The one-humped camel or dromedary is a large, even-toed ungulate of the camel family, with one hump on its back. It is not really known where the one-humped camel has been discovered. As a domestic animal it was probably first used in Somalia or the Arabian Peninsula about 4,000 years ago. Dromedaries’ wild form is not survived until nowadays. There are about 15 million one-humped camels living in the world, all of which are domestic animals or descendants of domestic camels, even if they live in wildlife, such as the Australian feral camel.
The first one-humped camel in the „Rakši” was imported in July 2013.
The one-humped camel is a large even-toed ungulate, the second largest species in the camel family. Just a little bigger is only a two- humped camel.
Males are bigger than females. Its body height at withers is 1.8 – 2.1 m, body length 3 m, weight 400 – 600 kg. A very large male can weigh up to 1,000 kg, keeping abreast height of the two-humped camel. Female height at withers is 1.7 to 1.9 m, weight 300-540 kg.
The one-humped camel has a long, curved neck, deep, narrow breast and one hump on its back, where the fat is accumulated in the connective tissues – the food reserves for the hard times. The size of the hump depends on the camel feeding facilities. It gets smaller when the amount of food is decreasing, as well as in starvation conditions.
Lips of the one-humped camel are thick and suitable for picking sharp, thorny plants. Caramel brown or sand yellow coat is characteristic to it, although there can also be very dark brown, almost black or almost white specimens.
The coat hair on the dewlap, shoulders and hump grows longer than on the rest of the body. The one-humped camel has long legs and two toes on each foot. Wide feet, like all the tylopods, are suitable for travelling on the hot sand, but they can easily be injured with sharp rocks and they are very slippery in a wet, muddy weather.
Unlike many other four-footed mammals, while walking the one-humped camel moves both one side legs of the body at the same time, then the other side legs. Thereby it walks by swinging from one side to the other. Giraffes have a likewise pace.
The male has a soft palate that hangs down during the mating season and is visible in the corners of the mouth, thus attracting the attention of the females. The soft palate in the corners of the mouth non-experts tend to consider as the tongue.
To protect the eyes from the sand, the one-humped camel has very thick eyelashes and bushy eyebrows, but in order to maintain maximum of water in the body, he is able to change its own temperature (min. 34 ° C, max. 41.7 ° C). The one-humped camel has very good vision and sense of smell.
The one-humped camel females reach sexual maturity at age 3, but for the first time they mate at 4 or 5 years of age. Also the males reach sexual maturity at 3 years of age, but the vigorous years reach at the age of 6. Mating occurs at the winter and peaks in the rainy season. If the females do not pair, oestrus starts again. One oestrus lasts only a few days.
During the mating season, males not only mark the area around the females, but also splash their tails with the urine. There is a pale, soft palate visible in the corners of their mouth, also strengthens the releasing of their saliva. They try to influence each other with as much height as possible, straightening their selves and trying to stay possibly higher than the opponent is. At the same time they produce low sounds, bending their necks.
A single calf is born after a gestation period of 15 months. Shortly after the birth, he is able to follow his mother. Mother takes care of her calf for 1 – 2 years. On average, a one-humped camel lives up to 40 years of age, but under lenient conditions, for example, in a zoo up to 50 years.