How Will You Describe the Term Bactrian?
Bactrian is a term used to describe a particular species of camel. Camel is a large, hoofed mammal that occurs as two species: the Arabian or one – humped camel (dromedary) which is used for riding; and the Asian or two – humped camel (Bactrian). Why is it known as the Bactrian camel? It’s name comes from the ancient historical region of Bactria in Central Asia.
The Arabian camel is now domesticated but the Asian camel still lives wild in the Gobi Desert. Camels are known as ships of desert. Contrary to popular belief they do not store water in their humps, although they can drink enormous amounts when the opportunity arises – 115 L (25 gals) in ten minutes has been known.
Camels can go for many days without drinking, and are experts at conserving the water which is in their bodies. They can also tolerate much greater fluid losses than most other animals.
The Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Central Asia. It has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel. Its population of two million exists mainly in the domesticated form.
Domesticated Bactrian camels have served as pack animals in inner Asia since ancient times. With its tolerance for cold, drought, and high altitudes, it enabled the travel of caravans on the Silk Road. Bactrian camels, whether domesticated or feral, are a separate species from the wild Bactrian camel, which is the only truly wild (as opposed to feral) species of camel in the world.
The Bactrian camel is one of the most adaptable creatures on the planet. They can withstand extreme changes in temperature, ideal for their natural home ranges in Northern Asia. Amazingly, they can cope with temperatures that swing between +40°C in the summer and -30°C in the winter.
Their two humps work in exactly the same way that they do on a single humped, or dromedary camel. The humps are areas for storing fat. They use the fat by turning it into energy so they can go for a long time without food or water. When the humps on a Bactrian camel are full of fat they stand upright. When their fat reserves are low then the humps become droopy.
You may also notice that during the summer Bactrian camels look a little, well, untidy. That’s because that amazing thick fur coat that they have to keep them warm in the winter is of no use in the summer, so they shed it, or take it off! This happens by itself mostly but you may well see them having a good rub up against their house to try and help it along.
Few Fun Facts about the Bactrian Camel
*Bactrian camels have only one natural predator – the grey wolf.
*It is believed that only between six hundred and a thousand remain in the wild.
*They are the only land mammals capable of drinking salt water without any ill effects.
*They can drink up to fifty-seven litres of water in one go.
*It’s a myth that camels store water in their humps.
*They have sealable nostrils, to stop the sand getting up their nose.
*You can tell the difference between Bactrian and Dromedary camels because their humps spell ‘B’ and ‘D’ if you turned the camel upright.