit is vomit! Not nice.

Camels live on average 40 to 50 years. A large camel can drink around 113 litres in just 13 minutes, making them able to rehydrate faster than any other mammal.

Long eyelashes, ear hair, and closable nostrils keep sand from affecting the camel, while their wide feet help them move without sinking into the sand. Camels can also close their nostrils.

Camels are well suited to the hot sandy deserts they roam in. Their thick coat insulates them from heat and also lightens during summer to help reflect heat.

When camels walk they move both legs on one side of their body and then the other. Their feet are also flat and wide. Both of these features help them from sinking into the sand.

A camel’s long legs help its body to be high from the hot desert surface and a pad of thick tissue called a pedestal raises the body slightly when the camel sits to allow cool air to pass underneath.

Camels rest lying down with their legs tucked under them.