Camelidae – Camels

Humans and camelids have a 6000-year-old relationship; 4 of 5 species are domesticated

Camelids are notoriously resilient to the harsh and often water-less deserts of Africa and Asia and the high-altitude mountain ranges of South America. Bactrian camels have two humps, and dromedary camels have a single hump. Contrary to popular belief, a camel’s hump stores fat, not water. When food is scarce, the hump shrinks as the camel draws on it for much-needed nutrients.

The South American family members don’t have humps: the llama and alpaca. Another misnomer is that camelids are bad-tempered and spit when angry. Camelids vomit (rather than spit), a defense mechanism used when they feel threatened.