Why do camels have humps?« Back to Questions List

Camels travel through desert for days with little food and no water. There is a common belief that a camel stores water in its hump. But this is not true. Unlike most other mammals, a camel does not have a layer of fat under its skin. Instead, the fat is accumulated in the hump. This proves to be an advantage by minimizing heat trapping ability if stored in the rest of the body otherwise.




When food and water are scarce, the camel utilizes this reserve for energy and as a water source. When the fat breaks down, hydrogen is released and combines with oxygen to form water. The animal also uses water from other body tissues in a similar way.


camel 2                                                                                                                             camel 3


Camels can withstand body temperatures ranging from 34 to 40 degree centigrade. They can go for several days without water. As its tissues dehydrate, the creature can lose as much as 25% of its weight without suffering. But when it does find water, a thirsty camel may drink up to 30 gallons in 15 minutes. The water passes rapidly into its body tissues and revives its energy.



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