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Why do camels have humps?

Camel is called the ‘ship of the desert’ because it has the ability to survive in a desert without food and water for six to ten days. It is able to withstand the loss of about one-third of their body fluid without danger. Its nose, ears and eyes are formed in such a way that the dust in the desert does not affect them. It is a very useful animal in the desert for it can carry heavy loads and can travel long distances easily with its padded feet. It is believed that a camel does not require food very frequently due to its body constitution. It can store food and water for many days. Camel has a big hump on its back, which is a storehouse of fat. The camel uses the fat so stored as a source of energy during its long journey in deserts. Inside its belly, it has two flask-shaped bags for storing water. When it does not get water, it uses this water. It is because of the fats and the water stored in the hump and the bags respectively, that it is possible for it to go without food for a long time. Before starting on a long journey, a camel consumes large quantities of food and water so that enough fats and water get stored in its body. After a long journey, the hump of the camel becomes loose, as the fat stored in it is almost exhausted. The water too gets exhausted. With the gradual intake of food and water, it becomes strong and healthy again.

Camel has been man’s companion for ages. The people of Egypt tamed the camel around 3,000 years ago. Camels are mainly found in Africa and Asia. The one-humped camel is found in Africa, while the two-humped or Bacterian camel is found from Asia Minor to Manchuria and a few wild species are also found in Gobi desert.

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