How do camels store water in their hump? And how long can it survive without water?

Camels storing water in their hump is 100% misplaced belief. But the fact is so amazing that prima facie it appears incredible! There are two species of camel – the two-humped Bactrian of central Asia and the single-humped dromedary of Western Asia. Nature has intended the camel as the animal of desert and arid areas and given it special anatomy and physiology to thrive in such surroundings.

If a human being’s body loses water in excess of 12% of his weight then the blood becomes very thick and the heart is unable to pump it. The person would die as soon as blood circulation stops. But it does not happen so in case of camel. Even after the loss of 30% body water a camel can move about in the oven-like heat of the desert quite easily. When it gets the opportunity to quench the thirst it stocks up a large quantity of water. A full grown camel can drink up to 135 liters water at one go. (The petrol tank of a small car has capacity of about 34 liters). Much of this water is stored in the camel’s blood. As a result each corpuscle of the camel’s blood expands by 240%. If a human being’s blood corpuscles expanded by 130% they would burst killing the person immediately.

Viewed from this perspective each corpuscle of the camel’s blood serves as water tank from which the camel draws some water everyday. With a bellyful of water the camel can live in hot summer without another mouthful for 17 days – and up to 30 days in winter!

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