7 Amazing Facts About Camel Lips

Camels are rather fascinating creatures. 

It seems like every organ of theirs is different from other animals, and special in its structure and anatomy. 

This is definitely the case with camel mouths and their lips.

Here are 7 camel lips facts to blow your mind.

camel lips facts

Camel Lips Facts

1. Camels Have Mobile And Prehensile Pair Of Upper And Lower Lips

Their flexible lips allow them to grip and maneuver food and items with their lips. 

A camel’s upper lip is split in half, has fine hairs on it, and the animal uses it to grasp, rotate and manipulate different items.

Having such flexible lips reduces the need for the camel to stick out its tongue and lose moisture.

It is said that camels have such flexible lips that they can untie knots with them.

It seems you have to be very careful how you tether the animal.

2. Camels Have Grooves From Nostrils To Their Lips 

Camels, like humans, have a vertical groove from the base of the nose to the upper lip.

These grooves are called the philtrum, and they are a part of a bigger water-saving system in camels.

A group of scientists noticed that camels can turn the air they breathe into moisture. 

Their split upper lip can absorb moisture from the nostrils via philtrum, which helps camels to conserve water in a period of drought. 

3. Their Strong Lips And Leathery Mouth Allow The Camels To Eat Cactuses 

Anatomical adaptation like the mobile and prehensile split upper lip prevents camels from getting injured from thorny desert plants.

Camel’s strong jaw and browsing pad enable it to grab and tear branches off trees, and with slow lateral movements of the jaw, to chew and swallow their thorns.

A camel will first grasp the plant with their flexible lips; each half of their split upper lips will wiggle independently to get closer to the vegetation. 

After that, they will carefully chew the plant. 

They will grind the food on the tough palate at the top of their mouth, similar to a mortar and pestle.

What allows them not to get hurt from the six-inch needles of the cactus are papillae

These conic-shaped structures cover their tongue and mouth and consist of keratin, the same hard material our nails are made from. 

The camel will chew the plant in a rotating fashion which will distribute the pressure from the thorny plant, and the papillae will orient the needles so that they slide vertically down the throat without hurting the animal. 

4. Adult Camels Have Two Times Longer Lips Than Calves

A study comparing young (1-2 years) camels and older (5+ years) ones, discovered that older ones have significantly longer lips. [1

The upper lip of an adult camel is around 2.5 inches long (6.3 cm) while the upper lip in younger camels is around 1.1 inches (2.8 cm). 

The lower lip of an adult camel is around 1 inch long (2.7 cm) while the lower lip of a young camel is 0.6 inches (1.5 cm).

5. When It Comes To Lip Thickness, It Is The Same In Both Age Groups

The upper lip in both the adult and young camels is around 0.6 inches thick (1.5 cm), while the lower lip is 0.3 inches thick (0.8 cm).

The length of philtrum in adult camels is around 1 inch long (2.5 cm) and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in younger ones.

Camel’s Lips LengthsAdult CamelsYoung Camels
Upper Lip Length2.5 in1.1 in
Lower Lip Length1 in0.6 in
Upper Lip Thickness0.6 in0.6 in
Lower Lip Thickness0.3 in0.3 in
Length Of Philtrum1 in0.6 in
Camel’s upper and lower lip sizes

6. As The Camel Ages, Its Lower Lip Will Sag

That’s just how nature works sometimes; as the camel gets older, its lower lip will become pendulous, slump more and more downwards, until the animal fully transforms into Charles II of Habsburgs. [2

Charles II

Claudio Coello, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Just kidding about the lip, Charles.

7. Camels Get Disqualified From A Beauty Pageant For Botox In Their Lips

The incident happened at the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia.

The beauty pageant of the festival lasts around 40 days, and different types of camels are presented by their owners.

The camels are then judged by the structure of their lips, hump position, and overall musculature and posture. 

It was discovered that Botox was used on 12 such camels to enhance the lips, the nose, and even the jaw in 2018.

With the winner getting a prize of $2.7 million, and with some camels being valued at $50 million dollars, it is no wonder their owners resort to such trickery.

If discovered, however, the owner is forced to pay $26,700 for each enhanced animal.

A study from 2020 discovered that at the 4th King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, out of 11,626 camels, 58 had cosmetic fillers.[3] 

Out of those 58, 45 had their upper lip enhanced, and 13 had both the upper and the lower one.

What gave them away was the drooping and swinging of the injected lips, hardness, and swelling of the edges of the upper and lower lips.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, 7 interesting camel lips facts. 

Camels have flexible prehensile lips that allow them to grasp food properly. The upper lip is slid in half and is covered with fine hair. Adult camels have 2x longer lips than young ones, but the same thickness. As the camel ages, its lower lip will begin to sag. 

We hope you found the article informative and interesting!


References

[1] Qureshi, Anas Sarwar, et al. “Quantitative Evaluation of Age-Related Anatomical Characteristics of Selected Digestive Organs of Dromedary Camel.” Pakistan Veterinary Journal 40.2 (2020).

[2] Adam, Z. A., et al. “Gross anatomy of the narial and labial musculatures of one-humped Camel (Camelus dromedarius) with special reference to their nerve supply.”

[3] Tharwat, Mohamed, and Abdulla Al-Hawas. “Ultrasound detection of cosmic filler injection of lips in camel beauty pageants: first report in veterinary medicine.” Tropical Animal Health and Production 53.1 (2021): 1-11.

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