Domesticated thousands of years ago by perfume traders, the camel went on to become the desert dweller's primary source of transport, shade, milk, meat, wool and hides.
They are still used in many parts of Africa and Asia today to pull ploughs, turn waterwheels, and transport people and goods to market along desert routes unreachable by motor vehicles.
A fully grown camel can weigh over 1,500 pounds and reach a height of six feet.
Camels have the reputation of being ill-tempered, moody creatures that spit and kick. In reality, they tend to be good-tempered, patient and intelligent.
The ears of the camel are lined with fur to keep out dust and desert wind. Their thick eyebrows and long, curly, eyelashes also serve this purpose.
These mammals need little water if their regular diet contains good, moisture-rich pasture. Although camels can withstand severe dehydration, a large animal can drink as much as 21 gallons in 10 minutes, an amount that would kill any other mammal. But the camel's unique metabolism enables the animal to store the water in its bloodstream.
Contrary to popular belief, a camel does not store water in its hump. It is in fact a mound of fatty tissue from which the animal draws energy when food is hard to find. The normal life span of a camel is 40 years, although a working camel retires from active duty at 25.
During this summer season, guests can experience a personal encounter with the Long Island Game Farm’s very own camels, Sandy and Sahara. During this encounter, guests can feed the camels a healthy snack and take photos with them. The Animal Education staff will be there to answer any questions and to share interesting facts about these “ships of the desert.”