Why Do Some Camels Have Two Humps?

Why Do Some Camels Have Two Humps

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Why do some camels have two humps? I’m sure this question comes to your mind too when you see a double-humped camel passing by and now you have started searching because you are not going anywhere until you find out the reason for their unusual appearance. And when you just have to google, type a few words to get the answer then why not?

B-shaped humps capture the attention as they make these camels look not only different but attractive than their cousins. 

The type of camels that have two humps are known as Bactrian camels. Bactrian camels (also known as Mongolian camels) belong to the Camelidae family usually seen living in Central and East Asia’s rocky desert.

Bactrian camels are not only known for their humps but are also lauded for their ability to go without food for several months.

They are said to be the largest living camels as their lifespan is estimated to be around 50 years. 

Now let’s discuss our today’s topic

Why do some camels have two humps?

There are four species of camels and each species has some distinguishing features. Bactrian camels are two-humped camels and the reason is that they belong to a separate species(from the one hump species) and two humps are their distinguishing feature.

Is wild Bactrian double-humped?

Yes, the wild Bactrian, a distinct species, is double-humped as well. Bactrian and wild Bactrian are recognized as two different species and both of them are known for their two humps.

Are two humps just a sign of beauty?

Saying these humps a sign of beauty could not be more true,but besides separating it from other species, humps do have a use. The beauty of camels is defined by their bigger feet, thin long neck, sturdy strong legs, and of course by their outgrown humps. So they truly are a sign of beauty.

What are two humps for?

Humps are an energy-rich fat storage system as the camels have to go a long way without having these two basic facilities. They store fats which are used when food or water is nowhere near to be found.

Two-humped camels can go longer without food

They may need water as much as all camel breeds do but they can go a little longer without food than the Arabian camels. And this is because they have an incredible amount of fats stored in those two B-shaped humps.

Do two-humped camel function differently?

Of course not, they function the same way as the camels with single hump. It’s just that two humps have more space to store food and water than the single hump. So, besides storing extra fats they are no different.

What does it mean to have two humps?

It means that the camel has the legendary capacity to store fats and they can go without food much longer than the one-humped camels.

Do these humps aid in riding?

Yes, they do aid in riding. Riding a two-humped camel is safer than the one-humped camels as the rider enjoys the ride while sitting between these two humps.

Two humped camel makes 6% of total camel population:

94% of the total camel population belongs to the one-humped type; this is the reason why we hardly see two-humped Bactrian camels on our way. They are rare and expensive maybe for this distinct feature.

Camel humps store water. How true is that?

They do not store water in their humps; it’s just a man-made story people started believing in. They need less water because they do not sweat as much as humans do and they are somewhat fulfilling their liquid needs by eating the plants they found on their way. Only fats are stored in humps for rainy days.

What you need to know about humps

You might have noticed camel’s humps leaning over and then back to their original position. Camels can go months without food and at that time they keep using the fat stored in their humps. When the stored fat is nearly finished the hump noticeably drops down. As the fat is restored they begin to hold their position back again.

Facts about camels

  • Camels store water in their humps is a myth.
  • Camel’s hump diminishes when the stored fat is consumed, reappears when they find something to eat.
  • They have a clear invisible eyelid that protects their eyes in sandstorms.
  • They shut their nostrils when sand is blowing.
  • Camels are not picky eaters.
  • They can drink around 113 gallons of water in just 13 minutes.
  • Camels greet by blowing each other in the face.
  • Their blood cells are oval-shaped.
  • Camels spit when they feel threatened.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do camels have two humps?

Yes, camels do have two humps. The breeds that are known for two humps are Bactrian and Wild Bactrian camels.

How long can two-humped camels go without food?

It is difficult to write down how many months a two-humped camel can survive without food. Once they have eaten well they may not need food for months. You can guess that they need food when their humps start losing it’s shape.

How much water camel’s store in their humps?

They do not keep water in their humps instead they store fats in their humps.

What makes camel hump fall down? 

When the camel has fully utilized stored fats their humps begin to fall down but they return to their original shape as soon as they get something to eat.

How to bring the bent down humps back to their original shape?

Humps lose their shape when the stored fat is consumed. But you can bring them to their original shape by making your camel eat until their stomach is full.

One-humped or two-humped? Which breed is better?

Both are fine. Two humped camels are better in the sense that they can go longer without food. One humped camel may need food more frequently but the rest is all same.

Are two-humped camels stronger than the other ones?

Humps have nothing to do with their stamina to do things. A hump is just a container filled with stored fats. So, saying two-humped camels are stronger than the one-humped ones makes no sense.


There is no science behind a camel having two humps. Humps are considered a sign of beauty and have always been successful in capturing the artist’s attention. All species on the planet earth have distinguishing features and “having two humps” is something that makes Bactrian and wild Bactrian camels different from the other breeds.  They just give the Bactrian and wild Bactrian camels an incredible space to store fats. So, in brief, single and double-humped camels are two different species.

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