At the Detroit Zoo
The habitat across from the Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain is home to five Bactrian camels, including the newest addition, Tula, born in March 2019. Tula, named after a river in Mongolia, is the third camel born to mother, Suren, and father, Rusty. She joins her brother Humphrey, born in 2014, and sister Rusi, born in 2017. Suren, whose name derives from the Mongolian word meaning ‘majestic’, is an experienced and attentive mother.
Bactrian camels are well adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures and climates. They have large feet which allow them to walk without sinking into sand. Two rows of long, thick eyelashes protect their eyes from blowing dust and debris, and slit-like nostrils can be closed during sandstorms. Bactrian camels stand about 7 feet tall at the humps and weigh 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 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.