How do Camels Store Water in their Hump? And How Long Can it Survive Without Water?

Camels are known to be vigorous animals that can endure hot temperatures, most common in the deserts. You can easily describe its appearance because of the distinct humps on its back. There are common myths about camels stating that they use their humps to store water, which enables them to last for days or weeks without drinking.

Different breeds of camels have distinct features, mainly distinguished by the appearance of their humps; some have one while others have two. These fantastic features of camels are interesting because of their various purpose. They could be an essential mode of transportation for people who live close to the desert, while others breed camels for food and many other uses.

In this article, we’re going to explore further about camels. Primarily, we will find out what the use of its humps is. What is the explanation about the misbelief of storing water in their humps? How long do camels survive in the desert without water?

What is the purpose of a camel’s hump?

The purpose of a camel’s hump is not for storing water as other people claim. Instead, they use the humps on their backs to store fatty tissue, which enables them to last for days without eating. Camels can consume the fatty tissues in their humps once they don’t have any access to food in a long time. Once consumed, their humps will be hanging down to one side and will go back to its original position when they consume ample amounts of food.

How long can a camel survive without water?

Now that we already know the importance of the camel’s humps, let’s dig deeper and look into the reason how a camel can survive for days in the extreme temperatures of a desert without drinking water.

While humans can survive for about five days without drinking water, camels can survive for six to seven days during winter. During summer, however, they can only endure for about five days the same as humans, although this is still a remarkable trait since they live in a place where the temperature can rise to more than a hundred degrees during the day.

The reason behind this is because camels can store water, not in the humps, but their blood.  A camel can drink up to 135 liters of water in one go, and much of this water can stay in its blood corpuscles, which can expand up to 240% –  The average petrol tank of a small car has the capacity of 34 liters. Compared to humans, we can’t drink a large amount of water in one go, since it would have adverse effects on our body. Also, our blood corpuscles cannot expand the same way with camels; if it expands only by 130%, it will burst and would immediately kill the person. So, the camel’s blood corpuscles serve as their water tank that could store ample amounts of water that could help them last for days in the desert without drinking.

Other interesting facts about camels

With this said, camels are pretty amazing creatures that have body features much different from other animals. Camels are one of the animals that can live in the harsh environments of the desert. If other places use horses to travel, people in the desert use camels because of these incredible characteristics and could run at 25 mph. Horses may not have the same survival abilities as camels, which made them inefficient in deserts. Another unique trait of camels is its nature to spit on people, and it includes some contents in its stomach, which acts as a defense mechanism when it feels threatened.

As described earlier, some people breed camels for many other purposes. One reason is for food, mainly for its meat and milk. Camels are a delicacy in the middle east, especially its hump, which can be used to make Khli. Other places in the middle east use the camel’s skin and hair for tents, clothing, and accessories. Another use of the camels is for military units back in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly used by the US, British, French, Egyptian, and other armies around the world. Camels play an essential role in the previous wars, like in the first World War, they served as a mode of transportation for supplies to military units.