Camels-Miracles Of The Desert

Camels, the animals designed specifically to survive in the harshest of environments-the desert.Every single detail of the camel has been carefully designed and constructed to perfection.

It is one of the few animals specifically mentioned in the Quran:

“Have they not looked at the camel – how it was created?” (Surat al-Ghashiyah: 17)

A patient of mine recently gave me some freshly milked camel milk to taste and mentioned all the health benefits that it has.  It was so good that it inspired me to find out a little bit more about this amazing creature!

Camel Anatomy

Numerous anatomical and physical adaptations have allowed the camel to survive the incredibly harsh environment of the desert. Heat storage within the body of the camel, selective brain cooling, fur, concentrated urine from unique kidneys, adaptions in the respiratory system, special physical features, unique blood consistency and hormones all serve as important characteristics for the camel in terms of thermo-regulation.

The camel actually increases its own body temperature during the scorching heat of the day. That way it minimizes water loss from evaporation. In the night it cools its body temperature down 7 degrees Celscius, saving almost 5 liters of water this way.
To protect the brain from overheating, the camel has an ‘air conditioning” system installed.

The extreme survivor
The camel can survive up to eight days in 50-degree temperatures without eating or drinking-circumstances that would kill a human in 36 hours. It usually drinks 4 times in the summer and only one in the winter! Most of the time the camel is in a state of dehydration, but when it gets hydrated its physiological system quickly adapts to the massive change in body volume.

When the camel does find a source of water it stores it up. Camels can drink up to a third of their body weight of water in ten minutes meaning up to 130 litres in one go.

What’s in the hump?
Contrary to common beliefs, the camel doesn’t actually store water in the humps, but they consist of about 40 kg of fat!  Concentrating body fat in their humps minimizes heat evaporation and creates and insulation throughout the rest of their body. When this tissue is metabolized, it acts as a source of energy and yields more than 1 g of water for each 1 g of fat converted through reaction with oxygen from air. This process of fat metabolization generates a net loss of water through respiration for the oxygen required to convert the fat.

camel closeup
Special features
The camel’s red blood cells have an oval shape, unlike those of other mammals which are circular. This is to facilitate their flow in a dehydrated state. These cells are also more stable in order to withstand high osmotic variation without rupturing when drinking large amounts of water. WOW!
The kidneys of the camel of course play an important role in water conservation.They have a special shape being able to produce very concentrated urine and thus increasing water retention. The concentration of the camels urine is higher than seawater, it resembles syrup in consistency. This also enables the camels to drink salty water without problems. Also the levels of hormones responsible for water levels significantly increase in the dehydrated camel.

Most of the food sources in the desert are dry and thorny so the camel’s digestive system has been created according to these harsh conditions. The animal’s teeth and lips are constructed to enable it to eat even sharp thorns with ease. Its stomach, which has a special design of its own, is strong enough to digest almost all plants found in the desert.


How camels survive in sandstorms
The eyelids of the camel protect the animal’s eyes from dust and grains of sand. However, they are also transparent and that enables it to see even with its eyes closed which would come in handy in the midst of a sandstorm. Its long, thick eyelashes are created to prevent dust from getting into the eyes.

There is also a special design in the camel’s nose. When sandstorms blow, it closes its nostrils with special lids. The nostrils are also designed to reduce loss of water through respiration with a unique cooling system and nasal passages that are able to absorb water that passes through them.
camel black white
The camel’s feet are specially created for the desert so that it doesn’t get stuck in the sand even if  its carrying hundreds of kilos loads on its back. The animal’s wide toes stop it from sinking in the sand and function just like snowshoes. Its long legs keep its body away from the burning heat of the desert floor.

Protection and perfection

The camel’s body is covered in thick, hard fur. This protects the animal both from the burning rays of the sun by reflecting the heat and from the desert chill in the night which can go below zero.
Some parts of its body are covered in thick protective layers of skin that comes into contact with the ground when it sits on the scorching sand. This prevents the camel’s skin from burning.
These thick layers of skin are not calluses that develop over time; the camel is born with them. The equivalent to a human baby being born with thickened skin on the soles of its feet! This special design brings out the perfection of creation in the camel.
The thickened skin cannot be explained by the logic of the theory of evolution That and all its other extraordinary features reveal one evident truth: That the camel was specifically created by God to help man survive in the desert.
 camel feet  and toes

 

Camel in arabic actually comes from the word beauty. Arabs have known the curing affects of camel milk and urine (yes URINE) since the times of Prophet Muhammed who advised people to use it to treat certain illnesses like liver diseases and rashes. Recently scientists have proven this to be a fact. Camel milk on the other hand is especially beneficial for type1 diabetics, helps the digestive system, is cholesterol free, rich in vitami C and it even tastes good!

Read more on the health benefits of camel milk and urine here:http://blueabaya.com/2010/06/camels-milk-urine-potential-cure-for.html

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  • NomadseekerJuly 12, 2010 - 9:43 pm

    Mashallah sister very inspiring information. May Allah SWT grant you more knowledge and insight.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 15, 2011 - 4:33 pm

    I heard camel urine is very good for hair. I’m currently undergoing lots of hair loss and hair thinning. I wonder if camel urine will help? And if yes, where is it available in jeddah?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 15, 2011 - 6:18 pm

    hi, i would like to know where i can buy camel urine?ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJune 16, 2011 - 9:42 pm

    In Riyadh the best place to try find camel urine is at the camel souq,you would have to ask around because it’s a certain type of camel that is needed.
    I also heard that the urine is good for hair loss, but I don’t know where to get it from Jeddah sorry!maybe try the outskirts of the city where they keep camels.ReplyCancel

  • JeanJanuary 28, 2012 - 5:35 am

    Great blog overall! Lots for people to read and learn. As a nurse, you offer a unique perspective in dealing with Saudi women patients. ( I assume it is women..?)ReplyCancel

  • The Beautiful Desert! | Blue AbayaJanuary 23, 2014 - 11:05 am

    […] The desert has surprisingly lush vegetation, especially on a rainy year you will find many flowers and green areas. Some places like red Sands actually form lakes in the rainy season. Another favorite activity of mine is horseback riding in the desert. This photo is from Dirab where they have a extensive area you can explore on horseback. They aren’t called the desert ships for no reason! Camels are really the ultimate desert creatures. It’s amazing how their bodies are adjusted to the harsh environment so well. Every single detail; the eyelashes, nostrils and legs and the physiological aspect of how the camels can survive without water. They are experts on conserving water! But that will be another post on its own. You can read more about the miracles of the desert here. […]ReplyCancel

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