Desert animals are distinguishable by their physical adaptations to be able to live in a harsh, dry environment. In the desert, water can be scarce and temperatures can reach upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). This is why desert dwellers, such as the Camel and the Jackrabbit, have evolved to be equipped to handle extreme conditions with the Camel having the ability to store and carry large amounts of water and the Jackrabbit with large ears that help cool and deflect heat. Not only can deserts be extremely hot, but their temperatures can also drop at night, as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) due to the lack of cloud cover to maintain heat. The animals living in these desert habitats have evolved to adapt and thrive in one of the most inhospitable, ever-changing habitats on Earth.
The Dromedary Camel, also known as the Arabian Camel, is a one-humped camelid that resides primarily in Northern Africa, with a small feral population in Australia. The Dromedary Camel has not occurred in the wild for about 2,000 years after being domesticated about 4,000 in Arabian Peninsula. The Dromedary Camel is the tallest of all the camel species with a hump that can store up to 80 pounds of fat that can be converted to water in time of need. Due to its ability to store plenty of water reserves, the Dromedary Camel can cover distances of 100 miles in the desert and go several weeks without access to water.
Uses: Pack animal
Scientific Name: Camelus dromedarius
Dromedary Cameld side elevation (standing), side (person), front, back, walking, lying down
The Bactrian Camel is a two-humped camelid residing in the Central and Eastern Asian Desert and is closely related, but wholly distinct from, the Wild Bactrian Camel, Camelus ferus. With its tolerance for both hot and cold temperatures, adaptation for high altitudes, and endurance for many miles, the Bactrian Camel enabled trade along the Silk Road from 130 B.C. to 1453 A.D. as a versatile pack animal. While mostly domesticated, a small feral population still exists in southwest Kazakhstan and India. Similar to the Dromedary Camel, the Bactrian Camel rarely sweats, can close its nostrils to sand, and has two rows of eyelashes to protect his eyes.
Uses: Pack animal
Scientific Name: Camelus bactrianus
Bactrian Camel side elevation (standing), side (person), front, walking, lying down