Q:

How do a camel's hooves help it?

A:

Quick Answer

A camel's feet, which are technically not hooves, help it because they have thick, large footpads that are filled with fat to help the animal walk easily over sand and stony ground. This is true of both the one-humped Arabian camel and the two-humped Bactrian camel. Moreover, the Bactrian camel sometimes travels over the snows found in Siberia and the Himalayas and the physiology of its feet are useful in this terrain as well.

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How do a camel's hooves help it?
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Full Answer

Both types of camels have two toes on each foot. Each toe has a tough nail that makes it resemble a hoof. The toes are joined beneath by webbing, and when the camel walks they flatten out from the animal's weight and keep it from sinking into either sand or snow. Because of the webbing, the split foot behaves as if it is a single foot and distributes the camel's weight more evenly. This is another guard against sinking and the thickness of the pads also keeps the camel from being burned by hot sand.

The softness of the pads makes the camel's walk silent. However, this softness can be problematic if the camel is travelling over land strewn with rocks or sharp debris, and a camel that is walked too far, for too long, can become lame.

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