How Do Camels Live in the Desert?

camels-live-desert Credit: Kyle Simourd/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Camels store fat reserves in their humps that provide them with enough nutrition to survive for months in hot, dry climates. The fatty, watery substance in their humps can fuel their bodies during famines. A camel's metabolism allows it to lose up to 40 percent of its body fluid before dehydration becomes a problem. This energy efficient mammal can drink up to 30 gallons of water in one sitting.

The blood system of a camel is unique. Blood circulates around the brain and other vital organs in a most efficient way to keep them cool in very hot temperatures. The external body of a camel is designed to withstand the harsh desert elements. Camels' hooves are wide and flat, which helps to disperse the scorching heat of the desert sand. During sandstorms, camels repel flying sand and debris by closing their ears and nose.

A camel is a water-storing machine. Food is digested in three stomachs so that there is virtually no water loss in the stool. Sweat stays close to the skin, cooling the animal like an internal air conditioner. Packs of camels hover together and stand in one another's shadows. This keeps the herd cooler during daylight hours.