Common name: Dromedary
HABITAT AND GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION
The dromedary, scientific name Camelus dromedarius of the family Camelidae, is a mammal that lives in the desert regions of Africa, in particular in the Sahara desert and in the south-western regions of Asia, from Afghanistan to western Indian.
Many years ago an attempt was made to introduce the dromedary in different countries but only in Australia has it survived (it is thought that it was introduced between 1840 and 1907) and still survives and is the only place in the world where dromedaries live in the wild while in the rest of the country. world is now a domestic animal.
The dromedary prefers desert habitats characterized by long periods of drought and short periods of rain as they are very sensitive to cold and humidity, unlike camels.
Dromedary males are generally about 10% larger than females.
The first striking feature of a dromedary is the presence of a solagobba on its back about 30 cm high.
It is erroneously thought that the dromedary, like the camel, is able to withstand long periods of drought thanks to the reserves of water stored in the hump; in reality this is false as the hump contains only reserves of fat which are used by the animal to periods of food shortage. In fact, if the dromedary remains a long time without feeding, the hump will appear small and limp. There are other physical and physiological adaptations that allow the dromedary to resist a long time without drinking: it has the ability to vary its body temperature from 37 ° C to 41 ° C. ° C during the day and this allows it to minimize transpiration and therefore water losses; manages to tolerate a loss of 30% of body fluids without harm (for mammals the maximum is normally 15%); has the ability to rehydrate the body very quickly, being able to drink up to 100 liters of water in ten minutes.
The whole structure of the dromedary's body is an adaptation to living in the desert areas: the eyes are protected by a double row of eyelashes to protect them from sand and dust; they can close their nostrils to avoid even in this case the sand can penetrate them.
The legs have feet that are particularly wide and suitable for walking in the sand without sinking but at the same time they are very delicate and not suitable for wet, muddy and pebbly areas. They consist of only two functioning fingers (the third and fourth) and in the lower part they are protected by a stratum corneum.
A peculiarity of the dromedary are the thick and fleshy lips and very mobile which give it an extraordinary facial expression.
It has different calluses from birth at the level of the joints and on the chest that allow it to lean on to rest without getting hurt, protecting it from the heat of the ground.
The dromedary has an "amble" gait, that is to say, it walks carrying forward at the same time the legs of the same side. This makes the animal assume the typical swinging gait.
They are characterized by a beige-colored coat that can vary from lighter shades (almost white) to darker ones (almost black). It has longer hairs in the neck, humps and shoulders.
CHARACTER, BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL LIFE
The dromedary is a social animal and lives in groups formed by a maximum of 20 individuals.The group consists of a male, several females and young people. The male is the dominant member of the group and prevents females from having intercourse with other males.
The dromedaries have the particularity that when they walk they tend to arrange themselves in an Indian row.
It seems that the dromedary takes comfort from scratching its body with its paws and rubbing itself on trees.
The dromedary is a herbivorous ruminant and eats mainly thorny plants and dry grass.
They are animals that need to ingest foods that contain many mineral salts to be able to retain a greater amount of water for this they prefer plant phytes that is plants particularly rich in mineral salts.
He tends to tear off leaves with his lips and then chews about 50 times the food, then swallows it with his mouth open while chewing. Being a ruminant in the following hours it brings the food back to the mouth and completes the chewing.
REPRODUCTION AND GROWTH OF THE SMALL
Generally the reproductive period is winter, although it has been observed that a lot depends on the nutritional status of the dromedary.
Male dromedaries have a soft palate that is inflated to attract females when in heat.
During the mating period the males face each other in an aggressive way, making threatening noises with the mouth, raising and lowering the head, up to the real physical confrontation, trying to knock down the own opponent by biting him on the legs.
The gestation lasts about 15 months at the end of which a baby of about 37 kg is born.
The little ones are able to walk after a few hours from birth.
Breastfeeding lasts from 1 to 2 years.
STATE OF THE POPULATION
The dromedary is not listed on the IUNC Red list as its population now lives domesticated and is no longer present in the wild (with the exception of some populations imported into Australia many years ago and now wild) .The first evidence of the dromedary as a domesticated animal dates back to about 4000 years ago in the Abu Dhabi area.
SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE IN THE ECOSYSTEM
The dromedary is normally used as a pack animal and as a mount and from it it obtains milk, meat, leather and dung used as fuel for heating.
Today the breeding of the dromedary is increasing in particularly arid areas where no other animal would be able to survive.