Difference Between Dromedary and Bactrian Camel

Dromedary vs Bactrian Camel | Dromedary Camel, Arabian camel

Bactrian and Dromedary are the only two species of the camels in the world. Therefore, it is important to discuss their differences and similarities. Both of them are even-toed ungulates belonging in the Order: Ceratodactyla. These two camels are easily distinguishable by their external appearance, but other similar and dissimilar features are important to discuss. They are natives of Asia, and more domesticated than wild currently. The wild populations of the Bactrian camel are believed to be extinct but remain in captivity.

Dromedary Camel

Dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) is a fully domesticated animal with possibly no one surviving in the wild. It is also known as the Arabian camel, and the domestic distribution ranges from North and North-Eastern Africa through the Middle East countries and Pakistan up to Western India. There are feral populations found in central regions of Australia. They are enormous in size with 400 – 600 kilograms in weight, more than two metres tall, and three metres long. Vastly adapted to a desert life with a hump, composed of fatty tissues, on the back; the fat inside the hump is used to produce water through a metabolizing process with Oxygen from breathing. Additionally, the fat in the rest of the body is collected into the hump hence, heat is not trapped inside the body parts. That process keeps the camel without being overheated in the desert, another successful adaptation for desert life. Their eyelashes are thick and the ears are hairy. A Dromedary camel is sexually matured at the age of 3 – 4 years and the gestation period is more than a year. One could usually live up to 40 years of age.

Bactrian Camel

The Bactrian camel is now believed to be extinct in the wild, but the status is not yet confirmed. However, the domestic and wild Bactrian camels are scientifically named with two species names (wild – Camelus ferus; domestic – Camelus bactrianus). The last wild populations were recorded from North-Western China and Southern Mongolian regions. The weight of a Bactrian camel can vary within 400 – 800 kilograms. Height can go more than two metres to make the animal huge in body size. The characteristic feature of a Bactrian camel is the presence of two humps on the back of the body. The function of a one hump doubles in the case of a Bactrian camel having two of them, enabling them to survive in a vast range of temperatures (between ice cold and baking heat). A Bactrian camel can survive without water for more than two months as the fat in humps produce water in demand via fat metabolizing process. In the availability of water, they drink up to 60 litres at a time. The hairs on the body are long and the presence of mane (long hairs around the head and face as in male lions) makes the Bactrian camel more unique. They sexually mature around 4 years of age and the gestation period lasts for about 14 months. The lifespan could go up to 40 years.

Difference Between Bactrian Camel and Dromedary Camel

Being in the same genus, Camelus, both these camels share some interesting adaptations and become unique. Both of them are mostly domestic animals. The two humps in Bactrian and one hump in Dromedary camels differentiate these two. The woolly coat and mane in Bactrian camels make them more unique and the thick eyelashes and hairy ears make the Dromedary camels more unique.

  • Marcus Kildare MD

    Could you elaborate on camel toes?