10 incredible facts about camels and why Somalis love them

The camel forms a key part of Somalis’ rich heritage.

For millennia, camels have been a dependable source of not only transport but also food and milk for Somalis. There is probably no other society on Earth where the camel plays such a pivotal role in the economy and culture as in the Somali society.

The Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN estimates that 65 percent of all camels in the world are found in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

So, here are some interesting and incredible facts about this wonderful animal:

1. Mother camels carry their calves up to 14 months before giving birth.

2. Camels can travel at up to 40 miles per hour.

3. There are two types of camel in the world. The dromedary camel, also called an Arabian camel, can be found in North Africa and the Middle East. The Bactrian camel lives in Central Asia.

4. Camels use their humps as storage containers. When camels use their stored fat, their humps will diminish. When they eat and drink again the hump will refill with fat.

5. The word ‘camel’ comes from an Arabic word, when it’s literally translated; it means beauty (jamaal).

6. In 1855, the US Congress allowed the War Department to purchase camels using a $30,000 budget. They were used for several years, until the soldiers became tired of their bad tempers and smell.

7. Camels have three sets of eyelids and two rows of eyelashes to keep sand out of their eyes.

8. Camels can completely shut their nostrils during sandstorms.

9. Camels are very strong and can carry up to 900 pounds for 25 miles a day.

10. There are over 160 words for camel in Arabic alone.

Sources: Biladd.com, Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA), the Factsite, FAO