A common question about camels is what do camels store in their humps? You have no doubt heard stories about the wonderful endurance of camels plodding through the desert for days without a drink, living on the water stored in their humps.
The claims for the camel’s endurance are often exaggerated but it is true that this animal can survive for several days without taking water.
What do camels store in their humps?
However, the camel does not fill its hump with water before it starts such a journey, rather as you might fill a car’s tank with petrol.
The humps are composed of fatty tissues which break down to give energy during periods when the camel is without sufficient food.
Water is stored by the camel in its tissues and it draws on this supply as it plods along. After a long journey the camel is usually very thin and dried up and it takes an enormous drink as soon as it can, to make up the and it takes an enormous drink as soon as it can, to make up the loss. It drinks over 20 gallons of water in ten minutes.
Do all Camels have humps?
Apart from the two species of camel already mentioned, there are four other members of the camel family which do not posses humps. These are the Llama, Guanaco, Alpaca and Vicuna, all from South America. From the time of the Inca civilization these animals have been domesticated by man, and to this day they are invaluable to Indians living at high altitudes.
They are used mainly as beasts of burden and will happily bear loads of up to 100 pounds in weight if properly handled. A Llama that is annoyed will spit in the face of the offender with great accuracy.
What use are antlers?
The male of most species of deer bears antlers. As these are grown throughout the year only to be shed soon after the breeding season they seem to be rather pointless. During the breeding season males spar by clashing antlers together but these are more trials of strength then serous fights.
A recent, most interesting theory on the purpose of antlers is that they help to keep the deer cool during the summer months. As they grow, they are covered in skin richly supplied with blood vessels. In warm weather body heat would quickly be lost from such surfaces. As the time for breeding approaches, the skin (velvet) falls off.
Many of the even-toed ungulates bear paired bony outgrowths form their skulls. Some are skin covered and either drop off each year (for example, in deer) or are permanent (for example, in the giraffe). Others are covered in horn (for example, in cattle).
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