Zoo Animals



Camelus bactrianus

At the Detroit Zoo
Female Suren and male Rusty (both born in 2008) and their son, Humphrey, born in the spring of 2014, can be seen roaming their habitat across from the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain, along with the Przewalski’s horses and fallow deer. Suren, whose name derives from the Mongolian word meaning “majestic”, arrived at the Detroit Zoo in 2008. She is described as motherly and sweet. Rusty arrived one year later. He is easily excited and prances when happy.

The Bactrian camel stands about seven feet tall at the humps and weighs up to 1,600 pounds at maturity. Contrary to popular belief, camels store fat – not water – in their humps, providing energy when food is limited. Bactrian camels are well-suited for Michigan’s climate and can survive in temperatures ranging from -20 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. On many days, there are more visitors at the Zoo than there are wild Bactrian camels in the world.

The Bactrian camel is well adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures and climates. It has large feet which allow it to walk without sinking into sand. Two rows of long, thick eyelashes protect its eyes from blowing dust and debris, and slit-like nostrils can be closed during sandstorms.

Fun Facts

  • The Bactrian camel has two humps, as opposed to the Dromedary camel which only has one hump.

  • The Bactrian camel is one of the most adaptive species in the world, able to survive in temperatures ranging from minus 20 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.