Above: dromedary or Arabian camel with one hump,
in Middle East, North Africa, and in Australia

Right: Bactrian camel with two humps, in Far East.
This was used on the Silk Road.


by Pam

Alpaca pictures

The Hebrew world for camel means "stoppin", "weaning" and "going without".

The hump is a fatty deposit. See above for one hump or two.

Camelids in South America are llamas and alpacas (which are domesticated), and vicuñas and guanacos (which are wild).

My cousin breeds alpacas in Bedfordshire. They killed a fox once!

I saw llamas while travelling in Chile.

Click here for Rudyard Kipling's story of How the Camel got his Hump.

Camels are proud-looking. They know their own minds!

A proud alpaca!

Alpaca picture

From Camelscan website:

There are approximately 1 to 1.2 camels in Australia, and their numbers are thought to be doubling every 8-9 years. They occupy an area of approximately 3.3 million square kilometres of rangeland that incorporates many different land tenures.....

Feral camels will often congregate around water sources, especially when it is dry or when available water is scarce. Rainfall can the lead to a dispersal of camels across the landscape.

As much of their range is in remote areas, away from populated areas or transport routes, finding camels after rainfall can be very difficult.

The damage caused by feral camels has been estimated at over $19 million each year.

(From Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) The name of Mahomet’s favourite camel was Al Kaswa. The mosque at Koba covers the spot where it knelt when Mahomet fled from Mecca. Mahomet considered the kneeling of the camel as a sign sent by God, and remained at Koba in safety for four days. The swiftest of his camels was Al Adha.

(Also from Brewer) The prophet Mahomet’s camel performed the whole journey from Jerusalem to Mecca in four bounds, for which service he had a place in heaven with Alborak (the prophet’s “horse”), Balaam’s ass, Tobit’s dog, and Ketmir (the dog of the seven sleepers).

(Also from Brewer) "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matt. xix. 24). In the Koran we find a similar expression: "The impious shall find the gates of heaven shut; nor shall he enter till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle." In the Rabbinical writings we have: "Perhaps thou art one of the Pampedith’ians, who can make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle."

Deuteronomy (from King James bible): "Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you."

From "Her Majesty's Servants", a short story in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Commissariat Camels
We haven't a camelty tune of our own
To help us trollop along,
But every neck is a hair-trombone
(Rtt-ta-ta-ta! is a hair-trombone!)
And this is our marching-song:
Can't! Don't! Shan't! Won't!
Pass it along the line!
Somebody's pack has slid from his back,
'Wish it were only mine!
Somebody's load has tipped off in the road--
Cheer for a halt and a row!
Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
Somebody's catching it now!

Flag of Chelyabinsk region

Flag of Chelyabinsk region, in Russia

Camel and kettle drums

A camel, with its rider play kettle drums
in the Mughal Empire

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