The Bactrian Camel: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Bactrian camel facts for kids are full of interesting details about the mammal with two humps.

If your child is inquisitive about the animal world, facts about the Bactrian camel will surely draw their attention towards this striking mammal with two humps. The Bactrian camel, (Camelus bactrianus), also known as the domestic Bactrian camel, is one of the three surviving species of camels; the other two being the dromedary camel (Arabian camel) and the wild Bactrian camel.

Distributed across the rocky deserts and steppes of East and Central Asia, these camels are believed to have originated and evolved in the North American region many million years ago.  The wild Bactrian camels, a close relative of the domestic ones, are a critically endangered species.

Bactrian camels have two humps to store fat for sustenance when energy and water supply are low. They have a thick furry coat, double rows of long eyelashes, bushy eyebrows, and thick, large footpads to survive and navigate in brutal locales.

Want to know more about the domestic and wild Bactrian camels? Then read on!

Bactrian Camel

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Desert vegetation

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

661.3-1521.2 lb (300-690 kg)

How long are they?

7.3-11.3 ft (2.25-3.45 m)

How tall are they?

7 ft (2.13 m)

What do they look like?

Dirty gray or dark brown furry coat with two humps on the back

Skin Type


What are their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them

Deserts or grasslands


Western China and Central Asia





Scientific Name

Camelus bactrianus and Camelus ferus





Bactrian Camel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Bactrian camel?

Bactrian camels are hoofed, ruminating (cud-chewing) mammals.

What class of animal does a Bactrian camel belong to?

The Bactrian camels are large mammals belonging to the family Camelidae.

How many Bactrian camels are there in the world?

The exact population of domesticated Bactrian camels vary but they are abundant in number. The wild Bactrian camels are listed by IUCN as critically endangered with an estimated 1000 surviving members of the species.

Where does a Bactrian camel live?

Bactrian camels live in the grassy steppes or desert regions of Asia. The wild ones are mostly concentrated in remote areas of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China.

What is a Bactrian camel's habitat?

The Bactrian camels inhabit regions of Central Asia, stretching across from Afghanistan to the steppes of Mongolia and the Gobi Desert. They have three distinct habitats in Northwest China: Taklamakan Desert, Lake Lob, and the Altun Shan range. Their habitat varies from arid deserts and rocky mountains to sand dunes and stony plains. The climate of these regions can range from very cold to very hot. The camels usually cluster around sources of water.

Who do Bactrian camels live with?

The Bactrian camels are pack animals and live in groups of 6-20. They have been domesticated for centuries and can carry a weight of 370-550 lb (170-250 kg).

How long does a Bactrian camel live?

The average lifespan of Bactrian camels is 20-40 years.

How do they reproduce?

Bactrian camels usually reach reproductive maturity at three to five years. The males are polygynous (can mate with any female in the herd) and the females are induced ovulators (ovulate upon stimulation by mating). The gestation period ranges from 360-440 days resulting in one, and rarely two offspring.

What is their conservation status?

The wild species of the Bactrian camels is critically endangered. The governments of Mongolia and China have made efforts for the conservation of the species by setting up the Great Gobi Reserve A (Mongolia) and the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve (China). The domesticated Bactrian camel population is quite large.

Bactrian Camel Fun Facts

What do Bactrian camels look like?

Bactrian camels with two humps are adapted to extreme environments.

Bactrian camels have two humps on their backs and a long-haired coat that's typically dirty grey or dark brown in color. The coat is especially thick around the head, neck, forelegs, humps, and tail regions. They have two rows of long eyelashes, a divided upper lip, and even-toed feet with padded, leathery soles.

How cute are they?

The cuteness of Bactrian camels comes from the characteristic cleft of their upper lip, giving them a sort of pouty appearance.

How do they communicate?

Bactrian camels have an exceptional sense of sight and smell. They communicate through pheromones (chemicals affecting animal behavior) and vocal signals such as groans, high-pitched squeaks, and deep moans.

How big is a Bactrian camel?

Bactrian camels are on an average 7 ft (2.13 m) tall and their head and body length range between 7.3-11.3 ft (2.25-3.45 m).

How fast can a Bactrian camel move?

Bactrian camels rarely move fast but speeds of up to 40 mph (65 km/hr) have been documented.

How much does a Bactrian camel weigh?

The body mass of Bactrian camels ranges between 661.3-1521.2 lb (300-690 kg), almost the same as that of a dromedary.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Female camels go by the name of cow and males are called bull.

What would you call a baby Bactrian camel?

A baby Bactrian camel is called a calf.

What do they eat?

Bactrian camels are primarily herbivorous, thriving on desert vegetation comprising of dry, bitter, salty, and thorny plants. Those in the zoo eat a mixture of hay and grain.

Are they dangerous?

Bactrian camels are not known to be dangerous but the dominant males tend to be aggressive towards intruding males during the mating season.

Would they make a good pet?

Camels are not really considered 'pets', although domesticated Bactrian camels are used as beasts of burden.

Did you know...

Malnourished Bactrian camels have sideways leaning and smaller humps. But well-nourished camels have firm and upright humps.

Double rows of eyelashes prevent sand and dust particles from entering the camel's eyes.

These camels have minimum sweat glands, an anatomical adaptation to conserve body fluids.

Wild camels and their relatives are different from other mammals in having oval-shaped red blood cells.

Is The Bactrian Camel Endangered?

Only the wild species of the Bactrian camel is critically endangered due to extensive poaching and their numbers are fast declining.

Variations With Other Camels

In light of Bactrian camel vs dromedary facts, Bactrian camels have two humps to store fat and to store water, unlike their one-humped Arabian relatives. While both can go a long time without water and food, the Bactrian camels are less aggressive than the dromedaries. Contrary to the Bactrian camel habitat, dromedaries are found in the Middle East and Africa.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Bactrian Camel coloring pages.



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