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A wondering question: “How long can a camel go without water?” makes people think how is it possible that a camel, even with lower body stature than many mammals like elephants, could go so far, without drinking a single drop of water.
It is a known fact that camels can live without drinking water for weeks but the only thing that makes the fact seekers think is how camels fulfill the body’s water needs.
Let’s move to the article without wasting time from the very basic facts of the camel’s feed habit that directly relates to your question.
How Long Can a Camel Go Without Drinking Water?
Camels have the ability to go up to seven months without drinking water. Being a desert animals, they spend most of their time traveling in desert areas and while moving in such harsh conditions, without any intake of food or water, it may cause the loss of their half bodyweight.
But here the only question click in mind is that do their humps get smaller?
Yes, of course, the hump will get smaller or sometimes flattened in fatal conditions and it may cause the death of the animal.
Camel’s Feed Habit Impact the Long Travels
Camel originally originated in the Western Hemisphere and was distributed laterally in southwestern Asia, the Middle East, and northern Africa.
The original family to which camel belongs does also includes Alpacas, Llamas, and vicuñas.
The Camel family has a wide range of species that have many similarities but do have a lot of differences among species by their weight carrying capacity, number of humps, and height.
The most common way of distinguishing the species is by counting the number of humps:
- Dromedary camels
These are the most abundant species having a single hump.
- Bactrian camels
This species has double humps and it is a less abundant species.
The hump is the main energy-storing organ in camels so each camel has a hump, one or two, for storing fat. It is the heavenly part of a camel’s body that weighs more than 36 kilograms (80 pounds), if you slice off a hump from the body of a healthy camel.
All the camels, even if they are hungry or not, have a hump as long as they do not reach the fatal stage due to hunger.
There are generally two concepts regarding the camel’s life without water that actually are circulating among the community:
- Some people believe that the camels have parts in their stomachs and they store water in a part and fill it with just water.
- The other concept relies on the hump filled with water, that is totally wrong to consider it as a water strong organ, which is otherwise a fat storing organ that works as the gasoline in the car trunk.
So, you will often observe the deflation in the camel hump as longer a camel goes without eating.
Why Do Camels Store Fat in these Humps?
Camels being the desert animal have a unique feed habit, and in deserts, the food resources are hard to come by. If the camel gets any food resource it eats to its fill and the extra energy stored in their humps in the form of fats.
But why do they store the fat in their humps rather than storing it around the belly and other parts that could also work as the insulating layer around the body?
Whenever the food and water resources become scarce, the body metabolizes the fat in humps for nutrition and the humps get deflated with time but it recovers when camels get access to food.
Camels store fats just in humps to minimize the insulation of the body in so many temperatures by concentrating the fatty acids on their head backs or in humps.
In this way during nighttime, when the temperature drops, the camel dissipates the heat from the body.
So the camels store the fatty acids only in humps as it is their main part of the energy, not for insulating the whole body with fats.
What happens to a camel’s hump, if it goes without food and water?
Camels actually store the fats in the humps, not water. The concept of storing water by camels for later is not very supportive after the results of this research.
In the food scarcity condition, the metabolizing of fats from humps makes the humps shrink or deflate. The hump will disappear if the hunger prolongs.
Their body is well adapted to dehydration conditions so they consume water efficiently.
The major thing that supports the water holding or water storing capacity of camels is the shape of body cells.
The body cells have elasticity to hold a lot of water, sometimes more than their actual size.
How Much Water Does a Camel Drink When it Drinks Water?
A camel can drink 200 liters of water in just three minutes. It is a much interesting number of any animal as it seems like he is drinking for the last time.
It is generally believed that a typical camel drinks about 100 liters of water at one time. But the misunderstanding arises at this point, where do camels store water, in hump or stomach?
Actually, the water goes to the animal’s digestive and circulatory system and is stored for later consumption.
Where Do Camels Store Water?
Camels have the ability to survive in drought conditions even if the body loses 40% fluids, but in terms of humans that number is just 15% and any more loss of body fluids will lead to the death of humans.
What actually makes the camels survive by dropping so much water level in the body? The adaptations in body structure are the main thing responsible for their survival and explain how camels conserve water.
During the hottest months of summer, the camels protect the brain tissues from heat spikes by cooling these parts while leaving the body exposed to direct temperature effects.
The only thing that makes their body survive through so much temperature exposure is their unique blood cell shape. Unlike humans, they have elliptical-shaped blood cells that have much more elasticity that runs in the bloodstreams with the same flow even intaking a lot of water.
That water stored in the blood cells makes them survive the hottest summer days in deserts.