The Ship of The Desert – Camel

Image credit: Flickr User Hisham Binsuwaif, via CC

Have you ever tried walking on the sand? Not easy is it? Your feet sink into the sand, making them feel so heavy when you lift them to take a step forward. Now try walking on the sand when it is extremely hot. It is tough, isn’t it? So how do people move around in hot deserts? They move around sitting on the ship of the desert – Camel. Camel is one creature that can move very easily on the sand.

Why is it easy for camels to walk on the sand?

The natural cushions on his feet enable him to walk in a desert. Each foot has broad flat, leathery pads with two toes. When the camel places its foot on the ground, the pads spread so that the foot does not sink in the sand. Even though, a camel has thin limbs it has strong muscles that enable him to carry as much as of weight. No wonder it is also called a beast of burden. They are also employed in cavalry.

Why is it called the ship of the desert?

When a camel walks, it moves both feet on one side of its body and the other two on the other. It appears as if the camel is swaying like a boat. Hence the name.

How do they battle the sandstorms?

The camel can open and close its nostrils as it pleases. This ability helps him survive the sandstorms. Did you know that the camel has three eyelids, and two layers of long eyelashes to protect its eyes from the sand and the sun? In fact, the third eyelid moves side to side like your windshield wiper and wipes the sand away. Wow!

How do they survive without water and food?

Camel’s body has adapted to its harsh environment. It can walk for miles without any food or water. The hump on camels back stores a lot of fat. Camel’s body burns the fat to get energy.

So nature has blessed the camel with so many features that help him survive in the desert.

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