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Camel Stats

2001 August 19. Sunday. Mount Isa.

Greg and Margaret, our hosts here in the outskirts of Mount Isa, have a small property which they have kindly allowed us to share with their chickens, dogs, goats, and two dromedaries. If you can stand the smell long enough to get close to them, the dromedaries are intriguing creatures. Here are some of the fascinating statistics I have discovered regarding these animals:


1. A 12% loss of body weight through dehydration is enough to kill a human being. A camel is able to lose 40% of its body weight before suffering dehydration.
2. In the years between 1860 and 1907, an estimated 12 000 camels were imported into Australia.
3. Dromedaries have a slow metabolic rate, due to their sixty-metre long intestine. Men’s intestines are around seven metres long.
4. The body temperature of a camel can fluctuate between 34 and 41 degrees Celsius. In humans, sickness and death result from just two or three degrees of variation in temperature.
5. Gestation lasts between 12½ and 14 months, compared to 9 months for human beings.
6. Camels can calve every two or three years up until the age of twenty, compared to every one or two years for humans until the approximate age of fifty.
7. During the early expeditions, each camel would carry up to 600 kilograms of water and supplies on its back. They would walk with these supplies for an average of 40 kilometres per day.
8. The Australian outback is inhabited by around 100 000 wild camels.
9. A camel can survive without water while working hard in the sun for over a week. A man will suffer terribly after just one full day.

There are many comparisons here between humans and camels. See if you can work out the ratios of the different comparisons. If the average camel weighs two hundred and fifty kilograms, and carries six hundred kilograms on its back, what would be the equivalent of how much you would carry based on your own weight? How far do you think you could walk in a hot dry desert carrying that weight?



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