Camels: One hump or two?
Camels were domesticated more than 3,000 years ago, and to this day, humans depend on them for transport across arid environments. They can easily carry an extra 200 pounds (90 kilograms) while walking 20 miles (32 kilometers) a day in the harsh desert. They can travel as fast as horses but can also endure legendary periods of time without food or water. Humans have used camels for their wool, milk, meat, leather, and even dung that can be used for fuel.
The Zoo is home to a small herd of Bactrian (two-humped) camels. They don’t have to work nearly as hard as their brethren: in fact, they have an easy life here! The camel exhibit’s main yard is surrounded by towering eucalyptus trees and shaded by large ficus trees. A gnarled root structure is perfect for the occasional itch and comes in handy when the camels shed their heavy winter coats in favor of a sleek summer one.
To one side of the exhibit is a wagon like the type pulled by domestic camels in Russia and parts of Upper Asia. In the front to the camel exhibit you’ll find a large camel “sketchbook.” Turn its pages to learn more about these fascinating ships of the desert.