What Is the Difference Between a Dromedary and a Camel?

The dromedary or Arabian camel is a one-humped camel found throughout the Middle East and southern Africa. It stores large amounts of fat tissue in its hump that it converts into energy and water, making the dromedary capable of traveling long distances without water or food. The rarer Bactrian camel is two-humped and found in central Asia.

Camels possess additional adaptations for desert life. Oval blood cells facilitate blood flow when the animal is dehydrated and make consumption of large amounts of water at one time safer. Camels are capable of drinking 30 gallons of water in minutes. Camels preserve water by reabsorbing water vapor trapped in the nostrils during exhalation, and in milder conditions can absorb enough moisture from green plants to maintain hydration..

Although camels rarely sweat they are able to tolerate up to a 25 percent loss of body weight due to sweating. Their thick hair coat insulates their bodies from the desert heat, and padding over the sternum forms a pedestal that allows cooler air to flow under the body when the animal lays down. Other adaptations to desert life include the ability to close their nostrils to keep out sand, double rows of eyelashes and heavy eyebrows.